This Daily Devotion is to help our members and others reflect on the understanding of Christian service to our Lord.
Devotion for Saturday, April 17, 2021
The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard
An Invitation to Prayer
Even though God’s Son,
Christ learned obedience from what he suffered.
— And as high priest, like Melchizedek of old,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all. [Heb 5:8-10]
Sing a new song to the Lord,
for the Lord has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm
have achieved salvation for him.
The Lord has made known his salvation,
he has revealed his justice before the nations.
He has remembered his mercy for Jacob,
and his truth for the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Cheer for the Lord, all the earth,
sing and rejoice and make music.
Raise a song to the Lord on the harp—
with a harp and the words of a song.
With trumpets of brass and trumpets of horn
raise a joyful blast before the king, the Lord.
Let the sea move, and all that fills it—
the world, and all who live on it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
and let the mountains rejoice,
because he comes to judge the earth—
to judge the world fairly,
and the people with truth.
From Basil’s Long Rules, Question 8, cont.
This, then, is renunciation as we define it: the severing of attachment to this transient and material life and liberation from human concerns by which we render ourselves fit to set out on the road leading to God. It is an unhindered impulse toward the possession and enjoyment of inestimable goods, “to be desired more than gold and precious gems.” In short, renunciation is the reordering of the human heart to a heavenly way of life, so that we can say, “Our citizenship is in heaven.” And this is the main point, renunciation is the first step to becoming like Christ who—being rich—became poor for our sake. Unless we can be like him in this respect, how can we expect to develop a way of life in accord with the Gospel? How can we obtain contrition of heart or humility of mind or deliverance from anger, pain, anxiety—in a word, from all the destructive impulses of the soul—if we are entangled in the riches and cares of a secular life and cling to others for their company and affection? To put it succinctly, by what logic can someone who is not supposed to worry about the necessities of food and clothing then get entangled in the evil concerns of wealth, as though by thorns, which the Lord identified when he said, “the seed which fell among thorns are those who are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life and produce no fruit.” [Luke 12:33]
How daunting, how threatening, is your call to a simple and poor way of life. How like that rich young man am I when I read your words calling for such radical dispossession. Let me inch my way toward a spirit of detachment, O Lord; let me do at least something in this regard, and then—in your mercy—accept my trifle as better than nothing, and smile upon it as a good and understanding friend. Amen.