This Daily Devotion is to help our members and others reflect on the understanding of Christian service to our Lord.
Devotion for Friday, April 16, 2021
The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard
An Invitation to Prayer
A tree once caused our death,
but now a tree brings life.
—Now decay becomes immortality
and shame becomes glory.
Bring to the Lord, you families of nations,
bring to the Lord glory and honor,
bring to the Lord the glory due his name.
take your sacrifices and enter his courts.
Worship the Lord in his holy court,
let the whole earth quake before him.
Let it be said among the nations, the Lord reigns;
yes, he has settled the world so that it shall not be shaken,
and he will judge the people fairly.
Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad,
let the sea move, and all that fills it.
Let the plains exult, and everything on them,
let the trees of the forest delight at the presence of the Lord,
because he comes—
he comes to judge the world with justice
and the people by his truth.
From Basil’s Long Rules, Question 8, cont.
The Lord said it is not possible to achieve this goal of renunciation if the mind is distracted by a variety of concerns. He said, “No one can serve two masters.” And also, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” And so we should choose to have treasure in heaven alone, so that we may settle our hearts there. He said, “Where you treasure is, there your heart will be.” If we hold on to perishable wealth or keep a reserve of earthly possessions, the mind sinks down into a swamp, the soul becomes blind to the things of God, and indifferent to the beauties of heaven and the good things God promised that are being reserved for us. We cannot gain possession of these things unless a strong and single-minded desire for them impels us to ask for them and lightens the labor needed to obtain them.
How precious is the gift of the cross, how splendid to contemplate. Unlike the tree in Eden there is no mingling of good and evil in this tree. It is completely beautiful, both to look at and to taste. Its fruit brings life, not death; light, not darkness. It does not drive us from Paradise but opens the way for our return. Grant to all of us who have taken the cross, O kind and gracious God, to know it for what it is and never to succumb to the deceptive appearances of its competitors. Amen.