This Daily Devotion is to help our members and others reflect on the understanding of Christian service to our Lord.
Devotion for Saturday, February 20, 2021
The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard
Saturday after Ash Wednesday
An Invitation to Prayer
Let us celebrate the beginning of Lent
with compunction in our hearts
—and pray to the Lord
to accept our prayers like incense.
O Lord, you will open my lips
and my mouth will proclaim your praise.
If you wanted a sacrifice, I would have given it.
You are not elated with holocausts.
My sacrifice to God is a crushed spirit;
God will not overlook a broken and crushed heart.
Do good to Zion, in your good pleasure,
and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then will you delight in a sacrifice of justice,
in offerings and holocausts.
Then they will lay calves upon your altar.
A reading adapted from Basil’s Preface to The Long Rules
Maybe we think we have kept some of the commandments. I would be reluctant to claim that because all of the commandments form an interconnected whole (according to the valid sense of Scripture), so that in breaking one we break them all. We fancy that we will not be punished for the commandments we have violated, but that we will be rewarded for those we have allegedly kept. A person who returns only eight of the ten talents entrusted to him is not considered generous for paying back just most of the investment. The amount skimmed off shows that person to be greedy and unjust. And did I say return? Remember that the individual given just one talent returned just that, but was still condemned for not having gained any interest with it. Whoever honors his father for ten years but then assaults him is not considered—on the whole—a good child. The Lord said, “Go and teach all the nations, teaching them”—not to observe some things and neglect others, but “to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:19-12) Unless all the commandments were necessary, not all the commandments would have been recorded and then all of them ordered to be kept. What benefit is there in being “healthy” when we have even one very serious medical condition?
Almighty God, enable me and all my companions in this Order to see how all things are connected in your marvelous Providence, all humanity and all the lower orders of nature. Make us truly understand that when any of your children are deprived or marginalized, your whole creation suffers. Remind us, by your Holy Spirit, that we are in this word not only for ourselves, but to give back more than we receive from it. Enable us to hear “all creation groaning together and suffering until now” (Rom 8:22), “hoping to be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom. 8:20) Amen.