This Daily Devotion is to help our members and others reflect on the understanding of Christian service to our Lord.
Devotion for Thursday, February 25, 2021
The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard
An Invitation to Prayer
Sound the trumpet in Zion
and dedicate a fast.
—Spare your people, O Lord,
and do not let us fall to the foe. (Cf. Joel 12:15 & 17)
I am like a lonely woodpecker,
I have become like a screech owl in the ruins of a house.
Sleepless, I have become like a lonely sparrow on a rooftop.
All day long my enemies criticize me,
and those who used to admire me now swear at me.
Because of your anger and your rage
I have eaten ashes for bread
and mixed my drink with my tears
for you lifted me up just to throw me down.
My days slip away like a shadow,
and I wither like grass.
But you will endure forever, O Lord,
to be remembered generation after generation.
A reading adapted from Basil’s Preface to the Long Rules
How can I be worthy of the company of Job when I find it hard to accept with gratitude an ordinary mishap? How can I, who lack any generosity toward my enemy, stand in the presence of David? Or of Daniel, if I do not seek God continually in earnest supplication and self-denial? Or of any of the saints, if I have not followed in their footsteps? What judge at a contest is so dense as to think that the winner and someone who has not participated are both equally deserving of the laurels? What general has ever invited someone who did not even take part in the battle to an equal share of combat pay with the victors? God is good, but he is also fair, and it is the nature of the fair to reward in proportion to merit. Remember the psalm (124:4 & 5), “Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, to the upright of heart. But as for those who deviate into crooked ways, the Lord will drive them out with those who do evil.” He is merciful, but he is also a judge. “The Lord loves mercy and judgment,” the psalm says (32.:5).
Lord Jesus, it may prove too easy simply to open our resources and give a little something for charity. May your Holy Spirit make us even more aware that a certain attitude must accompany the deed, or else it is not truly a good deed. Let us match our alms with our prayers, especially for those who have no one to pray for them. And let us be ready to give an encouraging word to those who suffer, and to uphold their dignity when we are privileged to aid them. Amen.