Daily Devotional for October 6-12
Ephesians: I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all Saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundandy above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Prayer: O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot out our sins. O Master, pardon our iniquities. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name’s sake.
[2 Kings 23. 3 Kings 1–2]
DAVID was thirty years old when he ascended the throne of Israel, and he reigned forty years in honour and glory. When the time of his death drew near, he gathered together the princes of Israel, and told them that he had intended to build a house to the Lord, and had prepared all the materials for a new Temple; but that the Lord had not allowed him to carry out his plan, because he had shed much blood in his many battles.
The building of the Temple was reserved for Solomon, his son, whose kingdom should be great and powerful if he would be faithful to the Commandments of God. David therefore exhorted his son to serve God with a good will, because the Lord sounds the depths of hearts and penetrates the thoughts of men. “If thou seek Him”, said David, “thou shalt find Him; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off for ever.”
David then gave his son gold and silver for the vessels of the Sanctuary, together with the plan of the Temple and its precincts, and said to him: “All these things came to me written by the hand of the Lord. Act like a man, take courage and fear not; for the Lord my God will be with thee nor forsake thee till thou hast finished the House of the Lord.”
Then addressing the assembled princes David said: “The work is great; for a house is prepared not for man, but for God. Now, if any man is willing to offer, let him fill his hand to-day, and offer what he pleaseth to the Lord.” And the princes and the people joyfully brought their gifts for the Temple of the Lord.
And David rejoicing exclaimed: “Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the God of Israel, our Father from eternity to eternity. All things are Thine, and we have given Thee what we received of Thy hand. O Lord, keep for ever this will of their heart and let this mind remain always for the worship of Thee; and give to Solomon, my son, a perfect heart, that he may keep Thy Commandments.” Having thus spoken, David slept in peace. He was buried in Sion (Fig. 45).
Prayer: O come, let us worship God our King.
O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ our King and God.
O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and God.
Commentary on David:
The last days of the royal prophet’s life were beautiful and edifying. His only care was that a fitting Temple should be raised to the Lord, and he urged his son most earnestly to be faithful and obedient to God. And then he slept “in the Lord”, i. e. in the grace of the Lord. He was able to gaze back on his active and eventful life, and leave it with the thought that he had finished his task. The task which God had given the former shepherd to do was very great and important for the development of God’s kingdom upon earth. David had secured to the chosen people their possession of the Promised Land, he had disabled his enemies for a long time to come, he had strengthened the unity of the people, ordered the government of the country according to God’s laws, extirpated the remnants of idolatry and advanced the worship of God by his regulations concerning it, by his example and his ever-beautiful Psalms. His prophecies concerning the Messias had quickened the spiritual life of the people, and turned their thoughts to the source of grace. He was a chosen instrument of God and, with the exception of his fall, of which he deeply repented, he lived a life well-pleasing to Him. God therefore gave him the grace of perseverance and of a happy death.
A retrospect of David’s virtues: humility, confidence in God, piety, zeal for God’s glory, patience, love of his enemies, justice, generosity and fatherly care of his subjects. The Holy Ghost says about him (Ecclus. 47:10): “With his whole heart he praised the Lord and loved the God who made him.” He is rightly counted among the Saints of the Old Testament and is still venerated by the Church.
Prayer: Soul of Christ, sanctify me, Body of Christ, save me Blood of Christ, inebriate me, Water from Christ’s side, wash me, Passion of Christ, strengthen me, O good Jesus, hear me, Within Thy wounds hide me, Suffer me not to be separated from Thee, From the malicious enemy defend me, In the hour of my death call me, And bid me come unto Thee, That I may praise Thee with Thy saints, and with Thy angels, Forever and ever, Amen.
3 Kings 3–4]
AFTER the death of David Solomon ascended the throne. He loved the Lord, and walked in the ways of David, his father. The Lord appeared to him in a dream by night and told him to ask any favour he wished, and that it would be granted. Solomon answered: “O Lord God, Thou hast made Thy servant king instead of David, my father, and I am but a child. Give therefore to Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people and to discern between good and evil.”
The Lord was pleased with his petition, and He said to him: “Because thou hast asked this thing and hast not asked for thyself long life nor riches nor the lives of thy enemies, but hast asked for thyself wisdom to discern judgment, behold, I have done for thee according to thy words and have given thee a wise and understanding heart, insomuch that there hath been no one like thee before thee, nor shall arise after thee. Yea, and the things also which thou didst not ask, I have given thee: riches and glory, so that no one hath been like thee among the kings in all days heretofore. And if thou wilt walk in my ways and keep my precepts and commandments, as thy father walked, I will lengthen thy days.” And Solomon became renowned for wisdom and for power and glory.
On one occasion two women came to Solomon, asking him to decide their dispute. The first woman said: “We were living alone in a house, only we two. Now I had a child, and she had a child; and in the night when she was asleep, she overlaid her child, and it died. And rising in the dead of the night she took my child, while I, thy handmaid, was asleep, and laid her dead child in my bosom. When I arose in the morning, behold, my child was dead; but considering him more diligently when it was clear day, I found that it was not mine.” Then the second woman answered: “It is not so as thou sayest, but thy child is dead and mine is alive.”
But the first woman insisted that the living child was hers, and so they disputed before the king. Then Solomon ordered a sword to be brought to him, and when it was brought he said: “Divide the living child in two and give half to the one and half to the other.” Hearing this, the woman whose child was alive, being moved to pity, cried out in terror: “I beseech thee, my lord, give her the child alive, and do not kill it.” But the other said: “Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.”
Then the king commanded the child to be given to her who would rather give it up to another than have it killed, knowing that she must be its mother. The report of this judgment having gone abroad, the people all feared the king and knew that the wisdom of God was in him. How necessary it is that kings and rulers should examine in the spirit of justice and wisdom all cases brought before them!
Prayer: Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
On Solomon: Solomon’s prayer was pleasing to God, because firstly he made it with a humble heart; and secondly because he did not pray for riches or long life, but for far higher gifts. This shows us that we must not pray only for temporal blessings, such as health or a good harvest or peace and so forth, but above all for higher and more precious gifts, such as the forgiveness of sins, virtue, and especially for the grace to do our duty in our own state of life. In the “Our Father”, the model-prayer taught us by our Lord, there are five petitions for spiritual gifts, and only two for temporal gifts, the fourth and the seventh, even these two being combined with spiritual petitions. Bear in mind our Lord’s exhortation and promise: “Seek ye, therefore, first the kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you” The first and highest of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and the crown of all the others, is the gift of wisdom. God gave Solomon this gift in an extraordinary measure. Not only did he possess a knowledge of divine things, but he was versed in all human sciences, knowing the secrets of nature, the course of the stars, and the properties of beasts, plants &c. Moreover, he was gifted with the art of government; and the renown of his wisdom spread far and wide.
Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
[3 Kings 6–8. 2 Paralip. 5]
IN the fourth year of his reign Solomon began to build the Temple of the Lord on Mount Moria in Jerusalem. He had ten thousand men employed cutting cedars on Mount Lebanon (Fig. 46). Seventy thousand were engaged in carrying the materials to the site of the Temple. Eighty thousand were hewing stones, while three thousand three hundred were employed as overseers of the work.
The vast number of persons employed corresponded with the grandeur and magnificence of the house of God, the general plan of which was that of the Tabernacle. In other respects, however, the Tabernacle could not be compared with the Temple, which was sixty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high. The house was built of stones hewed and made ready, so that when it was in building, neither hammer nor any iron tool was heard. Then there were besides porches and galleries running all around it, and two large courts for the priests and the people.
The porch before the Temple was twenty cubits in length, and ten cubits in breadth. The inner walls were lined with planks of cedar, on which were carved cherubim and palm-trees and divers flowers, all standing out, as it were, from the wall, so skilfully were they carved. All the furniture was of the purest gold. The walls and floor of the Holy of Holies were covered with plates of fine gold, fastened by nails of gold.
When, after seven years, Solomon had finished the Temple, he assembled all the ancients of Israel with the princes of the tribes, to carry the Ark of the Covenant in triumph to the Temple. And all the people marched before the Ark in an ecstasy of joy and religious fervour, making peace-offerings to the Lord at every step they took. The Levites played on the harp and cymbal and many other instruments of music, while a hundred and twenty priests sounded the trumpet.
Prayer: We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.
*Sub Tuum Praesidium
[Continuing of Solomon and the Dedication of the Temple]
And the multitude sang in one grand chorus: “Praise the Lord, for He is good, and His mercy endureth for ever.” Then the Ark having arrived at the gates of the Temple, only the priests who carried it entered in, and they brought it to the Holy of Holies, and the cherubim shaded it with their wings. And the majesty of God in the form of a cloud filled the Temple, so that the priest could not stand to minister, because of the dazzling glory thereof.
Then Solomon, arrayed in his richest robes, fell on his face before the altar of holocausts, and stretching out his hands he said: “Lord God of Israel, there is no God like Thee in heaven or on earth. If heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee, how much less this house which I have built! O Lord my God, hear the hymn and the prayer which Thy servant prayeth before Thee this day, that Thy eyes may be open upon this house night and day, that Thou mayest hearken to the prayer which Thy servant prayeth in this place to Thee. Mayest Thou hearken to Thy people when they pray in this place. Mayest Thou hear them and show them mercy.”
Solomon’s prayer being ended, fire fell from heaven und consumed the holocaust. Seeing this, the Israelites fell prostrate on the ground and adored the great God of heaven, who wrought such wonders before them, and they went away praising His awful name. The Lord appeared a second time to Solomon and said: “I have heard thy prayer, and I have sanctified this house which thou hast built; and My eyes and My heart shall be always there.”
Prayer: Lord, I have cried to Thee, hearken unto me. Hearken unto me, O Lord. Lord, I have cried to Thee, hearken unto me. Attend to the voice of my prayer, when I cry unto Thee. Hearken unto me, O Lord. Let my prayer be set forth as incense before Thee, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. Hearken unto me, O Lord.
*Psalm 140 (141)