This Daily Devotion is to help our members and others reflect on the understanding of Christian service to our Lord.
Devotion for Monday, April 23, 2018
The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard
An Invitation to Prayer
You tasted death by your death, O Christ,
and took away the bitterness of death.
—You enable humanity to prevail over it
by annulling the ancient curse by your resurrection.
The Lord himself is our God,
and his judgments extend all over the earth.
He always remembers his covenant,
the proclamation he ordered for a thousand generations,
which he pledged to Abraham,
which he swore to Isaac,
which he established as an ordinance with Jacob,
and as an eternal covenant with Israel, saying,
“I will give you the land of Canaan
as a territory to be your inheritance.”
When they were few, very few
and aliens there, going from nation to nation,
and from one kingdom to another people,
he allowed no one to do them wrong,
and rebuked kings on their behalf, saying
“Touch not my anointed,
do no harm to my prophets.”
From Basil’s Long Rules, Question 19 cont.
Filling the stomach to satiety, burdening it with food, is an act that deserves the Lord’s rebuke, “Woe to you that are full now.” Besides, such over-indulgence renders the body unfit for work, prone to sleepiness, and more susceptible to harm. To be sure, the pleasure of eating should never be the purpose for which we eat. For those who have renounced self-indulgence, our aim should be the sustaining of our life. To become a slave to the pleasures of the table is to make one’s stomach a god.
We should use whatever is estimate will relieve our need with the least trouble. The Lord made this evident on the occasion when he fed the weary multitude to keep them from fainting on the way home. He could have enhanced the miracle in the desert with expensive trimmings, but it was just bread made from barley accompanied by some fish. No mention is made of drink, since the water which nature provides was sufficient for their need. However, in view of Paul’s advice to Timothy, even this beverage should not be drunk if it would prove harmful because of a physical weakness. Nothing known to be harmful should be eaten because it is unreasonable to take food for nourishment which would then make war upon our body from within and keep it from following the rule.
This same principle ought to be our guide in training the mind to shun what is harmful, however alluring it might be.
Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad, for you have shown your powerful arm, Lord Jesus, conquering death by death. You are the first-born of the dead, and you have delivered us from the bottom of the abyss in your great mercy. Amen, alleluia!