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Thursday, November 27, 2003

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Daniel 6:12-28
Daniel 3:68-74
Luke 21:20-28

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forgiveness, innocence, and protection

"My God has sent His angel and closed the lions' mouths so that they have not hurt me." —Daniel 6:22-23

Daniel was a victim of political intrigue (see Dn 6:4ff). King Darius gave the impression that he was powerless to save Daniel from being thrown into a lions' den because the unjust law Daniel broke was irrevocable (Dn 6:13ff). Nonetheless, after Daniel was freed unharmed from the lions' den, Darius "ordered the men who had accused Daniel, along with their children and their wives, to be cast into the lions' den. Before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones" (Dn 6:25). King Darius did not have any problems taking the law into his own hands after Daniel was freed. Why was he bound by the law before Daniel's attempted execution? King Darius was probably a weak, cowardly leader whose sinfulness could have cost Daniel his life.

However, Daniel did not hold Darius' sins against him. When Daniel was saved from lions, he said to King Darius: "O king, live forever!" (Dn 6:22) This was an acclamation of loyalty to the king. Then Daniel said: "Neither to you have I done any harm, O king!" (Dn 6:23) Daniel forgave King Darius and had no resentment against him. This was part of Daniel's innocence which protected him from the lions (see Dn 6:24).

Forgiving those who sin against us protects from the worst dangers. Not forgiving results in our being handed over to the torturers (Mt 18:34). Forgive, and your innocence can protect you from a host of evils. Don't forgive, and you open the door to countless calamities. Forgive and be innocent.

Prayer:  Father, "to err is human; to forgive is divine." May I accept Your divine power to forgive all who have hurt me.

Promise:  "When these things begin to happen, stand erect and hold your heads high, for your deliverance is near at hand." —Lk 21:28

Praise:  Sarah's consistent forgiveness eventually brought healing into her broken family.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, April 24, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 28, 2003