Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Discernment

Daily Readings
Psalm 119:57-80 + I Kings 3 + I Chronicles 21:1-22:1 + Jeremiah 16

Quote of the Day
“Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?” I Kings 3:9—Solomon

Daily Text: I Kings 3

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Discernment
Gibeon is again the primary site of our passage. Home of the Amorites it was given to Aaron’s Levites in Joshua 21:17 and then by ‘our time’ made the principle high place in Israel. It is conceivable that this was done by Saul, perhaps at the time he broke the covenant signed by Joshua (Cf. II Samuel 21). While in Gibeon Solomon has a visitation from the LORD in a dream. In the dream there is much give and take, the LORD offering to give Solomon whatever he asks. As it turns out he asks for discernment to rule justly and is given the gift along with a promise of long life if he lives in the ways of the LORD.

Note YHWH’s sensitivity in this visitation. He doesn’t declare what Solomon’s gift will be, but asks for his heart’s desire. Solomon responds in such a way that will allow the LORD to augment his already plentiful gifts in this area of wisdom. This is the way he gifts us—according to our natural inclinations. “All things come of thee, Oh LORD, and of thine own have we given thee.” This is not true alone of the bread and the wine we employ in the sacrament, but true also of our lives as sacrament.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

The Vision of Solomon
William Whitehead
1715-1785

‘Twas night, and sleep with gentle-waving wand
Sat softly brooding o’er that monarch’s brow,
Whose waking nod could Judah’s realms command,
Or deal destruction to the frighted foe,
Great David’s son—but at this tranquil hour
No dreams of state disturbed his peaceful bed;
To nobler heights his thoughts unfetter’d soar,
And brighter visions hover round his head:
Let meaner kings by mortals guard their state,
Around his sacred couch aerial legates wait.
“Hail, best belov’d! superior to the rest.”
One bending angel cried with heavenly voice,
“Earth, seas, and air, stand to thy view confess’d,
And God’s own mandate ratifies thy choice.
Choose then from these—say, shall thy pow’r extend
Where suns scarce warm this earth’s remotest shore,
Shall India’s lords beneath thy sceptre bend,
Whilst their black troops stand silent and adore?
To thee, sole lord, shall earth her stores unfold,
Pour all her gems to thee, and mines that flame with gold?

Shall ocean’s waves, obedient to thy call,
As erst to Moses, rang’d in order stand;
Whilst crowds once more admire the floating wall,
And treasures open on the glittering sand?
Or shall Fame’s breath inspire each softer air,
Thee just and good, to distant worlds resound,
Whilst Peace, fair goddess, leads the smiling year,
Swells the glad grain, and spreads the harvest round,
Bids Jordan’s stream extend its azure pride,
Pleas’d with reflected fruits that tremble in the tide?”

The cherub spoke when Power majestic rose;
A Tyrian-tinctur’d robe she drag’d behind,
Whose artful folds at every turn disclose
Sceptres and crowns that flutter’d in the wind.
Gigantic phantom! in her face appear’d
Terrific charms, too fierce for mortal eyes.
Aw’d and amaz’d her very smiles we fear’d.
As though storms lurk’d beneath the smooth disguise;
But when she frowns, tremendous thunders roar,
Stern desolation reigns, and kingdoms float in gore.

Her, Wealth succeeds, and scarce his tottering head
Sustains the glittering ore’s incumbent weight;
O’er his old limbs were tatter’d garments spread;
A well-fix’d staff directs his feeble feet.
Thus mean himself appear’d; but all around
What crowds unnumber’d hail the passing seer!
Power, as he came, bow’d lowly to the ground,
And own’d with reverence a superior there.
“Rise, David’s son, thy utmost wish extend,
See to thy sceptre Wealth, the world’s great monarch, bend.”

Fame next approach’d, whose clarion’s martial sound
Bids conqu’ring laurels flourish ever green;
And gentle Peace, with olive chaptlets crown’d,
And Plenty, goddess of the sylvan scene.
These Pleasure join’d; loose flow’d her radiant hair;
Her flying fingers touch’d the trembling lyre.
“Come, Mirth,” she sung, “your blooming wreaths prepare;
Come, gay Delight, and ever young Desire:
Let days, let years in downy circles move,
Sacred to sprightly Joy, and all-subduing Love.”

The mingled train advanc’d; to close the rear,
As lost in thought, appear’d a pensive maid;
Bright was her aspect, lovely, yet severe,
In virgin white her decent limbs array’d:
She moved in sober state; on either side
A beauteous handmaid friendly aid bestow’d:
Fair Virtue here, her view from earth to guide,
There Contemplation rais’d her golden rod.
Hail, Wisdom, hail! I see and bless the sight,
First-born of Heav’n, pure source of intellectual light.

On her the monarch fix’d his eager eyes,
On her alone, regardless of the crowd:
“Let vulgar souls,” he cried, “yon trifles prize,
Mortals that dare of misery to be proud,
Hence, then: I burn for more ingenuous charms;
Nature’s true beauties with more lustre shine.
Then, take me, Wisdom, take me to thy arms;
O snatch me from myself, and make me thine.
All Heav’n calls good, or man felicity,
Peace, plenty, health, content, are all comprised in thee.”
411:209

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

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