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

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Jury of Righteous Plaintiffs: IV Maccabees 11 with poem by Theodore Watts-Dunton, John the Pilgrim

Daily Readings
Isaiah 49, III Maccabees 4, IV Maccabees 11, Luke 8

Daily Text: IV Maccabees 11

Jury of Righteous Plaintiffs
This family is like a jury of righteous plaintiffs. The more apparent their virtues, the more judgment they heap upon the head of Antiochus Epiphanes, the tyrant king. On the other hand, by means of pious reason they have clear in their minds the image of a waiting paradise.

The brothers, five and six, bring a new note to this recital in that the fifth brother jumps up voluntarily and the sixth articulates their triumph, i.e., he tells the king that he and his brothers have “paralysed your tyranny!” Indeed they have, far from cursing the tyrant and his actions they have embraced them, to his undoing, they clearly say, but without regret, without a storm of invective. They willingly go to their deaths for the sake of their family, their nation and their God.

John the Pilgrim
Theodore Watts-Dunton

Beneath the sand-storm John the Pilgrim prays;
But when he rises, lo! an Eden smiles,
Green leafy slopes, meadows of chamomiles,
Claspt in a silvery river’s winding maze:
“Water, water! Blessed be God!” he says,
and totters gasping toward those happy isles.
Then all is fled! Over the sandy piles
The bald-eyed vultures come and stand at gaze.

“God heard me not,” says he, “blessed be God!”
And dies. But as he nears the pearly strand,
Heav’n’s outer coast where waiting angels stand,
He looks below: “Farewell, thou hooded clod,
Brown corpse the vultures tear on bloody sand:
God heard my prayer for life—blessed be God!”

Collect for the Day
O God, who broughtest me from the rest of last night
Unto the joyous light of this day,
Be thou bringing me from the new light of this day
Unto the guiding light of eternity.
Oh! from the new light of this day
Unto the guiding light of eternity.

[286:165:548 from Carmina Gadelica, tr. Alexander Carmichael (1961)]


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