November 20 Devotional (2021)


November 20 Commemoration: St. Edmund of East Anglia, King and Martyr

O God of ineffable mercy, who didst give grace and fortitude to Blessed Edmund the king to triumph over the enemy of his poeple by nobly dying for thy Name: Bestow on us thy servants, we beseech thee, the shield of faith, wherewith we may withstand the assaults of our ancient enemy; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


November 20, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: 

  • Daniel 7:1-8, Daniel’s Vision of the Four Beasts
  • Daniel 7:9-14, The Ancient of Days Reigns
  • John 3:31-36, The one who comes from above

Invitatory

The Lord, the King of Confessors, * O come, let us worship.

Opening Prayer

May our Lord Jesus Christ

be near you to defend you,

within you to refresh you,

around you to preserve you,

before you to guide you,

behind you to justify you,

above you to bless you;

who lives and reigns

with the Father and the Holy

Spirit,

one God, now and forever.

Amen.

  • 10th Century manuscript, thought to be Celtic from its similarity to Patrick’s Breastplate [1]

Intercession 

For those who suffer for the sake of Conscience

O God our Father, whose Son forgave his enemies while he was suffering shame and death: Strengthen those who suffer for the sake of conscience; when they are accused, save them from speaking in hate; when they are rejected, save them from bitterness; when they are imprisoned, save them from despair; and to us your servants, give grace to respect their witness and to discern the truth, that our society may be cleansed and strengthened. This we ask for the sake of Jesus Christ, our merciful and righteous Judge. Amen. [2]

Hymn

“Near to the Heart of God” by Cleland McAfee
Lyrics: 

There is a place of quiet rest, 

Near to the heart of God; 

A place where sin cannot molest, 

Near to the heart of God. 

O Jesus, blest Redeemer, 

Sent from the heart of God, 

Hold us who wait before you 

Near to the heart of God. 

There is a place of comfort sweet, 

Near to the heart of God; 

A place where we and the Savior meet, 

Near to the heart of God. 

O Jesus, blest Redeemer, 

Sent from the heart of God, 

Hold us who wait before you 

Near to the heart of God. 

There is a place of full release, 

Near to the heart of God; 

A place where all is joy and peace, 

Near to the heart of God. 

O Jesus, blest Redeemer, 

Sent from the heart of God, 

Hold us who wait before you 

Near to the heart of God. [3]


Morning Suffrages

Show us your mercy, O Lord; 

      And grant us your salvation. 

Clothe your ministers with righteousness; 

      Let your people sing with joy. 

Give peace, O Lord, in all the world; 

      For only in you can we live in safety. 

Lord, keep this nation under your care; 

      And guide us in the way of justice and truth. 

Let your way be known upon earth; 

      Your saving health among all nations. 

Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten; 

      Nor the hope of the poor be taken away. 

Create in us clean hearts, O God; 

      And sustain us with your Holy Spirit. 

Amen. [4]

Short Verse

O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord,

Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. 

Psalm 95:1
Daniel’s Vision of the Four Beasts
Engraving by Matthäus Merian (1593–1650)

Morning Reading

Daniel 7:1-8, Daniel’s Vision of the Four Beasts

1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. 2 Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. 4 The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. 5 And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ 6 After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

Morning Lesson

Christ will deliver the Church
Daniel 7:1-8:

St. Aphrahat comments that the great sea (the Mediterranean Sea) is symbolic of the world, and “these four great beasts (v. 3) are the four kingdoms signified above” (see text and notes at 2:25-49). The lioness with eagle’s wings (v. 4) is the Babylonian Empire; the bear rose up on one side (v. 5) because when the kingdom of Media and Persia arose, it arose in the east. Hippolytus sees the three ribs as being the Medes, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians. They are also often identified with Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt, all of which were conquered and reduced to a single realm by the Persians under Cyrus and his son, Cambyses. The [Church] Fathers agree the leopard is Alexander the Great, and the four wings and four heads (v. 6) are his four generals (see 8:5-14 and note). The fourth beast (v. 7) is seen to be the Roman Empire, which subdued the world with its strength. Note that the four heavenly beasts of St. John’s vision far surpass these temporary, earthly beasts (see Rev 4:6, 7 and note; see also Ezk 1:5, 21). Some of the Fathers say that the ten horns prophesy nations that will rise up in the last days.

[5]
Daniel 7:1, first year

Exact date uncertain but ca. 552 B.C. This is approximately when Belshazzar became deputy regent of Babylon in his father’s absence.

[6]
Daniel 7:2-8: 

Daniel’s dream, which features four beasts from the sea, parallels Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, which surveys the four metals of a statue (2:31-35). Both represent a succession of Near Eastern empires that gives way to the messianic kingdom of God. Jewish and Christian tradition typically identify (1) the winged lion as Neo-Babylonia, often depicted as a sphinx in Mesopotamian art; (2) the bear as Medo-Persia, the three ribs in its teeth being its three major conquests of Lydia (547 B.C.), Babylon (539 B.C.), and Egypt (525 B.C.); (3) the leopard as Greece, which enlarged its dominion with incredible speed, having four wings and heads representing the four generals of Alexander the Great who inherited his vast empire; and (4) the indescribable beast as Rome, whose horns are its emperors and whose territory and military might surpassed all predecessors. Alternatively, many modern scholars identify the four kingdoms as Neo- Babylonia, Media, Persia, and Greece. From a Jewish perspective, the zoological images are those of unclean animals (Lev 11:13, 27).

[7]
Daniel 7:2, the great sea

The Mediterranean Sea (Num 34:6; Ezek 47:10). Jewish readers would thus envision the beasts making landfall on the western coast of Israel. 

[8]
Daniel 7:4, the mind of a man

An allusion to Nebuchadnezzar’s recovery from madness (4:34) after a time of living like a beast (4:33). 

[9]
Daniel 7:5, raised up on one side:

Probably symbolizes Persia’s dominance in the Medo-Persian empire. The same point is made in Daniel’s next vision, where Medo-Persia appears as a ram with one horn “higher than the other” (8:3).

[10]
Daniel 7:7, iron teeth

Recalls the iron legs and feet of the statue seen by Nebuchadnezzar (2:33).

[11]
Daniel 7:8, a little one:

A king who speaks boastful words (7:11) and wages war against the saints of God (7:21). Supposing the fourth beast represents Rome, the best candidate is Caesar Nero (A.D. 54 to 68), the first Roman emperor to instigate a savage persecution of the Church (Tacitus, Annals 15, 44). The Book of Revelation depicts Nero, whose name has the numerical value 666, as the beast that rises from the sea (Rev 13:1) and utters “haughty and blasphemous words” against the Lord (Rev 13:5). Those who identify the fourth beast with Greece relate the little horn to Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175 to 164 B.C.), who appears under this image in a later vision (8:9) and who too speaks “astonishing things” against God (11:36). 

[12]
Daniel 7:8:

The little horn is seen to be the antichrist, an eleventh king who shall appear suddenly in the midst of the ten horns, seizing power through magic and sorcery. He will exalt himself as God and make war on the Church (v. 11). But Christ will deliver the Church and establish God’s everlasting kingdom. The [o]rthodox response to the prophetic teaching of the Scriptures is not to fear, or to try to second-guess God’s timetable, but rather to practice repentance and watchfulness against sin and to engage in spreading the gospel.

[13]

Midday Prayer

For Participation In The Peace Of God

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is error, truth; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may seek not so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

  • St. Francis of Assisi [14]

Short Verse

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

Isaiah 52:7
The four beasts and the Ancient of Days, depicted in the Silos Apocalypse

Midday Reading

Daniel 7:9-14, The Ancient of Days Reigns

9 “As I looked,

thrones were placed,

and the Ancient of Days took his seat;

his clothing was white as snow,

and the hair of his head like pure wool;

his throne was fiery flames;

its wheels were burning fire.

10 A stream of fire issued

and came out from before him;

a thousand thousands served him,

and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;

the court sat in judgment,

and the books were opened.

11 “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

The Son of Man Is Given Dominion

13 “I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven

there came one like a son of man,

and he came to the Ancient of Days

and was presented before him.

14 And to him was given dominion

and glory and a kingdom,

that all peoples, nations, and languages

should serve him;

his dominion is an everlasting dominion,

which shall not pass away,

and his kingdom one

that shall not be destroyed.

Midday Lesson

The Second Coming

“Daniel’s vision of the Ancient of Days is that of the Second Coming of Christ, the Son of Man, in glory.” [15]

Daniel 7:9-10, the courtroom of heaven:

The presiding Judge is the Ancient of Days (Yahweh); his attendants are the thousand thousands (host of angels); and the books opened for examination are volumes that record the deeds of men (Ps 56:8; Mal 3:16; Rev 20:12).

[16]
Daniel 7:9, throne… its wheels:

The Lord is seated on a chariot throne (Ezek 1:15-28), which was represented in Israel’s Temple by the Ark of the Covenant (1 Chron 28:18). 

[17]
Daniel 7:11, burned with fire:

Flames of judgment stream from the divine throne (7:10; Ps 97:3). · In the Book of Revelation, the beast from the sea (Rome) is eventually hurled into a lake of fire (Rev 19:20; cf. 4 Ezra 12, 3). 

[18]
Daniel 7:9-12:

Daniel’s vision is similar to several aspects of St. John’s Revelation, including the thrones [see Rev 4:2-6], the multitude of worshipping angels and other creatures [see Rev 5:11], and the books [v. 10; see also Rev 20:12].

[19]
Daniel 7:13, clouds of heaven

Often associated with divinity in the biblical world. God manifests his glory in the form of a dense cloud (Ex 16:10; 24:15-18; 40:34; 1 Kings 8:10-11; Is 4:5) and is sometimes pictured riding the clouds as his war chariot (Ps 68:4; 104:3; Is 19:1). The latter image recalls a popular motif in Canaanite mythology, where the storm god Baal bore the title “Rider of the Clouds”.

[20]
Daniel 7:13, son of man

Normally this expression refers to a mortal human being (8:17; Ps 8:4; 146:3). Here the term is part of a simile: the figure is like a man in appearance, yet his identity is not reducible to a mere mortal. He is an exalted figure who comes on the clouds of heavenly glory to receive an everlasting kingship. Some identify the Danielic “son of man” as an angel (e.g., Michael) or as a symbol of the People of God (the faithful of Israel). More likely, he is a messianic figure and mediator who comes before God as a representative of the saints on earth, with whom he shares his dominion (7:18, 22, 27). Ancient Jewish tradition identified the “son of man” in Daniel’s vision with a heavenly Messiah and Son of God (1 Enoch 46, 1-3; 48, 2-10; 52, 10; 4 Ezra 13, 1-32; Numbers Rabbah 7, 13; Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 96b-97a).

In the Gospels, Jesus adopts a messianic interpretation when he identifies himself as the “Son of man” whose enthronement in heaven coincides with a time of judgment on earth (Mk 14:61-62; cf. Mt 16:27-28; 24:30-31; Acts 7:55-56; Rev 14:14). Jesus likewise reenacts the scenario in Daniel when he entrusts his kingdom to his apostles and disciples, i.e., to the saints of the New Covenant (Lk 12:32; 22:28-30)… The words “like a son of man” show that Christ would become man and appear in this way, yet he would not be born of human seed. Daniel pronounced the same truth in a figurative way when he called him “a stone cut by no human hand” (St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 76). The one described in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as a rock hewn without hands is now presented as the son of man, foreshadowing the Son of God, who takes to himself human flesh (St. Jerome, Commentary on Daniel 7, 13-14). 

[21]
Daniel 7:14, shall not be destroyed:

A similar statement appears in 2:44, indicating that the kingdom of God foreseen by Nebuchadnezzar is none other than the kingdom of the “son of man” (7:13). 

[22]

Eventide Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,

     hallowed be thy Name,

     thy kingdom come,

     thy will be done,

         on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

     as we forgive those

         who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

     but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

     and the power, and the glory,

     for ever and ever. Amen.

Short Verse

That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Philippians 2:15

Eventide Reading

John 3:31-36, The one who comes from above

31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Eventide Lesson

Christ’s divinity

“This passage emphasizes Christ’s divinity and the necessity of believing his Word to attain salvation and eternal life… From his very conception, Christ possessed not just a portion of the Holy Spirit but the fullness of the Holy Spirit from which he dispenses grace. Every act of Christ derives from the indwelling Spirit.” [23]

Compline Prayer

Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. (Psalm 119:165) O Lord, heavenly King, let your peace always remain in our hearts, that we need not fear the terror of the night; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. [24]


Citations:

[1] Stratman, P. (2001). Blessings. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 86). Crossway.

[2] Episcopal Church. (1979). Prayers and Thanksgivings. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 823). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[3] Tickle, P. (2000). November. In The divine hours: Prayers for Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 240). New York, NY: Image Books.

[4] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 97-98). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[5] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Daniel. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1293). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Hahn, S., Mitch, C., & Walters, D. (2013). Commentary. In Daniel (Sec Catholic ed., p. 2098). San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press.

[7] Ibid. 6, P. 2102-2105

[8] Ibid. 6, P. 2110

[9] Ibid. 6, P. 2110

[10] Ibid. 6, P. 2110

[11] Ibid. 6, P. 2110

[12] Ibid. 6, P. 2119

[13] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Daniel. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1293). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[14] Occasional Prayers. (2019). In The Book of Common Prayer (PDF). Anglican Church in North America. Retrieved at: http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/56-Occasional-Prayers.docx

[15] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Daniel. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1293). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[16] Hahn, S., Mitch, C., & Walters, D. (2013). Commentary. In Daniel (Sec Catholic ed., p. 2125). San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press.

[17] Ibid. 16

[18] Ibid. 16, P. 2129

[19] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Daniel. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1293). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[20] Hahn, S., Mitch, C., & Walters, D. (2013). Commentary. In Daniel (Sec Catholic ed., p. 2135). San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press.

[21] Ibid. 20, P. 2135-2146

[22] Ibid. 20, P. 2147

[23] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). John. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3216). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum, Ignatius Press.

[24] Stratman, P. (2001). Evening Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 20). Crossway.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: