Azariah’s Prayer

16 Aug

Reaching Up

Azariah took a prophetic look at his world,

a prophet must seek and hear his God.

In the Bible’s Book of Daniel, we are treated to the prayer of Azariah. He, Hananiah and Mishael refused to worship an idol created by King Nebuchadnezzar. (Here I use their Hebrew names rather than the ones by which the pagans called them. See Daniel 1:6.)

 Because of their refusal to worship an idol, the enraged king cast them into a fiery furnace. To the king’s amazement, he saw them walking around unharmed in the fiery furnace—and Azariah prophesied about the sinfulness of the Hebrew nation and the justice of God (Daniel 3:1-31).

The Sin of the Nation

In essence, Azariah states that, as a whole, the Hebrews abandoned God. They have ignored God’s will and law, his call to be one with him and to enjoy an intimate life of grace. In spite of all he has done for the Hebrew people, God is dismissed from the depths of the human heart; at best, he is merely acknowledged by external observance of the law; at its worst, his people worship idols and profane his holy Name.

Could we not today, here in our own world, and particularly in our own United States, pray that same prayer as did Azariah? Here, where God has so lavishly blessed our nation with so many good things?

We do indeed have our own idols—the desecration of marriage, hunger for money and power, sex for sex’s sake, and the fear of aging and the desire to look forever young. Just consider carefully the following TV programs: “Dancing with the Stars,” “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Naked and Afraid,” “Dating Naked,”  and that general genre.

We Need the Prophetic Voice

We need prophetic voices, in our Church and in all society, to speak fearlessly, honestly and charitably about the growing darkness in our world.  The old concerns remain and, in my mind, deserve more attention in parishes and in families: Christian frugality, sexual morality, modesty in dress and language, and corruption in government.

And, of great importance, is the responsibility to teach, not  only the things that are sins, but the source of our moral convictions and the unhappy consequences of sin.

St. Augustine was very clear about the responsibility to preach truth. He said that preachers (and I suggest parents and teachers as well) must speak the truth. If they do, and the sinner dies, it is the fault of the sinner; if they do not, and the sinner dies, the preachers, parents and teachers bear the blame.

Jesus, help us to love you purely and passionately and to trust you completely.

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8 Responses to “Azariah’s Prayer”

  1. bertghezzi August 16, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    How do you knmow about those naked reality shows???

    Bert

  2. margaret kotkiewicz August 16, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    Thank you Henry, for speaking the truth. Marge

    • Jim Isadore August 16, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

      This astute post is Deacon Henry at his very best.

  3. canatc1 August 17, 2014 at 12:27 am #

    Henry I agree with your choice of TV shows except for Dancing with the Star’s that is one of the arts! We even dance in church.

    • Henry Libersat August 17, 2014 at 5:49 am #

      But we don’t dance half naked in church, do we? And our dancing does not look like a mating ritual, does it?

  4. Mike Schuermann August 19, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    Henry,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you,for being such a wonderful presence on the internet. Your messages are relevant, articulate, and occasionally profound.Now in your 80’s you have become the “Grandma Moses” of bloggers. I pray that you continue to share your wisdom and love for many years to come.
    By the way I can see you now on “Dancing with the stars” Put your right foot in, take your right foot out “Do the hookey pokey ” etc. etc.etc.
    Your ol’ buddy
    Mike

    • Henry Libersat August 19, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

      Dear Mike S,

      You are gender-confused! But thanks for the comeback and good wishes. Lord willing, I’ll be around for a while.

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