Posts Tagged ‘encountering divinity’

Daniel 9:1-12Ultimate Fulfillment

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Written on January 9 and posted today as a favorite . . .

Tilda Swinton as Gabriel in “Constantine”

What we see today is Daniel’s interaction with God’s messenger Gabriel who is mentioned here for the first time in scripture.  We know that scripture is not history – it is not an accurate telling of events in a sequential manner in order to set facts in place; rather, it is an inspired record of our interactions with God over thousands of years.  This is the gift of the Torah, prophets, and wisdom literature.  It is the gift of the accounts of Jesus, the Apostles and the Holy Spirit as a manifestation of God among us.

In today’s Noontime, footnotes tell us that the Darius the Mede whom we see in this prophecy is “unknown in profane history.  The Median kingdom had already been conquered by Cyrus the Persian, and it was Cyrus who captured Babylon.  Evidently the author of Daniel has deliberately adopted an apocalyptic view of history, derived from prophecy . . . according to which the Medes form the second of four world kingdoms preceding the messianic times . . . The character of Darius the Mede has probably been modeled on that of the Persian King Darius the Great (522-486 B.C.), the second successor of Cyrus”.   (Senior 1096)

Further commentary tells us that “the prophet Jeremiah (25,11; 29,10) prophesied a Babylonian captivity of seventy years, a round number signifying the complete passing away of the existing generation, Jeremiah’s prophesy was fulfilled in the capture of Babylon by Cyrus and the subsequent return of the Jews to Palestine.  However, the author of Daniel, living during the persecution of Antiochus, sees the conditions of the exile still existing; therefore in his mediation he extends Jeremiah’s number to seventy weeks of years (v 24), i.e., seven times seventy years, to characterize the Jewish victory over the Seleucids as the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy”.  (Senior 1100-1101)

What we see today is not a story about people or places we know in history.  Nor is it a story about a particular time in our human record that has little to do with us in 2011.  What we have before us is the story of how we – like Daniel – might interact with God’s messenger and with God himself.  It is the story about the ultimate fulfillment of prophecy.  It is the story of how God visits us constantly, how God interacts with us, and how God always keeps his promises.

When we flag or lose faith, when we are exhausted from the effort of our journey, when we are at the point of feeling that our exile will never end, we might – like Daniel – turn to God, acknowledge our humanity, and enter into a dialog with the divine.  For it is through our trials, when we drop our defenses against God’s presence in our lives, that we are most intimate with God.  And it is through our anguish and suffering that we encounter our divinity within.  This is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises to us – to live freely and wholly in the Spirit.

A re-post from August 9, 2011.

Image from: http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2005/02/06/arts/06devr_CA0ready.html 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1096,1100-1101. Print.   

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bible and glassesPsalm 119

A Prayer to Hear God’s Message, Promise and Call

The arrogant have dug pits for me; defying your teaching . . . They have almost ended my life on earth, but I do not forsake your precepts.

Others speak of hearing God’s voice and we too, have a strong sense of this guiding Spirit within.

Others speak of hearing God’s voice and we realize that we have never felt this strong, protective companion.

Others speak of hearing God’s voice and remembering the time in our lives when we too, felt accompanied by this loving presence, we wait for this comforting experience to return.

No matter our circumstance, no matter the moment in our life’s journey, Christ is present to and in each of us, even when we may not feel his presence. The psalmist tells us that when we do not experience a sense of God in our lives we are always welcome to ask God to touch us in a tangible way; and when we do feel God’s presence, we must turn to help those who do not.  And we must celebrate.

Good and far-seeing God, you have given each of us the power to actualize our own potential.  Help us to see you in our lives and to bring you to others who need to see your hand in their own lives.

Good and loving God, you encourage us to read your word, to practice your law and to aspire to the potential for divinity we each possess.  Help us to find you in scripture and to open scripture for others so that they also find you in your Law of Love.

Good and insightful God, you are a fountain of wisdom.  Nourish us with your truth and bring us your understanding, counsel and guidance.  Remind us of your promise to always be present to and in us.

Good and saving God, you come to us as a child, as a light in the overpowering night.  Help us to act as the Messiah does, reading your word, growing in wisdom, listening for your voice, and sacrificing self to bring light to the unforgiving darkness.

Good and eternal God, you are beginning and end, Alpha and Omega, source and summit for all.  Speak to each of us in such a way that we might clearly hear your message, that we might eagerly believe in your promise, and that we might joyfully reply to your call.

We ask this in Jesus’ name, in unity with your sacred Spirit. Amen.

For information about beginning a Bible reading plan, click on the image above or go to: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/12/27/a-bible-reading-plan-for-readers/

If you are looking for an open and easy way to begin a daily dedication to scripture, choose any psalm and read it in segments prayerfully, pausing for reflection.  Or turn to The Acts of the Apostles and begin to read the story of the Spirit among us.

Tomorrow, Ayin.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

images[1]Luke 1:39-56

The Visitation

Once again we have a familiar story which we might take time to read quite slowly, verse by verse.  It is the encounter between two waiting mothers, Mary and Elizabeth.  Both are astonished at the presence of the child growing within.  Mary because she has yet to sleep with a man and all she has to believe is the word of an angel who appeared to her suddenly.  Elizabeth because of her advanced years and the words of her husband Zechariah who became mute after an encounter in the Temple.  Both women have been irrevocably changed forever and they recognize something new in the other.  Both women are open to receive the significance and the full impact of their great encounter.  We wonder . . . do they know that for millennia so many of us will read the day of their encounter?

God says: You are constantly meeting important people and yet you do not see that this is so.  You are too often expecting to see someone who is famous or wise in the eyes of the world and so you miss the encounters with those who are famous to me.  The lonely co-worker who eats lunch alone, the quiet relative who never makes “interesting” conversation, the endless string of people who wait on you in this holiday season.  Once you allow your eyes to rest on them, once you smile and pause in the rush of your day . . . perhaps you will see why these people are so special to me.  Perhaps you will experience an encounter that will change your life forever.

If we move through our days in happy anonymity, content to let others speak rather than extend and share our own good ideas, we might consider the importance of the encounter we read about today.   What salvific news might we be missing when we become part of the background?  Do we not carry with us the presence of God? Are we not as important as others?  Take time today to consider the power of speaking up and stepping out.

If we take all the space and the air in any room we enter, happy to take over, take charge and take control, we might consider the importance of pausing in our extroverted rush to be known.  What salvific news might we be missing when we brush people aside?  Do we think that our words speak more loudly than our gestures and actions?  Are not the other people in the room as important as or even more important than we?  Take some time today to consider the power of listening and observing.

For another Noontime reflection on Luke 1, read The Encounter post on this blog at:https://thenoontimes.com/2013/07/27/the-encounter/

The Feast of the Visitation is celebrated in the U.S.A. on Memorial Day, May 31, of each year.  Click on the image above for a Morning Prayer as we reflect on this special occasion that has so much to say to us, or go to: http://dailyoffice.org/2010/05/31/morning-prayer-5-31-10-visitation-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary-usa-memorial-day/

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