This Daily Devotion is to help our members and others reflect on the understanding of Christian service to our Lord.
Devotion for Saturday, May 15, 2021
The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard
An Invitation to Prayer
I see His face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
—Are but His voice—and carven by His power
Rocks are His written words.
Moses and Aaron are among his priests,
and Samuel among those who invoke his name.
They invoked the Lord and he heard them.
He spoke to them from a pillar of cloud,
they guarded his declarations
and the ordinances he gave them.
O Lord, our God, you heard them;
you were kindly disposed to them, O God,
although scrutinizing all their practices.
Exalt the Lord our God,
and worship at his holy mountain,
for he is holy.
From Basil’s On The Holy Spirit, chapter 15, #35 cont.
We do not wash ourselves after each defilement, as is the Jewish custom, but we profess one baptism of salvation. For the unique and singular death on behalf of the world—and the single resurrection of the dead—is made present in it, and the bath is its expression. This is why the Lord, the one who grants us life, gave us the covenant of baptism, containing in it images of both life and death. Water is the figure of death, and the Spirit is the pledge of life. So the answer to our question, why the water is associated with the Spirit is clear—there are two purposes in baptism: on one hand, the destruction of the body of sin, so that it may never bear fruit that can kill; and on the other hand, our living in the Spirit, and harvesting the fruit of holiness. The water, receiving the body as though in a grave, is a figure of death, while the Spirit pours in the vital power, reviving our souls from the death of sin and making them like they once were. This, then, is what it means to be born again of water and the Spirit—the dying effected by the water, while life is engendered in us through the Spirit.
Heavenly Father, gill our hearts with the second fruit of your Holy Spirit, joy. Give to me, and all those dear to me and all my colleagues in this Order, the kind of joy that the world cannot give, a joy that is rooted in hope. “For you have made known the way of life to me, and you will fill me with gladness through your presence.”* And may the unbounded delights that this joy provides to me inspire me to be generous as the day of my oblation approaches, a day when I shall have the honor to make a gift to you.
* Psalm 15:11 quoted in Acts 2:28