Lent: Tuesday of the Third Week

“Azariah stood up in the midst of the fire and prayed aloud...” (Daniel 3:25)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“Regarding prayer, we have examples in Daniel, “And Azariah, standing up, prayed in this way, and opening his mouth in the middle of the fire he said.” And in Tobit, “And I prayed with tears saying, ‘You are just, O Lord, and all your works are just, and all your ways are mercy and truth. And your judgments that you offer are true and just forever.’” Since the passage cited in Daniel has been obelized because it is not found in the Hebrew and those of the circumcision reject the book of Tobit as not canonical, I will quote the words of Anna from the first book of Kings: “And she prayed to the Lord and cried with many tears and made a vow saying, ‘Lord of hosts, if you will look down on the lowliness of your servants,’ etc.” Also, in Habakkuk, “A prayer of Habakkuk, the prophet, with song, ‘Lord, I have heard your voice, and I was afraid. Lord, I considered your works, and I was astonished. In the middle of two animals you will be known; in the approaching of the years you will be known.’” This example illustrates very well the definition of the term proseuchē in that it combines prayer with the attempt to give glory. But also in the book of Jonah, “Jonah prayed to the Lord his God out of the belly of the fish, saying, ‘I cried in my tribulation to the Lord my God, and he listened to me; from the heart of the grave you heard the screams of my voice; you threw me into the depths, in the heart of the sea, and the waters encircled me.’” (On Prayer, 14)

May Your grace not forsake us,
O Lord, we pray,
but make us dedicated to Your holy service
and at all times obtain for us Your help.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen