Wake Up!

November 22, 2021
Memorial of St. Cecilia

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with a passage from Daniel for our Responsorial Psalm:

Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our forebearers,
    praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
    praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages

Daniel 3:52

This week we continue with a series of readings from the Book of Daniel. It is the only time throughout the Liturgical Year that we get a good dose of Daniel. And it is well placed, coming in this final week before Advent.

The Prophet Daniel by Michelangelo (Sistine Chapel)

Daniel is apocalyptic literature, a genre which conveys the author’s perception of the end times through dreams, visions and prophecies. Like many of our readings of the past weeks, Daniel focuses us on God’s Final Coming into time by interpreting current circumstances in a spiritual light.


Today’s Gospel does the same thing, but in a little different way. 

Jesus tells the story of the poor widow who gave everything she had for the sake of the poor. This widow, in a sense, already lives in the “end times”, a time when our only “possessions” will be the good we have done in our lives.

Both these readings set us up to reflect on our lives and times as we approach Advent. This sacred season is the annual reenactment of Christ’s First Coming in order to prepare us for:

  • Christ’s daily revelation in our lives
  • Christ’s Final Coming at the end of time

All of Daniel’s complex visions and prophecies can feel a little confusing, but we can focus on this:

  • God is continually revealing Godself in the ordinary circumstances of time.
  • We can open ourselves to this revelation by our humble prayer and good works.
  • Staying awake like this in our hearts and souls will allow us to pass seamlessly into God’s Presence when the end times come.

Poetry: Awake! awake O sleeper of the land of shadows (from Jerusalem) – William Blake

Awake! awake O sleeper of the land of shadows, wake! expand!
I am in you and you in me, mutual in love divine:
Fibres of love from man to man thro Albions pleasant land.
In all the dark Atlantic vale down from the hills of Surrey
A black water accumulates, return Albion! return!
Thy brethren call thee, and thy fathers, and thy sons,
Thy nurses and thy mothers, thy sisters and thy daughters
Weep at thy souls disease, and the Divine Vision is darkend:
Thy Emanation that was wont to play before thy face,
Beaming forth with her daughters into the Divine bosom
Where hast thou hidden thy Emanation lovely Jerusalem
From the vision and fruition of the Holy-one?
I am not a God afar off, I am a brother and friend;
Within your bosoms I reside, and you reside in me:
Lo! we are One; forgiving all Evil; Not seeking recompense!
Ye are my members O ye sleepers of Beulah, land of shades!

Music: Sleepers Awake from the beautiful album by Chris Wyton, “Music for Deep Meditation “

Our Psalm: If…

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

March 23, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with the Book of Daniel both for our Responsorial Psalm and for our first reading. 


As I read through today’s scripture passages, I immediately thought of my wonderful college Logic professor, Florence Fay. She was free-spirited, colorful, brilliant and clear. I loved her classes. It was Dr. Fay who implanted a love for syllogisms (if-then statements) in my young mind.

Today, multiple syllogisms popped out to me from our first reading and Gospel.

from Daniel:

If our God, whom we serve,
can save us from the white-hot furnace
and from your hands, O king, then may he save us!


from John:

But even if he will not, (then) know, O king,
that we will not serve your god
or worship the golden statue that you set up.

If you remain in my word, then you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

If you were Abraham’s children,
(then) you would be doing the works of Abraham. 
If God were your Father, (then) you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me.


I’ve prayed some pretty frantic “if-then” prayers at desperate times in my life. They sound like this:
“Dear God, if You just get me out of this mess I made, then I promise to turn into a Saint!”

But, obviously, with such prayers, I didn’t get the sacred “logic” right.
I think a lot of people don’t get it right, sometimes disastrously, as in:
“If God had answered my prayer, then I would still go to church. But he didn’t, so I don’t.”


Daniel’s “Psalm” serves as a perfect instruction for how we must respond to God, no matter the outcome of our “if-then” moments. If we close ourselves to God’s presence even in our disappointments, we will never grow into God’s ever-new imagination for our lives.

Glory and praise for ever!
Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
    praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
    praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.


Poetry: If— by Rudyard Kipling 1865-1936

If you can keep your head when all about you
   Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
   But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
   Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
   And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
   If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
   And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
   And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
   To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
   Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
   Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
   If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
   Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


Music: Even If – MercyMe

Daniel 3: Bless the Lord

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

June 7, 2020

Click here for readings

Daniel3_Benedicite

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity.

For the Responsorial Psalm we have, not really a psalm, but an exultant canticle from the Book of Daniel – The Benedicite (Bless!)

Today’s segment of this extended and glorious canticle addresses God directly. The ensuing lines, not in today’s liturgy, invite all the elements of Creation to bless and glorify God.


3 men
The prayers are those said by the three young men, rescued by an angel, and delivered from Nebuchadnezzer’s furnace.

As we pray for our country, and the world, to be delivered from the furnace of hate, racism, violence, militarism, and disease, let us call on all Creation to bless and beseech God – Creator, Redeemer, and Holy Spirit.

 



In God’s magnificent handiwork,
we see the perfection of peace,
the elegance of simplicity,
and the power of obedience to God’s design.

globe

Focus on whatever in nature speaks most to you today. Enter the depth of that part of Creation. Let it speak healing and wholeness to you and to our aching world. Praise the Adorable Trinity who gave us the gift of life with all Creation.

Music: Benedictus es Domine – this Latin chant is today’s Responsorial Psalm.


For our poetry today, we have the remaining verses of Daniel’s Canticle with a musical rendition at the end.

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, you angels of the Lord,
bless the Lord, you heavens.
Bless the Lord, all you waters above the heaven,
bless the Lord, all powers.
Bless the Lord, sun and moon,
bless the Lord, stars of heaven.
Bless the Lord, all rain and dew,
bless the Lord, all winds.
Bless the Lord, fire and heat,
bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat.
Bless the Lord, dews and snows,
bless the Lord, ice and cold.
Bless the Lord, frosts and snows,
bless the Lord, nights and days.
Bless the Lord, light and darkness,
bless the Lord, lightnings and clouds.
Let the earth bless the Lord;
let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, mountains and hills,
bless the Lord, all that grows on the earth.
Bless the Lord, you springs,
bless the Lord, seas and rivers.
Bless the Lord, you whales and all that swim in the waters,
bless the Lord, all birds of the air.
Bless the Lord, all beasts and cattle,
Bless the Lord, you sons of men.
Bless the Lord, O Israel;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.
Bless the Lord, you priests of the Lord,
bless the Lord, you servants of the Lord.
Bless the Lord, spirits and souls of the righteous,
Bless the Lord, you who are holy and humble in heart.
Bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit;
sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever.

Music:  Benedicite Omnia Opera Domini Domino – sung by Lionheart/Tydings True

BENEDICITE, omnia opera Domini, Domino;
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.
BENEDICITE, caeli, Domino,
benedicite, angeli Domini, Domino.
BENEDICITE, aquae omnes, quae super caelos sunt, Domino,
benedicat omnis virtutis Domino.
BENEDICITE, sol et luna, Domino,
benedicite, stellae caeli, Domino.
BENEDICITE, omnis imber et ros, Domino,
benedicite, omnes venti, Domino.
BENEDICITE, ignis et aestus, Domino,
benedicite, frigus et aestus, Domino.
BENEDICITE, rores et pruina, Domino,
benedicite, gelu et frigus, Domino.
BENEDICITE, glacies et nives, Domino,
benedicite, noctes et dies, Domino.
BENEDICITE, lux et tenebrae, Domino,
benedicite, fulgura et nubes, Domino.
BENEDICAT terra Dominum:
laudet et superexaltet eum in saecula.
BENEDICITE, montes et colles, Domino,
benedicite, universa germinantia in terra, Domino.
BENEDICITE, maria et flumina, Domino,
benedicite, fontes, Domino.
BENEDICITE, cete, et omnia, quae moventur in aquis, Domino,
benedicite, omnes volucres caeli, Domino.
BENEDICITE, omnes bestiae et pecora, Domino,
benedicite, filii hominum, Domino.
BENEDICITE, Israel, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.
BENEDICITE, sacerdotes Domini, Domino,
benedicite, servi Domini, Domino.
BENEDICITE, spiritus et animae iustorum, Domino,
benedicite, sancti et humiles corde, Domino.
BENEDICITE, Anania, Azaria, Misael, Domino,
laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.
BENEDICAMUS Patrem et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu;
laudemus et superexaltemus eum in saecula.
BENEDICTUS es in firmamento caeli
et laudabilis et gloriosus in saecula.

Amen.

A Plea for Mercy

Monday of the Second Week in Lent

March 9, 2020

Click here for readings

bruggemann

Today, in Mercy, our reading from Daniel gives us one of the Great Prayers of the Old Testament (according to Walter Brueggemann’s like-named book.)

The Book of Daniel and chapter nine in particular, have been the subjects of extensive biblical exegesis. Chapter nine in considered one of the Messianic Prophecies, Old Testament markers pointing to Christ. So there is much we could study about today’s first reading.

 


But how might we pray with it?

Naming the sins of all the People, Daniel’s great prayer is a plea for mercy:

Lord, great and awesome God,
you who keep your merciful covenant
toward those who love you
and observe your commandments! …
… yours, O Lord, our God,
are compassion and forgiveness!

Three themes, so strikingly germane to Lent, arise from Daniel’s prayer:

Repentance
Forgiveness
Transformation


Our Responsorial Psalm picks up this plea to Mercy for Mercy:

Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R.    Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Help us, O God our savior,

because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.


The questions for each of us as we pray today —

Is there someplace in my life
longing for such mercy and healing?

Where can my spirit grow
from repentance, forgiveness, and transformation?

be Mercy

In our Gospel Jesus tells us how to open our hearts to this merciful healing.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”

There it is in black and white. Whether or not the advice changes my heart is up to me!

Music: Kyrie Eleison (Lord, have mercy) Beethoven- Missa Solemnis

Don’t Sleepwalk Your Life!

Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

November 25, 2019

Click here for readings

Today, in Mercy, we begin a series of readings from the Book of Daniel. It is the only time throughout the Liturgical Year that we get a good dose of Daniel. And it is well placed, coming in this final week before Advent.

Daniel is apocalyptic literature, a genre which conveys the author’s perception of the end times through dreams, visions and prophecies. Like many of our readings of the past weeks, Daniel focuses us on God’s Final Coming into time by interpreting current circumstances in a spiritual light.

Today’s Gospel does the same thing, but in a little different way. 

Jesus tells the story of the poor widow who gave everything she had for the sake of the poor. This widow, in a sense, already lives in the “end times”, a time when our only “possessions” will be the good we have done in our lives.

Both these readings set us up to reflect on our lives and times as we approach Advent. This sacred season is the annual reenactment of Christ’s First Coming in order to prepare us for:

  • Christ’s daily revelation in our lives
  • Christ’s Final Coming at the end of time

Mt24_awake

All of Daniel’s complex visions and prophecies can feel a little confusing, but we can focus on this:

  • God is continually revealing Godself in the ordinary circumstances of time.
  • We can open ourselves to this revelation by our humble prayer and good works.
  • Staying awake like this in our hearts and souls will allow us to pass seamlessly into God’s Presence when the end times come.

Music: Be Thou My Vision

To See As God Sees

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Click here for readings

Today, in Mercy, our readings describe God’s lavish mercy and the expectation for our reciprocity.

love one another

The passage from the Book of Daniel, written in lilting prose, quotes the prayer of Azariah. It gives us several phrases to savor in our own prayer, depending on the particular disposition of our heart on any given day:

To whom you promised …. like the stars of heaven, or the sand on the shore of the sea.
What has God promised you to give you hope in your life? Can you call on those promises today in your prayer?

For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation…
Are you feeling sad, disconnected, humiliated or depressed? Can you give these feelings to God and open your heart to healing?

We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.
Do you ever feel abandoned by the institutions we all once depended on, whether Church, government, law etc.? Can we pray for the courage to depend only on God in all things?

Now we follow you with our whole heart…
Have our life circumstances brought us to the point of placing ourselves totally in God’s care? Can we pray with that peaceful and holy abandonment?

Deliver us by your wonders, and bring glory to your name, O Lord.Can our prayer be one of giving glory to God for all the blessings in our lives?

God has been so good to us! Our Gospel enjoins us to be reciprocally good to others.

Music: Give Me Your Eyes – An interesting song by rock singer Brian Heath. As his plane is landing one night, he receives a grace to pray for new eyes — eyes that see and love  all humanity as God does.