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

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Behavioral Clarity: Judith 10 with poem by Swithun, Judith

Daily Readings
Sirach 47, Nehemiah 6:1-7:3, Judith 10, I John 4

Daily Text: Judith 10

Behavioral Clarity
Very quickly now in Judith 10, she dresses, meets the town officials, is permitted to leave Bethulia, goes through the valley and provokes her own capture. Through it all her focus as the instrument of God’s action is unswerving. She acknowledges God when praised, she exhibits no fear when accosted and taken into captivity by an Assyrian patrol in the desert alone in the middle of the night. She meets Holofernes with a proper mixture of respect and assertiveness. At all times, she seems to exhibit behavioral clarity in such a way as to accomplish all that she needs to in order to achieve her God-inspired ends. How unusual! Even the clearest thinking persons regularly lose their objectivity in the emotion of the moment, whether that emotion be pride, empathy, fear or timidity. Clarity is so much easier in the quietness of one’s home or study.

from Judith
Swithhun, Bishop of Winchester
, 856 [1]

She his [2] gifts doubted (not)
On this broad-stretching earth; early found she, then,
Defence from the famous King, when she felt most need of
The almighty Judge’s favor, that from terror the greatest
God the Creator would free her: the Father in heaven
Glorious did grant her this boon, since the greatest faith she
Ever reposed in the Lord almighty. Olofernes, ‘tis told me,
A wine-feast gladly proclaimed, and a wondrously sumptuous
Banquet he bade to be spread: all the best of his thanemen
The leader of armies did summon. They early anon
Did as he bade, shield-bearing men; to the mighty war-captain
The chiefs of the folk came flocking. The fourth day this was
Since the gracious Judith, sagacious in spirit,
Elf-lovely lady, the leader first sought for.
537:8

1Attributed to Swithun by A.S. Cook. Others suggest Caedmon or Cynewulf [cf.537:3].
2God’s gifts

Collect for the Day
My Father, teach us not only thy will, but how to do it. Teach us the best way of doing the best thing, lest we spoil the end by unworthy means.

[286:92:283 Revd J. H. Jowett, 1846-1923]

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