Mon, 20 January 2020
O holy virgin martyr,
O innocent child
who offered your life
more freely than a bride
to her husband,
more courageously than a warrior
who though lacking in years
was not lacking in faith
nor desire to honor
your only Spouse…
you who were honored
by the Fathers of the Church
and are remembered to this day
as a holy offering,
a lamb of God sacrificed in flames
yet professing ever
your love for Christ –
but a small measure of your courage
would save our souls.
Pray but a drop of His blood
we may know
falling from our veins.
Mon, 20 January 2020
(1Sm.16:1-13; Ps.89:20-22,27-28; Mk.2:23-28)
“Man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.”
Indeed, how different the vision of God from the vision of man, and how well the Lord illustrates this in His rejection of Saul and His choosing of David. When Samuel sees Eliab, whose appearance and “lofty stature” are reminiscent of Saul, even this great seer is blinded by his eyes and must be directed by God to look beyond what is apparent to his sight. All seven sons brought to the feast are rejected by the Lord, and the youngest, “who is tending the sheep,” must be sent for. Jesse, his father, did not think David worthy of coming to the sacrificial banquet, but it is he who is the centerpiece of the celebration. This ruddy youth is the one chosen by the eyes of God.
And lest we think that there is some kind of diametrical opposition between physical beauty and interior loveliness, we must note that David is not ugly to behold and the Lord does not choose him for a poor appearance. He too was “handsome… and making a splendid appearance.” But the beauty of David finds its source not in the skin but in a heart set on God, and it is this faithfulness and dedication to Him upon which the Lord gazes and, so, chooses, and not upon the curls falling around his face. David’s appearance is beautiful because his soul is beautiful, and his soul is beautiful because it finds its life in God. And so, from the day of his anointing by Samuel, God’s prophet, “the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David” and there remained, for it had found its proper home.
In our gospel we have a quote like unto the one separated out for this day, and expressive of a similar lesson: “The Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath,” Jesus tells the Pharisees critical of His disciples picking, peeling, and eating heads of grain on the Lord’s Day. For what do the Pharisees do but judge the law by its appearance alone, and fail to look into its heart. The law is indeed beautiful to behold and was made for man for his benefit, to draw him close to God; but how far from its purpose these leaders of the people have come, and so, how distant from the Lord they stand – unable to recognize Him as He stands before them. The sabbath itself was made for man’s rest and refreshment from labor, and yet when the disciples of Christ pick and eat to allay their hunger, to find refreshment for their failing bodies, these Pharisees deem it evil. Again one wonders how they can be so blind. Again it is apparent that they are unable to see beyond the surface. Empty indeed are their hearts.
As He has done for David, the Lord makes us strong, makes us fruitful and beautiful. He blesses our works as the works of this “highest of the kings of the earth,” if those works are founded in Christ. If we truly say with David, “You are my father, my God, the rock, my savior,” the Lord will hear us, and finding His presence in our hearts, He will bless us, even as His only Son.
O LORD, your Spirit be with us as with David,
as with Jesus.
YHWH, give us eyes to see what you see, hearts to understand your will. Your Spirit dwell within us that we might be as your Chosen One.
O LORD, as we are presented before you, may we be acceptable in your sight. Let our hearts not be hardened to your Word but anointed by your Son’s blood. O that we might call you our Father and know Jesus as our Savior! Give us your Wisdom that we might radiate your beauty to all who look upon us this day.
David you blessed, dear God, as king of kings, as the child upon whom your favor rested. Is He not the figure of your only Son? In Him do we not see presaged the Christ who would be Lord even of the Sabbath?
And are we not called to be joined to Him, to have His anointing upon us this day, His Spirit to guide us in all things? Let us be fed by your Anointed, O LORD, that His crown might be upon our heads, that our eyes might be open to His glory.