Where Daniel Prayed

~by Paula Veloso Babadi

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5: 11-12

In 2008, I had the profound experience of standing at the tomb of Daniel the Prophet in the ancient, dusty town of Shushtar, Iran. Across the street from the ornate, blue-mosaic, silver-gilded mausoleum and plaza were the ruins of King Cyrus’ winter palace. In the distance, weathered stone statues of two lions caught my eye – whether or not they represented the lions to which King Darius sent Daniel is irrelevant. I was humbled and awestruck at the thought of Daniel, thousands of years ago, possibly walking on the same ground where I stood. Daniel was faithful to God in the midst of danger and persecution and remains an inspiration. God answered his prayers, rewarded his trust. King Darius, Cyrus’ predecessor wrote to the nations:

“All peace to you! I decree that throughout my royal domain the God of Daniel is to be reverenced and feared:

For he is the living God, enduring forever;

His kingdom shall not be destroyed,

And his dominion shall be without end.

He is a deliverer and savior,

Working signs and wonders in heaven and on earth,

And he delivered Daniel from the lions’ power.

So Daniel fared well during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

Daniel 6:26-29

In a part of the world that is foreign to so many Christians today lies a rich spiritual heritage – Iraq, home to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and often thought to have been near the Garden of Eden; Persia (modern day Iran) where Daniel lived under foreign kings for a time; Egypt where the Blessed Mother lived out her life in Ephesus; and, Syria where St. Paul encountered Jesus (whom he was persecuting) on the road to Damascus. I mention these places, because in the Middle East today-the place where the apostles spread our faith among the nations – our Catholic/Christian brothers and sisters are undergoing persecution.

They are promised great reward in heaven. God hears the prayers of his people, just as he heard the prayers of Daniel who faced the lions – lions who would have killed, not for sport or malice, persecution or cruelty. Of all God’s creatures, man appears to be the only one that inflicts such damage. But hope ever rises in the words of Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” Let us pray then, unceasingly.

Where Daniel Prayed

Where Daniel prayed I stood in awe-

holy ground, ancient dust,

reverent air, silent prayer.

.

Where Daniel prayed I only saw

heads bowed, pilgrim vows

hearts raised in God’s praise.

.

Where Daniel prayed there was no war

peaceful ruins, B.C. museum

God and me and history.

.

Today my brothers, sisters too

hide in rubble

holy ground, ancient dust

acrid air, desperate prayer.

.

Aleppo and Damascus routes

walked by Paul

heads roll, death’s toll

bullets graze Christian ways.

.

Body of Christ racked in pain

trust there’s reward -

yours to claim, the same

Where Daniel prayed.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Paula Veloso Babadi has worked in the health care industry for over thirty five years, but her true passion is poetry. She is a member of the St. John’s Chapter of the national Catholic Writers Guild and a regular contributor to the St. Joseph’sReflections Newspaper. Growing up in England and Pensacola with her Filipino and British parents and marrying into her Iranian family, she now lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband, daughter and nearby three grown sons and grandchildren.

***Visit A POET’S VOICE ARCHIVE***

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