(Sixth Century BC)
+ What we know of these three young men, who are also known by the Babylonian names of “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,” comes to us from the third chapter of the Book of Daniel (3:10-97).
+ Young men of Hebrew descent, they were members of the royal court of King Nebuchadnezzar who refused to worship the golden image the king had erected in the plain of Dura.
+ As punishment for their disobedience, the king ordered that the three young men be thrown into a fiery furnace, heated seven times hotter than normal. When word was brought to the king that the youths were not being burned up, the king looked into the furnace himself and saw a fourth man with them, “like a son of God.” The king ordered the youths to be brought out of the furnace and promoted them to high offices.
+ Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael are among those Old Testament figures whose names are included in the Roman Martyrology (the Church’s official listing of saints). They are honored in the Orthodox Church on December 17 and on the two Sundays before the feast of the Nativity of Christ.
+ The “Canticle of the Three Young Men” (Daniel 3:57-88, 56), said to the be the hymn of praise offered while they were in the fiery furnace, is prayed as part of the Liturgy of the Hours, especially during morning prayer on feasts and solemnities.
For prayer and reflection
“Deliver us in accord with your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord:
Let all those be put to share
who inflict evils on your servants;
Let them be shamed and powerless,
and their strength broken;
Let them know that you alone are the Lord God,
glorious over the whole world.”—Azariah (Daniel 3:44-45)
On this day, the Church honors the memory of Saint Filip Siphong, a Thai layman and catechist who was martyred for the Christian Faith in 1940. He is honored as one of the Seven Marytrs of Thailand.
May the prayer and integrity of the Saints, O Lord, we pray, obtain help for your faithful, that they may gain a share in the eternal inheritance of those whom they celebrate with devotion. 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.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For Several Saints)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.