Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

分享


Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Daniel 3,14-20.46-50.91-92

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. All this time, the king's servants, who had thrown them into the furnace, had been stoking it with crude oil, pitch, tow and brushwood until the flames rose forty-nine cubits above the furnace and, leaping out, burnt those Chaldaeans to death who were standing round it. But the angel of the Lord came down into the furnace beside Azariah and his companions; he drove the flames of the fire outwards from the furnace and, in the heart of the furnace, wafted a coolness to them as of the breeze and dew, so that the fire did not touch them at all and caused them no pain or distress. 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!'

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The third chapter of the book of Daniel recounts the story of the gold statue which king Nebuchadnezzar had constructed to be adored by all the subjects in the kingdom. But some Jews- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego-who had come from Judea after the destruction of Jerusalem, had refused to pay worship to the statue. They considered it an idol. So they are thrown into a burning furnace. Before a world which seems to destine so many men and women to the pit of abyss, without any freedom and under the dominion of violence, we turn our prayer to the Lord knowing that he listens to his children and comes to our aid. In every difficult situation we can turn to the Lord, we can praise the wonders he has done, and we can already taste freedom and salvation. "Bless," the hymn repeats at the beginning of every verse. Above all, prayer is blessing and it makes us part of divine life. It saves us from damnation and a life that is far from the Lord. "Bless": It is the invitation to put ourselves on the horizon of the world starting from God. The prayer of praise to God frees us from the small world of our own particular tasks and puts us in communion with all living beings. And so, in prayer, we find again the creative work of God, so that with all creatures we can sing of his mercy. Indeed, his "grace" lasts forever. This is the discovery of the person who prays, and that, even in the abyss and in front of incoming evil, does not stop singing the praises of God and is freed from death.