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

Devotion for Friday, April 23, 2021

The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard

An Invitation to Prayer

You revealed the tree of the cross to be the tree of life,
and through it you abolished the tyranny of death.
—You have given life to those who had been dead in sin,
and proved yourself the unique friend of all people.

Psalm 80/81:9-17

Listen, my people, and I will speak to you;
and I will instruct you, Israel, if you listen to me.
There shall be no new god among you,
and you shall not worship any foreign god.
For I am the Lord you God
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

But my people would not listen to my voice,
and Israel paid no attention to me.
So I let them go after their hearts’ desires,
chasing their own wishes.

If my people had listened to me,
if Israel had followed my ways,
I would have humbled their enemies in no time,
and I would have brought my hand down on those who afflicted them.

The Lord’s enemies who played him false
would face an eternal retribution,
(but Israel) would be fed with the fat of wheat,
and satisfied with honey from the rock.

From Basil’s Long Rules, Question 17, cont.

Let us not get fooled by the different senses of the word “laughter.” Many references to laughter in the Scriptures refer to joy of soul rather than to hilarity. Even so, sometimes even acts that are necessary and permissible should be foregone when that abstinence is dictated by our concern for our neighbor, such as when Paul says, “If my eating meat will cause my brother to sin, I will not eat it.” Self-control, then, eradicates sin, calms the emotions, and disciplines the body even with regard to its natural likes and desires. It marks the beginning of the spiritual life, leads us to eternal blessings, and extinguishes within itself the desire for pleasure. Pleasure is evil’s special allurement for which people are most likely to commit sin. It is bait that snags the soul as though on a hook.

A Prayer

You fell asleep in the flesh as any mortal man, O Lord Jesus, but rose again on the third day, raising Adam from his corruption as you did so, and making death ultimately powerless. You are the Unblemished Paschal Lamb; you are the salvation of the world! Make this, our Exodus in and from this world, a journey to Paradise. Amen!