Sunday, February 3, 2013

Song of the Three

Today I was praying through morning prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours & came across a portion of a canticle from Daniel. Since becoming Catholic, I've become familiar with this passage (It reminds me a lot of Psalm 136). In its entirety, the canticle is called "The Song of the Three" & is considered an Apocryphal work- an addition in the Greek. Because the Apocryphal writings were not found in Hebrew scriptures, they are often not included in Protestant Bibles (& if they are, they're separated out from other scripture like the bad kid in the corner). In a Catholic Bible, the Apocryphal works are not separated, but joined with the rest of scripture- a feature I've come to enjoy very much.

The Song of the Three picks up where Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego are thrown into the furnace, right about where verse 23 of the Protestant versions end. Verse 24 instantly has Nebuchadnezzar jumping up in amazement that the three had not been burned, but this corresponds with verse 91 in a Catholic version. That's 67 verses later. Check out what's missing:

Then the three, as out of one mouth, praised, glorified, 
and blessed God in the furnace, saying:
Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: 
and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
And blessed is thy glorious and holy Name: 
and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art thou in the Temple of thine holy glory: 
and to be praised and glorified above all for ever.
Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths, 
and sittest upon the Cherubims, 
and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art thou on the glorious Throne of thy kingdom: 
and to be praised and glorified above all for ever.
Blessed art thou in the firmament of heaven: 
and above all to be praised and glorified for ever.
O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye Angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye waters that be above the heaven, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye Sun and Moon, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: 
 praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye winds, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye fire and heat, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye Winter and Summer, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye dews and storms of snow, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye nights and days, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye light and darkness, bless ye the Lord:
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye ice and cold, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye frost and snow, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye lightnings and clouds, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O let the earth bless the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye mountains and little hills, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye things that grow on the earth, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye fountains, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye seas and rivers, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye whales and all that move in the waters, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye fowls of the air, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O all ye beasts and cattle, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye children of men, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O Israel bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye priests of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye servants of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye spirits and souls of the righteous, bless ye the Lord, 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye holy and humble men of heart, bless ye the Lord: 
praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord, 
praise and exalt him above all for ever: 
for he hath delivered us from hell, and saved us from the hand of death, 
and delivered us out of the midst of the furnace, and burning flame: 
even out of the midst of the fire hath he delivered us.
O give thanks unto the Lord, because he is gracious: 
for his mercy endureth for ever.
O all ye that worship the Lord, bless the God of gods, 
praise him, and give him thanks: 
for his mercy endureth for ever.
Daniel 3:51-90

Hmm. Redundant much? Yeah, but think about what its really saying: "Then the three, as out of one mouth, praised, glorified, and blessed God in the furnace..." We're reminded, in light of His mercy, to bless the Lord, to praise, exalt & glorify Him above all temporal, created things, even in the midst of trials & threat of death. This is what confounded Nebuchadnezzar that day & continues to confound the enemy of our soul...

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