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Monday, March 22, 1999

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Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62
Psalm 23
John 8:1-11

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the holy spirit and the culture of death

"The Lord heard her prayer. As she was being led to execution, God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel, and he cried aloud." —Daniel 13:44-46

Susanna was "a very beautiful and God-fearing woman" (Dn 13:2). "Her pious parents had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses" (Dn 13:3). Susanna was happily married to Joakim, a very rich man who was the most respected of all the Jews in Babylon (Dn 13:4). Susanna was blessed with children in her marriage (Dn 13:30). Susanna was a very holy, beautiful woman, a beloved daughter, faithful wife, and devoted mother.

Then two wicked judges tried to force her to commit adultery with them by threatening to falsely accuse her of adultery and condemn her to death, if she did not give in to them. But Susanna chose to remain pure, faithful, and holy, even though she would lose her life, good reputation, marriage, and family (Dn 13:23). This was not the first evil act these judges had committed. They had subverted justice by "passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent, and freeing the guilty" (Dn 13:53). They had also sexually abused several other women (Dn 13:57).

The Lord saved Susanna's life and reputation. He saved Susanna's husband, parents, and children from being disgraced and traumatized. He stopped the judges' subversion of justice and sexual abuse, which had gone on for years. The Lord transformed a perverted society by stirring up "the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel" (Dn 13:45).

We also need the Holy Spirit to be stirred up in us (see 2 Tm 1:6-7) and transform our culture of death into a civilization of life and love. Come, Holy Spirit this Lent, Easter, and Pentecost!

Prayer:  Father, in this year dedicated to You, may the Holy Spirit cry out in my heart "Abba" ("Father") (Gal 4:6).

Promise:  "Nor do I condemn you. You may go. But from now on, avoid this sin." —Jn 8:11

Praise:  Tammy faithfully does sidewalk counseling in front of an abortion clinic. But she also takes abortionists to lunch and tries to lovingly persuade them to stop performing abortions.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 23, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 27, 1998