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    Decoding Daniel

    Daniel Berrigan brings to life the apocryphal vision of the prophet Daniel.

    By Daniel Berrigan

    April 6, 2022

    This article is excerpted from Daniel: Under the Siege of the Divine, a commentary on the Book of Daniel by the poet, priest, and activist Daniel Berrigan.

    “At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. 2Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4But you, Daniel, keep the words secret and the book sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be running back and forth, and evil shall increase.”5

    Then I, Daniel, looked, and two others appeared, one standing on this bank of the stream and one on the other. 6One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was upstream, “How long shall it be until the end of these wonders?” 7The man clothed in linen, who was upstream, raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven. And I heard him swear by the one who lives forever that it would be for a time, two times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end, all these things would be accomplished. 8I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” (Dan. 12:1–8)

    The End Is Not Yet, But Nears

    Daniel 12 Let us concede it. These latter episodes of our book lack entirely the folkloric charm of the first chapters. Indeed, even if we approach them inquisitively, carefully, and concentratedly, so as to milk as much meaning as possible from them, they strike us as fragmented, abstract, unhinged.

    What has happened to Daniel? There are, alas, no more stories about a superhuman Daniel and his miraculous pluckings from death. No more of this. Now he seems drawn into the irrational psyche of the kings; he walks in a house of mirrors, farther and farther, less and less our companion on the way. He dreams within dreams. And we scarce can follow.

    As though this were not enough, it seems that in his waking hours, he walks another world than ours, among other companions than us humans. We cannot dwell there; we have no ticket of entrance.

    He seems to have died, or (to keep the image of the scroll) to have crossed that stream whose bridge is upheld by angelic piers. He has crossed over.

    And we? We have not died yet. So we lose him, this Lazarus, this revenant who comes and goes among angels and that astonishing, veiled Human One – and who seems more at home with them than with us!

    It comes to this, one thinks. We shall have to bear with him as, let us not forget, he bears with us. He bears with us – incomplete humans, far short of twice born; we who are cursed or blessed, or both, with making do in a world of Make Do. Ac si non esset Deus – “as though God did not exist. Thus our world and the worldly powers make mock of God, that Non-intervenor, that Referee standing twilit, obscure, in some neutral corner of the universe. Silent as the dead.

    Perhaps this is a clue. In these chapters, we are told in effect that Daniel has seen God, the Human One. And has lived to tell of it. Language falls short; his hands drop to his sides. He tells it badly, haltingly, in fragments, bits and pieces – which is, of course, the only way such a Passover, so perilous and unprecedented a crossing of time’s river, could be told. So to our story, concerning angels and one poor (and yet how dazzlingly rich) mortal, so like us, so unlike.

    Daniel 12:1 Michael, “the great prince, the protector of your people,” shall appear, and “everyone whose name is found written in the book shall be delivered.” The scroll is elsewhere referred to as “a book of remembrance,” containing names of “those who feared the Lord and thought of God’s name” (Mal. 3:16). Such a book, its account kept by God, is an image common to Exodus, Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Revelation, where it is referred to as “the book of life.”

    Daniel 12:2 This verse is seminal, extraordinary. Some would take it as the first reference in Hebrew scripture to the resurrection of the body (following Isa. 26:19). To others (following Ezek. 11:14–15) the text is far less spectacular. According to them the words indicate no more than the “second spring” of an Israel restored – which is to say, ancient themes revisited: the return from exile and the renewal of a people.

    I lean toward Isaiah and to Daniel’s leaning toward him. Expressions such as “those who sleep in the dust of the earth,” and its near equivalent in Isaiah, “O dwellers in the dust, awake,” are sufficiently striking. More, “the dust,” referring either to the grave or to Sheol, is found in Isaiah, Job, and Ecclesiastes.

    In any case, an immemorial trek of the spirit led to this verse, if one considers – even briefly – the strong implication in earlier scripture that no being survives beyond the grave: “Better a live dog than a dead lion” (Eccles. 9:4). More, a human afterlife, whatever that many mean, differs no whit from that of beasts (Eccles. 3:19). No great consolation here! Sheol is beyond God’s outreach (Ps. 6:5; 88:3–12); yet early on, ca. 750 bce, we encounter in Amos a radically new direction: now Sheol, too, is included in God’s providence (Amos 9:2). As for the grave, it exerts no ultimate claim. Still, the earlier texts remain a kind of shadowy Sheol of the mind; there is as yet no trace of belief in resurrection. Then this.

    Daniel 12:3 Regarding the Maskillim, or those “skilled in justice,” or those “who have brought others to justice” – we have encountered these before: the faithful who persevere in spite of the tyrants, who observe torah and endure the cost. And who beckon others to a like fidelity. Quite literally, the lives and deaths of these “masters of justice” have rendered them apt for resurrection. Passionate for life, they turn inevitable realities on their head. They reverse the harsh law of the “realm of necessity,” the “law of death” invoked in Genesis 3 and summoned again in Paul’s letter to the Romans (Rom. 5:12).

    Also we note the strong link with Isaiah 53:11. The “fourth servant song” identifies and praises, in the name of Jahweh, the same quality – the wisdom that brings others to justice. “By his knowledge shall my servant, the righteous one, bring many to be accounted righteous.”

    We have in such praise of the Maskillim an element both of division and of a deeper unity. They are summoned to unmask the injustices so often concealed under incantations of law and order. Thus unmasking the truth of things, they prepare people and institutions to accept their true vocation – service rather than ravenous self interest. Many, of course, would prefer that unsavory matters not be brought to light. Therefore the just must be prepared to pay up, and prepare others to do likewise.

    Daniel 12:2–3 These verses must be accounted central to the faith of Christians as well as Jews. Matthew quotes to the letter (Matt. 13:43) the praise of the just and their consequent glory, merited in blood and tears.

    Daniel 12:4 Now Daniel is urged to “seal up the vision” (as in Rev. 10:4). But in Revelation, a counter. The Lamb unseals one by one the seven seals of the mysterious scroll of history (Rev. 1:1 ff.). And later, John the Divine is told by a voice from heaven, “Seal up what the seven thunders have spoken!” (Rev. 10:4)

    How comes this? Here we are, and here the multitudes of all the centuries since Daniel. And the book is in our hands, then is handed on, generation upon generation, legible and loved, that “sealed” book! It is open, and more. It is read and pondered and believed – and died for.

    As a matter of fact (and more, a matter of faith, as would be insisted by many), the book is unsealed in every generation. It beckons us, this book. It would make saints of us, we the unlikeliest of candidates. Its angels haunt our days, its perils, pits and furnaces, the foolishness of king‑knaves, the bravery of a few, the slavishness of multitudes – the images spill from the pages precipitously, into the mind, into motive and action.

    Sealed? If so, ever so lightly sealed, and the seal easily broken, the scroll open to all – multitudes reading, pondering, learning, lingering over the book! Are we, then, who unseal the book to be accounted disobedient in so grave a matter? Believers or would‑be believers – and yet disobedient?

    Unsealed, or sealed? Let us put the matter this way: the book, in many images rejected or misapprehended, in many cultural enticements, in a multitude of lives, in shady motives and renegings, in yieldings to greed and lust and violence, in the call to read and respond and enact – in these and like refusals, the book remains sealed. Consult, in this matter of the sealed book, the experts. The honest among them (not all are honest) confess to considerable confusion around the seeming contradictions and lacunae. Why, for example, is Daniel absent from the testing in the furnace? What meaning is to be attached to the tortured imagery of the final chapters? And what of the identity, as well as the instruction, of “the one who looked like a man,” the Human One? What to make of that mysterious “year, two years and half a year” of tribulation, borrowed also by Revelation? (Rev. 12:14) And so on, and so on.

    woodcut of a man dressed in linen

    Robert McGovern

    At the least, let us venture this. The instructions concerning the revelation given Daniel contain a hint of invitation. That he (and we) rest content in obscure words and images, in the koans, the testing of heart and mettle. The puzzles stop the mind in its tracks; at the same time, they beckon us into the darkness of a deeper understanding.

    Rhythms of rest are urged together with rhythms of search; each appointed to Daniel, to ourselves. Be not anxious or afraid. In due time light will be granted. Meantime do not be enslaved to darkness. Lift your eyes from the text; ponder the events of your lifetime, the signs of the times. Return again to the text. You will know.

    And a caveat too. Not every “resting in the mystery” is to be judged courageous and wise. Nor is the search for light, though it purport to be of the Spirit, necessarily so. “There will come false prophets, who will deceive many” (Matt.  24:5).

    No wonder the words of the angel set Daniel trembling, for the “time unsurpassed in distress since nations began . . .” And amid “the nations” and their crimes stands the “sign” of his own life, now resting in the spirit, now scaldingly in search of light. He falls to ground; again he rises and walks, intrepid and alone, deeper into a cave of darkness. A cave of ancestors. A place where Jeremiah speaks. Daniel will go on. And may that sign of his, the sign of a peerlessly faithful life, lead us aright in our appalling world, the hour’s need, the chancy moment, the truth in jeopardy!

    Meantime, despite its being sealed, the scripture is at hand; available, an anointing for the healing, the sanity we name faith. Daniel and his like, giants and heroes of the ages, are after all at our beck and call.

    The story of Jesus stands open as well; we have only to tolle et lege [“Take, read!”].Those portions of the Word which are to remain sealed are in the main revelations regarding the future. And that future would seem, if a living faith is our quest, to be no small affair of ours.

    Still, a further perplexity arises. Is not the instruction to seal the vision violated in the act of writing it down? Or did there once exist lines between the lines, portions of the vision since deleted or omitted, lying out of sight and mind, in that marvelous Dead Sea metaphor of sealed stone jars?

    Suppose we take another tack. This: Daniel (or his later redactor, it makes no difference) is responsible for recounting the vision. Someone sets it down. There it blazes in our text. Pondering it, we are assured, will lend us vitality and coherence – as it will generations yet unborn. Which is to say, until the vision passes into belief and conduct, the word of God remains sealed. Thus the command to seal up the vision can be understood as an irony. Be blind as to whatever vision or visionary. Seal up the vision, forbid it, ignore it. As for the visionary, the law will deal with him!

    The command even invites a deconstruction, one on a par with the announcement of Jahweh to Isaiah and Jeremiah. These, Jahweh announced, were appointed to speak the truth in season and out. And yet – speak, shout, mime, rage, endure as they would (the outcome was dourly predicted) – their effect on the people was nil. They faced their people unflinching, yet no one, not one of their own, would pay heed.

    Jesus echoes the same hard estimate of truth telling and its effect. Through the blind incapacity of his auditors, the Word will be rendered null and void.

    And yet, always a “yet.” Though hedged about with darkness, the centuries since the prophets spoke can hardly be named dead. Against dire predictions, against all odds, the teachings of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Jesus are available and in our hands. Contrary to all dark foreboding, something went aright. Some ray of light and hope prevailed. Someone, some few, kept the scrolls unsealed, the script faithfully transmitted, the instructions taken seriously. Heroes and martyrs read, and ran to their death. Others of commoner stock (ourselves) discover in those pages sound reason to hope; to live in ways, unheroic though we be, that now and again confound a culture of death. The predictions of Jahweh and Jesus, dare we say, were proved in error? All to the good.

    Of what value the harsh prophecies, then, portraying us humans as little more than a massa damnata? Were these no more than hyperbole, negatives heaped high by the Reader of hearts? A warning, in effect? A finger pointing to our inner darkness, our unacknowledged need, our capricious appetites, our disconcerting itch for violence, our pride of place –a litany of inhibitions piled high in the heart, forbidding the truth entrance?

    Daniel was not made of light. We are not made of light. We are an admixture, weird and stormy and blind, of light and darkness, high noon and blear midnight. Our complicity with the world hardly renders us apt for the truth. But for the grace of God (the “unsealing” grace), we stand apt for the culture, and thereby damned. We see and refuse to see. And now and again – too rarely, God knows – we see and cry aloud. The truth, reality!

    As to Daniel, his visions, instructions, parables, the example above all of that “man of desires,” that survivor of tyrants and their machinations – all these riches rest on the page, before our eyes. Legible, yet hidden.

    Let us imagine a circumstance. The gaze that falls on the holy pages is indifferent, bored – or openly hostile. It is the gaze of a tyrant, or of his sycophants, or of oppressors of the poor, the gaze of a “first family,” of war makers, warriors, tycoons. Let us be for the moment – unreal. Generations of these come and go like shadows on a rock. They and we are trapped in a downward spiral of hopelessness. Let us surmise that for centuries no saint has been born, no martyr, no liberator. That the text knows only enemies of the text. In such a scenario the book remains unopened, twice sealed, laid underground in a stone jar, deep in a cave. Which is to say, buried in the darkness of the morally comatose.

    In this scenario, which proceeds in our own day, principalities of the dark quality of Nebuchadnezzar or Belshazzar or Darius or Antiochus proceed unimpeded on their awful way. And what of us Christians? We offer no resistance but instead light-mindedly join the imperial adventurings, at least by silence, at most by a kind of moral assimilation. In this sense too scripture can be described as sealed.

    And Daniel has all unwitting obeyed the instruction: seal up the vision. Given the world and its potentates, given the Fall, given ourselves – the Word of God cannot not be sealed up, thrice sealed, hidden, feared, detested, forgotten. Daniel and his like have set down a Word so consistent with their example, so unequivocal, stark, unyielding, that it has struck up against “the many,” the Harrabim, the woefully blind. The word, the vision is stuck there on stuttering tongues.

    In this sense, the story of Jesus too is sealed. Let a crisis arise, a “time of tribulation.” A war. And the plain sense of his teaching – together with his exemplary life and death –will be declared in one way or another out of touch, irrelevant, not to be taken literally. The Word will yet again be judged and found wanting; it will be deemed a personal rather than a social or political instruction, passé or idealistic or useful only as reference point to the end time.

    The Sermon on the Mount will be superseded by a pagan casuistry, perennially useful to war makers, perennially beside the Christian point. In such times scripture becomes the tomb of Christ. The living way degenerates into a philosophic tour de force in the shadow of which Christians hide out, pondering consensually the way of the world. Lost there, in a Dantesque thicket.

    Daniel 12:5 ff. An epilogue, a majestic scene – indeed, a judgment. Heavenly beings intervene; one “clothed in linen” (see Dan. 10:5), “standing above the waters of the stream.” This majestic one raises both arms to heaven (Dan. 12:7). Then appear two “witnesses” to the oath, as required (Deut. 19:15). The oath is thus sustained. The angelic witnesses adhere closely to biblical law as they testify to the crimes of Antiochus against God’s people. The geography is wondrously specific. To Daniel it would seem eternity is hardly a strange land; its spirits enter time and this world, and both remain intact. (A sign, so to be taken? A momentary glimpse, no sooner granted than gone, of an Incarnation to come?)

    The heavenly witnesses span the stream, a living bridge between heaven and earth. Creation groans, draws a deep breath. The angels prepare for judgment. It is as though the river (of time, of empire) passed between them. They are firmly planted there, piers of the bridge; the river flows beneath. Thus time moves and moves, bearing all before. Bearing all except the witnesses, those piers, upholding, guarding, allowing passage. God’s word abides; the two stand there, steadfast “one this side, one the other of the stream.” Then the oath is pronounced in a setting of liturgical grandeur and solemnity.

    Daniel 12:6 It would seem that the translation of the Revised Standard Version, “wonders,” violates the sense here. “Wonders” would refer to the visions themselves, not to the horrible events that made such epiphanies necessary, even (though charged with fear) welcome. “Fearful destruction” (as in Dan. 8:24) seems closer to the sense.

    Daniel’s vocation meantime is unchanged; his life remains brutally appointed. He is a mode of God’ presence; he is to endure the time of the tyrant. This for the sake of his people, as always. The implication is plain: to whom else can the lorn tribe look for strength and direction? They take breath, take heart from him to go on. He resuscitates their failing spirit; his courage is a contagion; if he can survive, so can they. He has never once separated the Word from the way. The two are one. Walk, then, at my side!

    Be not anxious or afraid. In due time light will be granted. Meantime do not be enslaved to darkness. Lift your eyes from the text; ponder the events of your lifetime, the signs of the times. Return again to the text. You will know.

    Given the predatory nature of imperial wrath, the visions can be said to offer a chilly comfort. God’s hope for the world, though delayed, put upon, derided, frustrated, brutally crushed, the martyrs disposed of, the prophets gagged will nonetheless not be finally frustrated. Is this not enough, this sorry, last-ditch virtue we call hope?

    “How long, this time of suffering?” The question reverberates through scripture. Here, notably, the question is raised by one of the angelic visitants, those deep-founded, steady piers of the bridge. And the visitant questions not his companion but the “man in white linen, who stood upstream.” Is this latter a vessel of superior wisdom. Does he stand nearer the source, the watershed of time, of the river? Does he hearken there to the voice of the headwaters?

    It is an angel, existing outside time and tribulation, who raises the crucial question – a question which to our way of thinking (and hoping and suffering) would sit better on the lips of Daniel. What has this otherworldly being, an angel, to do with the muck of our luckless world?

    Still, the angel stands at the river, in time, visible to human eyes. This peerless spirit who questions: it is as though he stood surrogate for questioning Daniel. The angel stands in the river of time. Is this, perhaps, a gift to us – not an angelic immunity from the common suffering, but acceptance, immersion in the human lot? And through the immersion of such watchful love – immersion in time and this world – do not our tormented questionings become his own? Are such holy beings not named and revered as guardian angels? And being appointed to guard and cherish, heal and guide, must it not follow that they taste something of the bitter lees of human life?

    Another implication, also from an angel. “How long?” implies that it has already been too long, that too many have perished. And what, pray, might God proffer by way of relief? If there is no relief, or so little as hardly to deflect the killing blade – if there is no intervention, no justifying, no judgment against high crime – then why?

    And when the river turns to blood, and seems bottomless and wide as a covering deluge, who then can tread the waters? What angel will serve to bridge them?

    The questions are unutterably deep, though they beckon the inquiring mind. Who is this God, this non-intervenor, this Man Clothed in Linen, who stands upstream? Is he there; is he not there; is he a mirage? And if indeed he stands there, why is he silent; why does he not call halt to the murderous centuries and their supernumeraries?

    Wait. At distance an angel stands there too, at the stream of time – amid rapacious waters which we thought too deep, too strong – prevailing, a current sweeping all before.

    It is the faithful ones, whether angelic or human, who stand face to face with the Mystery, who make the impassioned appeal. Angels, fides quaerens intellectum? – their faith in search of understanding?

    An angel is our instructor. And we learn that the raising of such questions is crucial to faith itself. Let us hear it, learn it by rote. The questioning of God regarding the suffering of the innocent lies at the heart of faith – which is to say, at the heart of the human.

    Let us linger over it, the scene before us; it offers a strange consolation. God is questioned; the seeker is mysterious, an invisible one presumably free of the bonds of our time and place. For the moment, the same being is palpable, visible, audible. Are we to know that the angels standing at either bank of the river are closer to our condition that we dare imagine? Their presence, their questionings – these say “yes.”

    They interrogate the Man in White. Thus they bless us, despite our confusion. Raise the questions, they imply; raise them loud and clear; raise them in groanings of spirit, in private and before others. Raise them in worship; let your anguish, your passion for justice, your sense of violation at the omnipresence of injustice – let these be published far and wide! Shall faith permit of no perplexities? The angels deny it, urging perplexities of their own.

    Another tack. Are we mortals to be accounted dullards, or is our Instructor so forbidding (or so uncertain, of so little command) that we must sit in place and, like children in a school for drudges, must keep a silent tongue or risk the ferrule? The angels say “no.” Are we in dire times to become numbed victims; to take, whether in stride or in stumbling the cruel course of the world, its bludgeonings and spleen –and say nothing, question nothing? The angels forbid such a course.

    Thus our scripture. Its images of river and holy bridge builders offer not a response, but something else: something, one dares say, that is better. They offer approval of the questions. And of the questioners. Such questions, initiated by angels, hover on the air of ancient times and places – and our own. What riches are ours for the taking, bleak though the times! The Word of God, and its wealth of icons, builders of bridges, spirits withstanding and standing by! Heroes and saints, and now angels, each portrayed as a questioning servant of the Most High. Let us learn, and rejoice.

    An impassioned hectoring of God is thus declared blessed, a sign of faithfulness. Here, humans and angels are in dialogue – and in what fervent contest! What a “night of now done dark” wrestling with the Word! And with the Speaker of that Word as well (“clothed in linen, standing upstream”) – this dialogue and contest, both.

    Dabhar, “the word,” is translated as “a driving forward of that which is behind.” We imagine the Speaker standing there, the word he speaks driving the listener forward. But where driven? To that place from which the Speaker has come? Or in the Christian sense (the midrash we make all but instinctively), to that place where the Speaker will go, the gospel place? Or yet another topography – to the place where the listener, in his own time, must go? “Go, Daniel,” he said. And “Blessed is the one who has patience and perseveres.”

    As for our darkened understanding, our slow heartbeat, our twilit conscience, the mis-directions we avidly follow, the grace we refuse – these drive us backward into moral regression, where we choose to be – stuck, fragmented, distracted, governed by fear, and riddled with a darkness born of pride. Fallen. We balk, we must be driven forward. Must hear the Word.

    Driven, forward. The term is hardly complimentary, implying as it does a resemblance to oxen or dray horses; burdened, in servitude, even subject now and again to a flogging. The word of God drives us forward, who are perennially, congenitally “behind.” (No need of dwelling on that sorry circumstance: the Bible rubs our soul in it.)

    Still, granted the sublime estate of the questioner, the heroism of Daniel, who stands listening, the setting and the urgency – despite all, one must concede that little or no enlightenment arrives downstream. We stand there like Daniel at the mighty keystone and crux of the matter.

    Yet there is some solace, even if small: the evident approval of the question together with the non-answer. The comfort is icy, but it must nonetheless be taken to heart. We have in such episodes an evidence, a reassurance even. However opaque the response to our query, God has hearkened.

    Are we to be resigned to this, and pass on to other matters? Let us say that today also, believers pose the bloodshot question. And lucky we, if we also have a surrogate, a champion, someone (or even two) to speak for us, “standing on either bank of the river.” We know something, not much, of these two. Daniel perhaps knows more.

    This he knows, and wonders at (and so do we) – the courtesy and attentiveness with which they read his heart, posing the difficulty which lies heavy and unspoken on him: “How long?” And then the response, but so opaque! The angel shakes his head – the first of the smiling angels, one ventures: “These words are to be kept secret and sealed until the end time.”

    Let us then suppose that Daniel the seeker bows out, declines to pursue the meaning of that strange time frame, “a year, two years, a half year.” In his mind a conclusion is reached. It has a sound; the abrupt shutting of a door; or the final closing of a book. Thus: God is the Impenetrable One. The mystery of evil and the suffering of the innocent are a territory “upstream”; there the weather is befogged. And more: the terrain is off bounds, forbidden. One alone is entitled to walk there, to stand there.

    We linger, one hopes not overlong, over this episode. It is so painful – a full measure of the pain of life itself. And yet, and yet. One factor is to be taken in account: the response of God (the non‑response, hermetic, evasive as it seems) has shifted the status of the question. And, one thinks, deliberately. Something is implied; some light offered. An aspect Daniel had forgotten or neglected to probe is in some measure illumined. Perhaps in frustration or numbness of spirit, the point had not occurred to him. Perhaps he turned away from an implication that could spell further trouble.

    There is a concurrence (though a different emphasis) in the answer offered the martyrs of Revelation 9–11, and the response to Daniel. In the former, the stress and angst of the question (time unrequited, justice delayed) are relieved somewhat. In this way: there is a “completion” to be attained of “the number of their fellow servants…. to be killed as they had been.” Which is to say, short of justice for all, there is simply no justice. And God knows it, takes it in account.

    We have the famous “time, times, and half a time” (echoed in Dan. 7:25 and 8:14; also in Rev. 11:2; 12:14; 13:5). Hidden in this drumbeat of repetition is a reassurance of sorts. The time of travail is delimited, strictly contained. But still, the atrocious times roll on, interminably it seems, to our own hour. Evil, like a ravening dog, will have its day. Every day. All days.

    So Daniel and his question (and the angel who speaks for him) are set down with a slight thump. With no more light than we children of equally dark times can claim.

    “How long to the end?” Daniel is granted a non-response and is sent once more on his way (Dan. 12:9, 13). Not greatly enlightened – only slightly so. Not greatly strengthened –perplexity still aches in his bones. Unsatisfied, he tries once more. And is granted nothing more.

    There is in effect no more to be said. It is simply implied that he has sufficient light to walk by. (And sufficient darkness, that he might tread the world with forethought and care.) In a strange, intermittent light‑cum‑darkness, timor-ous step by step, Daniel is to go – and go on. It is called faith. And in God’s time he will be known the faithful one.

    Contributed By DanielBerrigan Daniel Berrigan

    A renowned poet, priest, and peace activist, Daniel Berrigan has been called “the conscience of a generation” for galvanizing opposition to war and nuclear armaments.

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