Daily Devotional for February 9-15
Colossians: Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad therein.
**Practical Commentary this week
DURING the reign of Ozias, Joatham, and especially Achaz, the people of Juda were guilty of many acts of idolatry. Wherefore God sent them the great prophet Isaias. In sublime and terrific language he warned them of many fearful calamities that were to come upon their country, unless they did penance. Isaias was the great preacher of penance and of forgiveness of sins. “Hear the word of the Lord”, he wrote: “Wash yourselves, be clean, take away the evil of your devices from my eyes: cease to do perversely. Learn to do well: seek judgment. Then come and accuse me, saith the Lord. If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow: if they be red as crimson, they shall be as white as wool. But if you will provoke me to wrath, the sword shall devour you.”
To this prophet also the Lord revealed so many particulars relating to the Saviour of the world that, reading his prophecies, one would suppose Isaias had lived at the same time as our Divine Lord, instead of living seven hundred years before. A few of these prophecies will show how clearly this greatest of all the prophets foresaw the Birth, Passion and Death of the Redeemer.
Speaking of the Mother of the Messias, as well as of the Messias Himself, he said: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel, that is, God with us.”—“And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness. And He shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord.”
Blessed by the name of the Lord from henceforth and forever more.
“A Child is born to us, a Son is given to us, and the government is upon His shoulder. His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.” “God Himself will come and save you; then shall the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.”
Concerning the Passion of our Lord he prophesied: “There is no beauty in Him, nor comeliness. Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows. He has borne our infirmities; He was wounded for our iniquities; He was bruised for our sins, and by His bruises we are healed. The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was offered because it was His own will, and He opened not His mouth. He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer.” Regarding His future glory, the prophet says: “The Gentiles shall beseech Him, and His sepulchre shall be glorious.” Isaias was prophesying for about fifty years. It is said that he, while yet alive, was sawn in two by order of the impious king Manasses.
Commentary: God sees the future as if it were actually present, and He revealed the life of the Redeemer so clearly to Isaias, that the prophet was able to describe it as if he had seen it in person.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning it is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
The prophecies of Isaias constitute the ninth promise of the Messias, and contain the following important doctrines of faith:
a) That the Redeemer is God; for Isaias writes: “God Himself will come and will save you”, and he calls Him “Emmanuel, or God with us”. Jesus Christ is indeed the true God with us, for He is the Son of God, made Man.
b) That the Divine Redeemer would be conceived and born of a virgin: “Conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary”.
c) That He would suffer sorrow and pain, that He would be wounded, sacrificed and slain (New Test. LXXIV).
d) That like a lamb He would suffer and die patiently and willingly. “He was offered because it was His own will, and He opened not His mouth. He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer.”
e) Isaias foretells in plain words that it was on account of the sins of men that the Redeemer would suffer and die, in order to win pardon and salvation for them. Thus he teaches the doctrine of the Vicarious satisfaction or Atonement made by the Redeemer of the world.
f) Finally, the prophet glances at the glory of the Divine Saviour, saying that His sepulchre would be glorious, and that the nations (Jews and Gentiles) would adore Him. The grave of our Lord was made glorious by His Resurrection; and the nations could not adore Him, were He not still in heaven our God and Mediator. Thus the prophecy foretells that, as Saviour of His people, He would rise from the dead, and sit on His throne in heaven: “He rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” Isaias also describes in glowing terms the beauty, grandeur and universality of the Church of Christ under the names of the new Israel, new Jerusalem, new Sion.
Create in me a clean heart of God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not from thy presence nor take thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and by thy governing spirit establish me.
DURING the reign of Achaz [Ahab]the people of Juda were visited with a terrible calamity. That unhappy king had sacrificed his own children to the idol Moloch, one of the chief gods of the Gentiles. He had closed the gates of the Temple, and broken the sacred vessels. The Lord therefore delivered him into the hands of the king of Syria, who slew in one day a hundred and twenty thousand men of Juda, while two hundred thousand women and children were carried into captivity.
Achaz having died a short time after, his son Ezechias ascended the throne. This pious prince immediately cast down the altars which his unhappy father had everywhere raised to the pagan gods; he threw open again the gates of the Temple, and exhorted the Levites to purify it from the profanations that had taken place there; saying that it was because of the sins of the people, and, above all, because of their idolatry, that so many misfortunes had come upon them.
And God blessed Ezechias [Hezekia] and was with him in all he did; so that in his days the kingdom of Juda regained all its former prosperity. Nevertheless it came to pass that after some years, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came with a mighty army, and besieged Jerusalem.
Then Ezechias went to the Temple and prayed. He also sent priests, clothed in sackcloth, to the prophet Isaias, to ask him to intercede with God on behalf of him and his people.
Prayer: O give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.
The prophet sent word to Ezechias not to fear, for that God had heard his prayer, and would destroy the Assyrians, and that their king, returning to his own country, should perish by the sword.
That same night the angel of the Lord went to the camp of the Assyrians, and killed one hundred and eighty-five thousand warriors. Thus Sennacherib was obliged to return in disgrace to his own country. There he went to the temple of his god, and his own sons slew him with the sword. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Isaias.
Ezechias, some time after, fell sick and lay at the point of death. The prophet Isaias was sent to tell him to put his house in order, for that he must die. The king, terrified at the thought of death, turned his face towards the Temple, and prayed with tears that God might prolong his life. God heard his prayer, and sent the prophet again to tell him that fifteen years should be added to his life. And so it came to pass; and at the end of the fifteen years he died, after a happy and prosperous reign, the reward of his fidelity to God.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
From St. Patrick’s ‘Breastplate’
The holy king Ezechias was blessed by God, and saved from a great danger in the most wonderful way. On the other hand, the pride of Ozias was punished by a life-long illness; and all the other kings of Juda who were unfaithful to God were punished by Him in different ways.
In the hour of danger we ought to do as the pious king Ezechias did. He took every possible human precaution to defend Jerusalem,. and then, full of confidence, humbly asked God’s protection. In the hour of need we, in the same way, ought to do all we can ourselves, though we must not depend on our own efforts for success, but humbly pray to God for help and deliverance. “Our help cometh from the Lord l”
The marvellous help which was sent to Ezechias ought to prove to us the power and efficacy of fervent prayer.
We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, we glorify Thee, we give thanks to Thee for they great glory.