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.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Ark of Reason: IV Maccabees 15 with poem by John Donne, Holy Sonnet V

Daily Readings
Isaiah 53, I Maccabees 1, IV Maccabees 15, Luke 12

Daily Text: IV Maccabees 15

The Ark of Reason
Hadas [462:219] claims that IV Maccabees 15 is the acme of his treatise on reason. It is an encomium on the behavior, faith, reason, endurance, nobility and love of the mother of the seven. No praise is too great for this one who chooses between life for a time and life for all eternity. She overcomes all advocates, nature, parental love, family and torture, to choose death by torture in order to obtain eternal life. Again, reference is made to Abraham for this woman has his fortitude as she makes her decision by right and devout reason. Like Noah and the ark, bringing hope to the world through the survival of Noah’s family (cf. Wisdom of Solomon 14:6), hope to the world is sustained by the ark of reason in this woman that faith in God might persist.

Holy Sonnet V
John Donne

I am a little world made cunningly
Of elements, and an angelic sprite,
But black sin hath betrayed to endless night
My world’s both parts, and (oh) both parts must die.
You which beyond that heaven which was most high
Have found new spheres, and of new lands can write,
Pour new seas in mine eyes, that so I might
Drown my world with my weeping earnestly,
Or wash it if it must be drowned no more:
But oh it must be burnt! alas the fire
Of lust and envy have burnt it heretofore,
And made it fouler; Let their flames retire
And burn me ô Lord, with a fiery zeal
Of thee and thy house, which doth in eating heal.

Collect for the Day
Lord Jesus, you alone are the resurrection and the life; those who believe in you will never die. Come to us, and speak new life upon all our dyings. Look upon us as we stand at the thresholds of our entombing experiences, unable to see or move because of the grave clothes which bind us. Set us free. In your name we pray. Amen.



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