This Daily Devotion is to help our members and others reflect on the understanding of Christian service to our Lord.
Devotion for Thursday, December 29, 2022
The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard
Monday before Ash Wednesday
An Invitation to Prayer
Today, if we hear his voice,
let us not harden our hearts. [Cf. Ps 94/95:8]
—Let us answer the invitation to Lent.
Do not disgrace me, O Lord, in your indignation;
do not discipline me in your anger.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, because I am weak.
Make me well, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
My soul is deeply troubled—
but you, O Lord, how long?
Come back, O Lord, and rescue my soul;
save me for the sake of your mercy,
for no one mentions you among the dead,
and who will proclaim you in the Underworld?
A reading adapted from Basil’s Homily on Detachment
Our enemy hides in the shadows of worldly delights, which are usually very well suited to hiding the thief and concealing the ambush on the road of life. And so he secretly sets in us the traps to destroy us without our ever realizing it. So, if we wish to travel the road of this life safely to the end, and to present to Christ a soul and body free of disgraceful wounds and to receive the crown of victory, we must keep the eye of our soul always on the lookout in every direction. We must be cautious of all things pleasurable and not become obsessed by any of them. For beneath all fabulous delights our common enemy lurks, waiting to see if—enticed by what we see—we turn from the path of righteousness and fall into his trap. We must be especially circumspect so that we do not begin to pursue these pleasures and think our enjoyment of them is always safe, so that we indiscriminately swallow the fishhook of deceit hidden in the first taste, and then—from this first taste—look to enjoy more, and little by little become addicted to them so that they finally drag us into the thief’s den.
Almighty God, Lord of Heavenly Armies, the armor of temperance is the glory of the angels and our confidence in approaching you. By his temperance Moses saw you in invisible revelations. Grant me a healthy self-control, as befits someone who has enlisted in your army, so that I might put up a good fight, finish the course, and receive the ineffable delights of Paradise. Amen.