God our Father,
who made your servant Leo strong in the defence of the faith:
fill your Church with the spirit of truth
that, guided by humility and governed by love,
she may prevail against the powers of evil;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
King Belshazzar made a great festival for a thousand of his lords, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand.
Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar commanded that they bring in the vessels of gold and silver that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the vessels of gold and silver that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.
Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall of the royal palace, next to the lampstand. The king was watching the hand as it wrote. Then the king’s face turned pale, and his thoughts terrified him. His limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. The king cried aloud to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners; and the king said to the wise men of Babylon, ‘Whoever can read this writing and tell me its interpretation shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around his neck, and rank third in the kingdom.’ Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar became greatly terrified and his face turned pale, and his lords were perplexed.
The queen, when she heard the discussion of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting-hall. The queen said, ‘O king, live for ever! Do not let your thoughts terrify you or your face grow pale. There is a man in your kingdom who is endowed with a spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father he was found to have enlightenment, understanding, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners,because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.’
Happy the one whose transgression is forgiven,
and whose sin is covered.
Happy the one to whom the Lord imputes no guilt,
and in whose spirit there is no guile.
For I held my tongue;
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all the day long.
Your hand was heavy upon me day and night;
my moisture was dried up like the drought in summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and my iniquity I did not hide.
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let all the faithful make their prayers to you
in time of trouble;
in the great water flood, it shall not reach them.
You are a place for me to hide in;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with songs of deliverance.
‘I will instruct you and teach you
in the way that you should go;
I will guide you with my eye.
‘Be not like horse and mule which have no understanding;
whose mouths must be held with bit and bridle,
or else they will not stay near you.’
Great tribulations remain for the wicked,
but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord.
Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord;
shout for joy, all who are true of heart.