Saturday, December 01, 2007

Saturday in the 34th Week of Ordinary Time (I)
Safety in Prayer

Readings: Daniel 7:15-27; Daniel 3:82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87; Luke 21:34-36

I find it quite significant that as my companions and I move from one place of lodging to another we keep being reminded of the need for security. Take care of your belongings… Remember to lock your door... On this last day of the Church’s liturgical year, as our readings continue to focus our attention on the prospect of the end of time and how, as Christians, we should prepare ourselves to face the final visitation of the Son of Man, the concern is also with security of a sort. In particular, we are reminded to safeguard ourselves against two dangers.

The first is the one faced, in the first reading, by no less Godly a prophet than Daniel. Looking ahead into the mists of time, and finding himself face to face with an apparently terrifying future, Daniel confesses that he finds his spirit anguished… and… terrified by the visions of his mind. The second danger is that spoken of by Jesus in the gospel, when he warns his disciples to beware that your hearts do not become drowsy…

Anxious spirits and drowsy hearts, these are the twin and contrasting dangers that face us all. For, as Jesus reminds us, that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. On the one hand, there will be some among us who will be so obsessed and disturbed by the prospect of future terrors that we might even allow our faith and trust in God to be shaken. On the other hand, there will also be those of us – and we will probably be in the majority – who will be unperturbed. We will be too preoccupied with the anxieties of daily life to care about the one thing necessary. And we will be caught by surprise when the Lord comes knocking on the doors of our hearts.

To both these dangers, the readings offer the same safeguard. Troubled in spirit, Daniel prays, and the meaning of his visions are made known to him. Similarly, Jesus exhorts his disciples to fight the drowsiness of their hearts by remaining vigilant at all times and to pray that you may have the strength... to stand before the Son of Man… More solid than any locked door, and more reliable than any alarm system, we are each being invited to remain in constant contact with the One who alone can keep us safe from the tribulations that are imminent.

How safe are you?

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