This Daily Devotion is to help our members and others reflect on the understanding of Christian service to our Lord.
Devotion for Sunday, December 26, 2021
The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard
Friday before Ash Wednesday
An Invitation to Prayer
The Lord is our help and our protection.
He has rescued us.
—He is our God, let us glorify him!
The God of our ancestors, let us exalt him!
The Canticle of Jonah 2:3-7a
I roared to the Lord my God in my distress,
and he listened to me—
from the belly of hell I screamed,
and you heard my voice.
You tossed me into the deep,
into the heart of the sea,
and the flood swallowed me.
All your billows and breakers submerged me.
And I said, I am driven away,
out of your sight.
Will I ever gaze again
on your Holy Temple?
The waters closed in to drown me,
the deep engulfed me.
The seaweed entwined around my head
and I sank to the base of the mountains.
I went down into the earth,
whose bars slammed shut behind me forever.
From Basil’s Letter #46, to a fallen nun
You might indeed find many remedies for evil in Scripture, many medicines to forestall death and promote health: the mysteries of death and resurrection, the sentences of terrible judgment and everlasting punishment; the doctrines of repentance and of remission of sins; all the countless illustrations of conversion, the lost coin and sheep, the son who wasted his inheritance on prostitutes, who was lost and then found, who was dead and then alive again. Let us not use these remedies foolishly, but let us heal our soul by means of them. Think of your last day. Surely, like all other people, you will not live forever? The distress, the gasping for breath and then the hour of death itself, followed by the imminent sentence of God, angels hurrying on their way, the soul terribly frightened, and prodded to agony by the consciousness of sin,… Picture for me, as it rises in your imagination, the conclusion of all human life, when the Son of God shall come in His glory with His angels. For he shall come and shall not keep silent, as when he shall come to judge the living and the dead and to repay all on the merit of their work, when that terrible trumpet with its mighty voice shall wake those that have slept through the ages, and those that have done good shall come forth to the resurrection of life, and those that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation.
If a truly effective person begins with the end in view, O God, may your Holy Spirit constantly murmur in my heart that a time will come when I will see my life for what it truly is, and not what I imagine it is. By that holy reminder may I be motivated to live in a way that not only pleases you, but obtains for me the reward promised to a good servant. Amen.