This Daily Devotion is to help our members and others reflect on the understanding of Christian service to our Lord.
Devotion for Thursday, April 8, 2021
The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard
An Invitation to Prayer
Jesus is risen from the tomb,
just as he said he would.
—He has given us unending life
and his great mercy.
Your processions have been seen, O God—
the processions of my God and king to the sanctuary.
The princes first, then the musicians,
accompanied by maidens with their tambourines.
“Praise God in the gatherings—
the Lord, you offspring of Israel!”
There is Benjamin, the youngest, enraptured;
the leaders of Judah, their chiefs;
the leaders of Zebulon, the leaders of Naphtali.
Manifest your strength, O God,
and strengthen that which you wrought in us.
Because of your Temple in Jerusalem,
kings shall bring gifts to you.
From Basil’s Long Rules, Question 7, cont.
Apart from this practical consideration, the law of love in Christ precludes a person from being concerned solely with his or her personal interests. As Paul says, “Love does not look out for its own interests.” (I Cor. 13:5) Such self-interest is completely contrary to the rule of love that Christ fulfilled, for he was not looking out for his own benefit but for what might promote the salvation of others. (Cf. I Cor. 10:33) People living a solitary life will not easily perceive their own faults, since they lack someone to gently challenge or admonish them with sympathy. Such admonitions from an enemy often move prudent people to want to correct themselves. But note that the undoing of sin is worked by someone who loves sincerely, for the Bible says, “A loving person will sometimes correct.” (Prov. 13:24) It is very hard to find someone like that when you live as a hermit, and if your earlier life did not afford you such a person. The solitary learns the truth of the proverb, “It is bad to be alone. You fall and there is no one to help you up.” (Eccles. 4:10) Even more than that, the majority of the commandments are more easily discharged by a group of people living together while a solitary individual is in a situation when one commandment is being observed, another is being postponed. For example, while visiting the sick a solitary individual cannot be showing hospitality. Since the solitary has more to do, attention to other matters may lag. As a result, the greatest of the commandments—the one most conducive to salvation—is not observed since the hungry are not fed, nor the naked clothed. Who then would choose this ineffectual and unprofitable life in preference to that which is both fruitful and in synch with the Lord’s command?
Devout women ran in tears to your tomb, O Christ, brining spices to anoint your body. But instead they found themselves adoring you in joy as the living God, and then they ran to announce your mystical Passover to your followers. May we join them in all works of mercy, promote the dignity of our neighbors in this world, and run to announce to all the great news that fills us with such joy. Amen! Alleluia!