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, December 03, 2006

Worthy of Emulation: IV Maccabees 5 with poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Every Stoic Was a Stoic

Daily Readings
Isaiah 43, Daniel 8, IV Maccabees 5, Revelation 21

Daily Text: IV Maccabees 5

Worthy of Emulation
Antiochus in chapter 5 give a Stoic’s speech to Eleazar, chiding him for not looking upon the king’s demand for eating pork with more equanimity. After all, he is a learned man and should be able to rise above his primitive religion. Eleazar, on his part, denies the possibility of equanimity and rationalization. He defends his integrity and the integrity of his religion with superior stoical arguments and the perspicacity to see how his people’s Law is superior to Stoicism, accomplishing all of Stoicism’s purposes and going beyond to the one, true God. In essence his God will enable him to be a godly man in the face of the worst Antiochus Epiphanes can throw at him. The New Revised Standard Version in a note records that in Antioch, the place the Christians remembered this as happening, a church was built in honor of Eleazar and the seven young martyrs and their mother. Here was a man worthy of emulation.

Every Stoic Was a Stoic
from Essays, New England Reformers,
ii. Self-Reliance
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803-1882

Every Stoic was a Stoic;
but in Christendom
where is the Christian?
413:200:45

Collect for the Day
From that which we fear, O Lord, make us fearless.
O bounteous One, assist us with your aid.
Drive far the malevolent, the foeman.

May the atmosphere we breathe
breathe fearlessness into us:
fearlessness on earth
and fearlessness in heaven!
May fearlessness guard us
behind and before!
May fearlessness surround us
above and below!

May we be without fear
of friend and foe!
May we be without fear
of the known and the unknown!
May we be without fear
by night and by day!
let all the world be my friend!

[286:283:858]

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