This Daily Devotion is to help our members and others reflect on the understanding of Christian service to our Lord.
Devotion for Tuesday, September 14, 2021
The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard
An Invitation to Prayer (from St. Francis’ Canticle) Praised be you, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for your love. —And bear infirmity and tribulation.
How long will you forget me, O Lord? Forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I pile up questions in my soul; pain in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Look, and hear me, O Lord my God!
Put light in my eyes lest I sleep in death,
lest my enemy say, “I’ve prevailed over him!” Those who harass me will celebrate if I stumble.
But I put my hope in your mercy,
and my heart will rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord my benefactor.
and make music to the name of the Lord most high.
From Basil’s On the Judgment of God
When this harmony is missing, there is no bond of peace, nor gentle disposition, rather there is dissension, strife and rivalry. It would be outrageous to call people of that ilk “the body of Christ,” or to claim that they submit to him. Rather, it would be the expression of an honest mind to say openly that their master is the wisdom of the flesh, which exercises a royal sovereignty over them, as St. Paul says so precisely, “you are the servants of the one you agree to be bound to obey.” (Cf. Rom. 6:16) He clearly enumerates the characteristics of this wisdom when he says, “wherever you have envy, contention, and sedition among you, are you not carnal?” (I Cor. 3:3) At the same time he teaches emphatically the horrible result to which these vices lead, and their incompatibility with holiness, in these words, “Complying with the flesh means being at odds with God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor can it.” (Rom. 8:8) And that’s why the Lord said, “No one can be under contract to two masters simultaneously!” (Cf. Matt 6:24, NOTE, the Greek clearly speaks of a contractual agreement for exclusive service in the manner of a slave, and not simply “assistance.”)
You may post me in circumstances I find disagreeable or even painful, and I may be tempted to imagine you have no real regard for me, no affection for me, or that you even want to be rid of me. When I become weak or tired, refresh me by your Holy Spirit, O God, so that I may soldier on. If I am your comrade only in the good times and victories, what would that say of my commitment to you? But if I can stand my ground in the face of pain and suffering, in allegiance to you, then I know you will save me in the end. Then, like Paul, I will boast, “I know the one I have believed.” (II Tim. 1:12) Amen.