even if…

Good morning…I pray that you are all doing well and staying safe during this pandemic. For the next week, I’m going to share with you my daily Lectio Divina (Divine Reading) thoughts and ask you. If you do not already use Lectio, I encourage you to try it along with me. I’ll either use the first reading or the Gospel from Mass and will list the scripture, along with the steps below. I find it is helpful to read the scripture aloud, slowly.

Thank you and I look forward to your insights and comments.

The prayer I use before I begin is:

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Today I chose the first reading which comes from Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95.

Step 1: Lectio or reading. We become familiar with the scene, the culture, the people and the action or movement of the message.

King Nebuchadnezzar addressed them, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have set up? When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, zither, harp, bagpipe and every other kind of instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you will be thrown forthwith into the burning fiery furnace; then which of the gods could save you from my power?’
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your question needs no answer from us: if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, Your Majesty, he will save us; and even if he does not, then you must know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have set up.’ This infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was changed now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.
King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They answered the king, ‘Certainly, Your Majesty’.  ‘But’, he went on, ‘I can see four men walking free in the heart of the fire and quite unharmed! And the fourth looks like a child of the gods!’
‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego: he has sent his angel to rescue his servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their God.

 

Step 2: Meditatio or meditation. Read the passage a second time and identify a word or phrase that speaks to you.

King Nebuchadnezzar addressed them, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have set up? When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, zither, harp, bagpipe and every other kind of instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you will be thrown forthwith into the burning fiery furnace; then which of the gods could save you from my power?’
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your question needs no answer from us: if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, Your Majesty, he will save us; and even if he does not, then you must know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have set up.’ This infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was changed now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.
King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They answered the king, ‘Certainly, Your Majesty’.  ‘But’, he went on, ‘I can see four men walking free in the heart of the fire and quite unharmed! And the fourth looks like a child of the gods!’
‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego: he has sent his angel to rescue his servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their God.

 

The phrase that stuck out to me is even if.

Step 3: Oratio or prayer. Read the passage a third time and pray and listen for God speaking to you through the word or phrase.

King Nebuchadnezzar addressed them, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have set up? When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, zither, harp, bagpipe and every other kind of instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you will be thrown forthwith into the burning fiery furnace; then which of the gods could save you from my power?’
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your question needs no answer from us: if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, Your Majesty, he will save us; and even if he does not, then you must know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have set up.’ This infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was changed now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.
King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They answered the king, ‘Certainly, Your Majesty’.  ‘But’, he went on, ‘I can see four men walking free in the heart of the fire and quite unharmed! And the fourth looks like a child of the gods!’
‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego: he has sent his angel to rescue his servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their God.

It struck me how the three men, so confident in their God, did not need to answer the king or plead for their lives. They could have gone free; and yet, their freedom was not the King’s to give. Only God could give them the freedom of spirit, even if all their physical freedoms were removed. And, even if, God chose not to do so , they would not worship false gods.

The fourth step is Contemplatio or contemplation. Read the scripture for the final time and just rest with God and be with him and his word.

King Nebuchadnezzar addressed them, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have set up? When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, zither, harp, bagpipe and every other kind of instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you will be thrown forthwith into the burning fiery furnace; then which of the gods could save you from my power?’
Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your question needs no answer from us: if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, Your Majesty, he will save us; and even if he does not, then you must know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have set up.’ This infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was changed now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.
King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They answered the king, ‘Certainly, Your Majesty’.  ‘But’, he went on, ‘I can see four men walking free in the heart of the fire and quite unharmed! And the fourth looks like a child of the gods!’
‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego: he has sent his angel to rescue his servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their God.

**There are several times in the Bible where people receive new names from God; Saul, after his conversion, is known as Paul. Simon became Peter, Abram and Sari became Abraham and Sarah. These changes all came from God. But in the case of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, these changes came from Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.

Daniel 1:3-6 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility; young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.  Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.

Daniel’s parents chose a Hebrew name for their son meaning “God is my judge,” testifying of their faith in the one, true God. The young men had been named by their parents Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (their names meaning “Jehovah is Gracious,” “Who Belongs to God,” and “Jehovah Helps”).

The four Babylonian names described by Daniel seem to refer to the false gods worshipped by the Babylonians, but there appear to be a few extra letters or slight misspellings. Some people theorize that young men were actually given the names “Belshazzar,” “Shaduku,” “Meshaku” and “Abednebo” to honor Babylonian pagan deities Bel, Marduk, Aku, and Nebo—but that Daniel changed the spelling slightly to remove direct references to the Babylonian gods.

Heavenly Father, we know that you call us each by name; a name that only you have for us. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.: There is not a hair of our head or a grain of sand, that you do not know. During this time of unknown, of being displaced in our own homes, help us turn to the one who calls us by our true name, “beloved child”. Grant us the wisdom and the courage to listen to your voice and follow your will…even if. Amen

Categories Family

1 thought on “even if…

  1. Love the Holy Spirit prayer at the beginning. It brings back fond memories of Walk to Emmaus weekends. I will always be grateful for the community. I gained you as my closest friend (and little sister. I met some very special and learned a lot about myself as well. Thanks for everything you share.

    Like

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