Theresa Doyle-Nelson enjoys researching and writing about holy people from the Bible. She has written for a variety of Catholic resources and is the author of Saints in Scripture. Theresa and her husband Chad have been married for over 30 years, and although their nest is now empty, their three adult sons have growing families — providing enjoyable opportunities for growing gatherings and grandchildren graces! Theresa and Chad are parishioners at the beautiful and historic St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Bandera, Texas. You can find Theresa’s blog, “The Hill Country Hermit” at TheresaDoyle-Nelson.blogspot.com.
I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. ―Ezekiel 36:26a
It was 597 B.C. when Ezekiel and thousands of other citizens of Judah were taken over by the Babylonians and forced into exile. Ezekiel had been living as a captive in Babylon for five years with his countrymen when he began to receive some astonishing visions.
The first vision revealed four sparkling winged creatures with the Lord, who was gloriously sitting on a throne above. These four extraordinary beasts had the faces of a man, lion, ox and eagle―appearances that parallel the four creatures found in the fourth chapter of Revelation. Intriguingly, these beings have become known as symbols of the four Gospel writers: the man stands for Matthew, the lion indicates Mark, the ox signifies Luke, and the eagle represents John. It was during the course of this winged-creature apparition that God called Ezekiel to prophetic service―to help guide and counsel the lost Judahites through their long exile.
Many of Ezekiel’s prophecies were astoundingly dramatic and intense, full of mystifying details and concepts challenging to comprehend. Initially, the exiles were unbelieving of Ezekiel’s messages; however, when his prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem came true, they began to listen to the out-of-the-ordinary prophet.
After warning and preparing the exiles about Jerusalem’s demise, Ezekiel’s messages shifted toward communications filled with hope for an Israelite nation to be restored and renewed―a similar tone found in Jeremiah’s oracles. His vision of the “dry bones” is a compelling image—where Ezekiel saw a field full of flesh-less, parched bones. The Lord showed the prophet how divine power could bring the bones back together, forming them into renewed bodies once again full of life and spirit.
This vision symbolized how God could and would restore the Israelite nation in a similar manner, even though things felt hopeless and overwhelming to the people in exile. Ezekiel’s communications with God and his powerful ability to share the information encouraged the lost people to turn their hearts to God and gave them the hope they needed to endure their difficult deportation.
A Novena of Days with St. Ezekiel
The feast of St. Ezekiel is July 23. His dramatic visions and prophecies might appeal to actors! And, his message of hope for renewed hearts might call out to people who are feeling discouraged. Because St. Ezekiel’s prophecies took place while the Jewish people were exiled, those who are displaced or away from home for one reason or another might feel a connection to this Old Testament saint. Please find below nine days of Bible passages to read, study, explore, and journal about as a way to connect better with St. Ezekiel.
- Day 1) Ezekiel 1:3–10
- Day 2) Revelation 4:7
- Day 3) Ezekiel 1:26–28
- Day 4) Ezekiel 9:4–6
- Day 5) Revelation 7:3
- Day 6) Ezekiel 11:17–20
- Day 7) Ezekiel 33:11
- Day 8) Ezekiel 36:25–28
- Day 9) Ezekiel 37:1–14