This Daily Devotion is to help our members and others reflect on the understanding of Christian service to our Lord.

Devotion for Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard

The First Sunday in Lent

A Invitation to Prayer

The divine grace of repentance is set out,
bringing salvation to those who taste it.
—It is the reward for struggle and discomfort;
let us hurry to accept it.

Psalm 37/38:1-8

Lord, do not disgrace me in your rage,
do not discipline me in your anger.
For your spears have stuck in me,
and you hand has come down upon me.

The is no health in my flesh in the face of your anger;
there is no peace in my bones in the face of my sins.
For my offences were higher than my head,
like a heavy burden they weigh me down.

My bruises become fetid and putrid
in the face of my foolishness.
I was in pain and completely exhausted,
and went around depressed every day.

For my soul was constricted with ridicule,
and there was no health in my flesh.
I was utterly abused and humiliated,
screaming from the groaning of my heart.

A reading adapted from Basil’s preface to the Long Rules

So someone will say, is it useless to keep some of the commandments since the majority of Christians do not keep them all? In this regard it is good to remember the blessed Peter who, after many good deeds and having received so many blessings but after one lapse, was told, “If I do not wash you, you will have no part with me.” Some might say, “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved,” and so merely invoking the name of the Lord is enough to save a person. But remember what Paul said, “How can they call on one in whom they have not believed?” And, if you believe, listen to what the Lord says. “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father, who is in heaven. To be sure, whenever anyone “does the will of the Lord” but not in the way God wants it—with dispositions of love for God—that zeal means nothing. For Jesus himself said, “They act to be seen by people. So I assure you, they have received their reward.”

A Prayer

May we set ourselves to begin the second week of Lent in joy, O Father, and—by your grace—strive to discipline our appetites, so that calming the outbursts of our mortal nature we may come to enjoy the tranquility of the New Man, come from heaven, Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen!