This Daily Devotion is to help our members and others reflect on the understanding of Christian service to our Lord.
Devotion for Thursday, September 17, 2020
The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard
An Invitation to Prayer from St. Francis’ Canticle
Praised be you, my Lord,
through Sister Moon and the stars.
— In heaven you formed them,
clear and precious and beautiful.
O Lord, I cried to you, listen to me—
and the sound of my petition when I cry out to you—
with my prayer directed to you like incense,
with the lifting of my hands like the evening sacrifice!
Station a guard at my mouth, O Lord,
a barricade at my lips.
Do not incline my heart to evil plans,
concocting excuses for sin
with people engaged in lawlessness.
I will never join in their choices!
Let a good person discipline me,
with mercy correct me;
never let the oil of a sinner touch my head,
for my prayer is against their satisfaction.
Their mighty ones were swallowed at the crag,
but they will hear my words because they proved true.
Like a clod of earth is broken on the ground,
my bones have been scattered at the edge of hell.
O Lord! O Lord, my eyes are turned to you.
I have put my hope in you; do not seek my life.
Keep me from the trap they set for me,
and from the obstructions of those engaged in crime.
Sinners will be snagged in their own net
while I go on by myself.
From Basil’s On the Judgment of God
Now, if good order with its resultant harmony is characteristic of those who embrace a single source of authority and are subject to a single leader, then universal chaos and disorder are a sign that leadership is lacking. By the same token, if we discover among ourselves a lack of cooperation, as I have mentioned, both with regard to one another and with respect to the Lord’s commandments, it must be either an indictment that we have rejected our true king—according to what Scripture says, “The one who is holding it (i.e. rebellion) back needs to be removed first;” (Cf. II Thess. 2:7)—or we have denied him, as the Psalmist says, “The fool says in his heart, there is no God.” As a sort of token or proof of this, these words, “They are corrupt and disgusting in their pursuits.” (Ps. 13:1)
O God, our Father, if I am called upon to lead—whether in my family, my community or in this Order—keep me mindful that a good leader listens carefully to those being guided. You, who made Balaam’s ass speak and warn him of impending danger (Num. 22:28), may choose to reveal something important in the youngest and most inexperienced person simply to teach us not to dismiss anyone out of hand. Let me be ever mindful of your injunction,“See to it that you never look down on any one of the little people. Let me tell you that their angels in heaven are always looking at the face of my Father, the one who is in heaven.” (Matt 18:10) Amen.