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

Devotion for Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard

Ash Wednesday

An Invitation to Prayer

Let us begin the season of Lent
and commit ourselves to spiritual struggle.
—Let us master our appetites
and strengthen our virtues.

Psalm 50/51:3-7

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy;
in accord with the fullness of your compassion, wipe out my offence.
Wash me thoroughly from my fault and cleanse me from my sin,
because I know my fault, and my sin is ever before me.

Against you alone have I sinned, and did what was evil before you,
so you will be justified in your pronouncements,
and vindicated when you judge.
Look! I was conceived a sinner,
guilty when my mother bore me.

A reading adapted from Basil’s Preface to The Long Rules

Since, by God’s grace, we have come together in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ—we who have set before ourselves one and the same goal, a devout life—and since you have clearly shown your eagerness to hear something of the matters that pertain to salvation, I, for my part, am obligated to explain God’s warrants. Let us also pray together that we might share with our colleagues “sustenance for them in due time,” when you, for your part, have received the word and, like fertile soil, produced in turn the fruit of perfect and abundant justice (Cf. Luke 12:42). I beg you, by the love of our Lord Jesus Christ who gave himself for our sins, let us apply our minds to the affairs of our souls and regret the foolishness in our past. Let us, for the sake of the rewards to come, engage in combat for the glory of God and of his Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. Let us not remain in our present condition of indifference and negligence, putting off the beginning of this work.

A Prayer

O God, who has chosen us to be an Order of Knights under the blessed protection of Saint Lazarus, grant that we—in full devotion to You, and abounding in neighborly charity—may show ourselves invincible against the enemies of the Cross, remaining faithful unto death. And may these drills and exercises of the Lenten season reinvigorate us and rouse us to accomplish this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.