June 15, 2022 Devotional

Image: The Visitation in the Book of Hours of the Duc de Berry; the Magnificat in Latin

June 15, 2022

Invitatory

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God: Come let us adore him.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.  —Revelation 4:8

Hymn

“Nearer My God to Thee”


Morning Prayers

Lord, in your mercy 

      hear my prayer. 

Lord, hear me. 

      Lord, graciously hear me.

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.

Having risen from sleep, I thank You, O Holy Trinity, because through Your great goodness and longsuffering You have not been angry with me, an idler and a sinner, nor have You destroyed me in my iniquities. But rather You have shown me Your customary love for mankind and roused me, as I lay in despair, to rise in the morning and to glorify Your might. And now, enlighten the eyes of my mind and open my mouth to meditate on Your words, to understand Your commandments, and to do Your will, to sing to You with confession of heart, and to praise Your all-holy name, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. AMEN. [1]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

Short Verse

You are God: I praise you;* you are the Lord: I acclaim you; You are the eternal Father:* all creation worships you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:* Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son,* worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit,* advocate and guide. As these have been from the beginning,* so they are now and evermore shall be. Alleluia. 

  • based on the Te Deum and Gloria [2]

Morning Reading

Daniel 1:1-21, Daniel’s wisdom

1 In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 The Lord gave King Jehoiakim of Judah into his power, as well as some of the vessels of the house of God. These he brought to the land of Shinar,[a] and he placed the vessels in the treasury of his gods.

3 Then the king commanded his palace master Ashpenaz to bring some of the Israelites of the royal family and of the nobility: 4 young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight, and competent to serve in the king’s palace; they were to be taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans. 5 The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations of food and wine. They were to be educated for three years, so that at the end of that time they could be stationed in the king’s court. 6 Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, from the tribe of Judah. 7 The palace master gave them other names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.

8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine, so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself. 9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion from the palace master. 10 The palace master said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king; he has appointed your food and your drink. If he should see you in poorer condition than the other young men of your age, you would endanger my head with the king.” 11 Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 12 “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations and deal with your servants according to what you observe.” 14 So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. 16 So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables. 17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams.

18 At the end of the time that the king had set for them to be brought in, the palace master brought them into the presence of Nebuchadnezzar, 19 and the king spoke with them. Among them all, no one was found to compare with Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they were stationed in the king’s court. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. 21 And Daniel continued there until the first year of King Cyrus.

Morning Lesson

Daniel’s faithfulness in Babylon

The setting of the book of Daniel is the Babylonian Exile. “Daniel was among the first captives from Judah deported to Babylon in 605 B.C., and he remained in the East until at least 537 B.C., the third year after Cyrus II of Persia conquered Babylon (10:1).” [3]

The third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah (v. 1) is 605 or 606 B.C. Interestingly, this year is “designated Jehoiakim’s ‘fourth year’ in Jer 46:2. Some regard this discrepancy of one year as problematic, along with the fact that historical sources do not otherwise attest to a Babylonian siege of Jerusalem at this time. Nevertheless, a plausible resolution may be reached on the basis of two considerations. (1) Two different systems of counting a king’s reign were used in the Near East, one that included and one that excluded the accession year in the total years of his rule. This would account for the disparity of one year in dating the reign of Jehoiakim relative to the military exploits of Nebuchadnezzar. (2) Babylonian evidence indicates that Nebuchadnezzar, following his triumph over Egypt at the battle of Carchemish in the summer of 605, proceeded to march victoriously through Syria-Palestine. No explicit mention is made of an assault on Jerusalem, but it stands to reason that such a campaign would include a show of force in the Jewish capital, since the king of Judah was a political vassal of Egypt appointed by Pharaoh Neco (2 Kings 23:34).” [4]

Jehoiakim was the king of Judah from 609 until 598 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar reigned from 605 until 562 B.C. “as the mightiest king of the Neo-Babylonian empire. He deported thousands of Judeans as exiles to Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-17; 25:11) and eventually destroyed the Jerusalem Temple (2 Kings 25:8-10).” [5] Verse 1 notes that Jerusalem was besieged. “Following this event in 605 B.C., the Bible knows of three subsequent incursions into Judea by Nebuchadnezzar: one in 601 (2 Kings 24:1-2), one in 597 (2 Kings 24:10-17), and one in 586 (2 Kings 25:8-12).” [6]

Verse 2 tells us that the Lord gave Jehoiakim over into Nebuchadnezzar’s hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. The vessels refer to Nebuchadnezzar’s plundering of the Jerusalem Temple. He carried off vessels that were used for divine worship. “During this first raid, the king confiscate[d] only ‘some’ of the vessels; years later he will seize ‘all’ the furnishings of the Temple (2 Chron 36:18).” [7]

After plundering the temple, Nebuchadnezzar took the vessels to the land of Shinar. This refers to “Babylonia on the lower Mesopotamian plain (Gen 10:10; 11:2).” [8] The house of his god in the land of Shinar was “the temple of Marduk, also called Bel, the high god of the Neo-Babylonian pantheon (14:3). The transfer of sacred vessels from one temple to another introduces a theme of divine contest that develops throughout the book [of Daniel]. At first, it appears the God of Israel has been conquered and despoiled by the chief deity of Babylon. But the very moment these vessels are defiled in honor of false gods, the kingdom of Babylon is overthrown (5:1-4). Time and again the book shows that Yahweh is the ‘Most High God’ (4:2), the Sovereign Lord of creation and history (2:20-23, 47; 3:28-29; 4:34-37, etc.).” [9]

The person referred to in verse 3 as Ashpenaz was the “headmaster at the government academy that trained future statesmen and civil servants.” [10] Ashpenaz was ordered to give some of the Israelites instruction/training. “The Gentiles in Daniel’s time taught the Jews their Babylonian language and literature that they might serve Nebuchadnezzar.” [11] “Courtiers in Semitic kingdoms were educated to serve the king as scribes, lawyers, diplomats, archivists, translators, etc. language of the Chaldeans: Aramaic, the language of international affairs spoken and written throughout the Near East at this time.” [12]

The Jewish exiles in Babylon were then given new names. “Daniel and his friends [had] names that incorporate the name of God (the Hebrew element is either ‘el, meaning ‘God’, or yah, which is short for ‘Yah-weh’). Their new names, which mark[ed] them as servants of Nebuchadnezzar, [made] reference to the names of Babylonian deities (‘Bel’, ‘Aku’, and ‘Nabu / Nego’).” [13]

Verse 8 tells us that Daniel took “steps to avoid dietary defilement, the nature of which is unclear since the Torah does not regard ‘meat’ or ‘wine’ as generally unfit for Jewish consumption (10:3). Possible factors behind Daniel’s decision include the following: (1) A few types of meat are declared unclean by the Law, e.g., the flesh of swine, horses, and various birds (Lev 11:1-47). (2) No meat is deemed suitable for eating unless it is carefully drained of blood (Lev 17:10-14). (3) Persons who professed a Nazarite vow refrained from wine (Num 6:1-4). (4) Gentiles of the ancient world often consecrated their foods to idols (1 Cor 8:7), with the result that abstinence from pagan foods became a hallmark of Jewish fidelity in biblical times (Tob 1:10-12; Jud 10:5; 12:1-2; 1 Mac 1:62-63; Rom 14:2, 21). Whatever issue(s) prompted his actions, it is clear that Daniel refus[ed] to compromise his religious commitment to Yahweh at [mealtime].” [14]

Daniel’s dietary prohibitions, however, caused the chief of the eunuchs to worry. He said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” Daniel replied, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” Ten days was “a time of testing (Rev 2:10). Faithfulness to the Lord throughout this trial period makes Daniel and his friends ‘ten times’ as wise as the sages of Babylon (1:20).” [15] This was thanks to God’s grace. “Compared to the youths who ate the king’s diet, the Judeans appeared healthier. A sound diet maintains the body’s hydration and muscle tone. However, the noticeable difference between the Judeans and the other youths in such a short amount of time should be attributed to God’s intervention.” [16]

Today’s reading ends noting that Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus. This would have been 539 B.C., “the year Cyrus II of Persia conquered Babylon and seized control of its empire. His reign as king of Persia began two decades earlier in 559 B.C. Daniel must have been at least 70 years old when he entered the service of Cyrus II.” [17]

Midday Prayers

Lord, in your mercy 

      hear my prayer. 

Lord, hear me. 

      Lord, graciously hear me.

Renew in my heart, O God, the gift of your Holy Spirit, so that I may love you fully in all that I do and love all others as Christ loves me. May all that I do proclaim the good news that you are God with us. Amen.† [18]

In hope and trust, we beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. That we may love thee with all our heart, and all our soul, and all our strength, deliver us, Holy Trinity. That for thy sake we may love our neighbor as our self, deliver us, Holy Trinity. That we may love thee in all things and above all things, deliver us, Holy Trinity. That we may faithfully keep all thy commandments, deliver us, Holy Trinity. That we may go from grace to grace and virtue to virtue, deliver us, Holy Trinity. That we may finally enjoy the blessed sight of thee in heaven, deliver us, Holy Trinity. Amen. [19]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

Short Verse

Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;* sing praises to his Name, for it is lovely. 

Psalm 135:3

The Visitation in the Book of Hours of the Duc de Berry; the Magnificat in Latin

Midday Reading

Luke 1:46b-55, Mary sings of God

Mary’s Song of Praise

46 And Mary[a] said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,

47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48 for he has looked with favor on the lowly state of his servant.

    Surely from now on all generations will call me blessed,

49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,

    and holy is his name;

50 indeed, his mercy is for those who fear him

    from generation to generation.

51 He has shown strength with his arm;

    he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones

    and lifted up the lowly;

53 he has filled the hungry with good things

    and sent the rich away empty.

54 He has come to the aid of his child Israel,

    in remembrance of his mercy,

55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,

    to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Midday Lesson

“All generations will call me blessed”

“This passage, called the ‘Magnificat’ from the first word of the song in Latin, comes from the heart of Mary, inspired by the song of Hannah (1Kg 2:1-10)… From this inspired hymn, we are taught: (1) Christian believers for all time will honor… the Virgin Mary, for she prophesied that all generations will call me blessed (v. 48); (2) it is impossible to believe in the inspiration of Scripture and not bless the Mother of God; (3) Mary ascribes the miracle of the Incarnation to God, and not to herself, showing both deep humility and the knowledge that God is the source of all grace (v. 49); (4) through the Incarnation, God reigns over all (vv. 50-55).” [20]

Eventide Prayers

Lord, in your mercy 

      hear my prayer. 

Lord, hear me. 

      Lord, graciously hear me.

O holy God, as evening falls remain with us, remember our good deeds and forgive our failings. Help us to reflect upon and live according to your covenant of love. Be with our lonely and elderly sisters and brothers in the evening of their lives. May all who long to see you face to face know the comfort of your presence. This we ask in union with Simeon and Anna and all who have gone before us blessing and proclaiming you by the fidelity of their lives. Amen. 

  • The New Companion To The Breviary [21] 

My God, my God, Lord, I entreat you, protect me so that I may love you. Instruct me, O Jesus, great Lamb of God. You endeavored to save me. True God, have mercy, help, and preserve me. King of saints and angels, protect me. Love me. I believe in you, true God, the same now as before, without end, holy Trinity, one God, yet not alone. A threefold unity. I appeal to your merit, do not charge us for our sins, but overlook them, erase them. Avert all threats from us, so that the flaming arrows of the devil may be extinguished, so that I may be sound now and in the future. Amen. 

  • Book of Cerne, 9th Century, p. 124 Translated for Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church [22]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

Short Verse

For your Name’s sake, O LORD,* forgive my sin, for it is great. 

  • Psalm 25:10

Eventide Reading

What is Wisdom?

“We often think of wisdom as intelligence, but we would be mistaken to bring that definition to this literature. When we look at the vast number of topics covered under the heading of “wisdom,” it is easy to despair of finding common ground, for the heading covers artisan skills, scientific knowledge, etiquette, philosophy, psychology, politics, sociology and jurisprudence, just to name a few. Furthermore, the text insists on more than one occasion that the “fear of the LORD” is the beginning or foundation of wisdom (Pr 1:7; 9:10; 15:33). Does this suggest that none of those disciplines could be successfully engaged without fear of the Lord?” [23]

“As we consider the way that people thought in the ancient world, perhaps we can best capture the Biblical way of understanding all of this by thinking in terms of worldview integration. In the ancient world, including Israel, order was an important value. Creation brought order to the cosmos; law brought order to society; etiquette brought order to human relationships; politics brought order to governance and authority. Ancient wisdom can then be understood as the pursuit of understanding and preserving order in the world. Wisdom is present when order is perceived, pursued and preserved. The people of the day wanted their worldview to fit together like a puzzle—fully integrated, with each piece placed in proper relation to the others. They saw the fear of the Lord as the keystone to this integration process. To “fear the LORD” means to take his person and role seriously. Order in the cosmos could only be understood through acknowledgment of the One who brought order. Order could only be preserved in society and in life by understanding God’s requirements and expectations. In this way, wisdom can be seen to transcend the basic knowledge or skill related to particular disciplines.” [24]

“A fool (or any of the other synonyms used to describe such a person) was one who brought disorder into any of the pertinent realms by their behavior or thinking. Furthermore, a fool would be one who did not fear the Lord and therefore tried to find coherence in something or someone else—usually themselves.” [25]

Concluding Prayer of the Church

Now the light has gone away, 

     Savior, listen while I pray.

Asking Thee to watch and keep 

     and to send me quiet sleep.

Jesus, Savior, wash away 

     all that has been wrong today.

Help me every day to be 

     good and gentle, more like Thee.

Let my near and dear ones be 

     always near and dear to Thee.

Oh bring me and all I love 

     to Thy happy home above.

Amen.


Citations:

[1] Papavassiliou, V. (2014). Prayer of Thanksgiving. In The ancient faith prayer book (Kindle ed., p. 4). Chesterton, IN: Ancient Faith Publishing.

[2] Tickle, P. (2000). June. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 5). New York, NY: Image Books.

[3] Hahn, S., Mitch, C., & Walters, D. (2013). Commentary. In Daniel (Sec Catholic ed., p. 1702). San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press.

[4] Ibid. 3, P. 1714

[5] Ibid. 3, P. 1714

[6] Ibid. 3, P. 1714

[7] Ibid. 3, P. 1721

[8] Ibid. 3, P. 1721

[9] Ibid. 3, P. 1721

[10] Ibid. 3, P. 1723

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

[12] Hahn, S., Mitch, C., & Walters, D. (2013). Commentary. In Daniel (Sec Catholic ed., p. 1725). San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press.

[13] Ibid. 12, P. 1728

[14] Ibid. 12, P. 1736

[15] Ibid. 12, P. 1736

[16] House, C. P. (2009). Daniel. In HOLY BIBLE: The lutheran study bible (p. 1397-1398). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing HSE.

[17] Hahn, S., Mitch, C., & Walters, D. (2013). Commentary. In Daniel (Sec Catholic ed., p. 1742). San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press.

[18] Tickle, P. (2000). June. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 56). New York, NY: Image Books.

[19] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Topical Devotions. In Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 267). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[20] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Luke. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1391). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[21] Tickle, P. (2000). June. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 92). New York, NY: Image Books.

[22] Stratman, P. (2001). For Protection. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 48). Crossway.

[23] Keener, C. S., Walton, J. H., & Matthews, V. A. (2016). What is Wisdom [Article] In NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Kindle, pp. 5444-5445). essay, Zondervan.

[24] Ibid. 23, P. 5445-5446

[25] Ibid. 23, P 5446

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