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

Devotion for Saturday, December 21, 2024

The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard

The Second Monday before Ash Wednesday

An Invitation to Prayer

Search our minds and hearts, O Lord,
and cleanse us of our sins;
—that we may approach you with a good heart
    and offer praise with all sincerity.

The Lamentations of Jeremiah 1:1-5

All alone she sits now,
once thronged with people
but now a widow.
A celebrity among the nations,
a princess among provinces,
and now their servant!

Bitterly crying in the night,
tear-stained cheeks, all wet.
Of all the lovers she ever took,
there is not one to comfort her.
All her friends deceived her,
and now she hates them all.

Judah is taken for her downfall,
a harsh sentence he serves.
She has lost her place among the nations,
and now she finds no rest.
Her pursuers have caught up with her
in a place with no escape.

Depressing now, the way to Zion.
Not one to come to her feasts,
not one to pass through her gates.
Her priests just groan and wail,
her young women are kidnapped,
and she is nothing but bitterness itself.

Her oppressors are now in charge,
and get rich at her expense
for God has afflicted her
in exchange for her sins.
Her youngsters led off as captives,
while her tormentors watch.

From Basil Letter #18, to Makarios and John

The hard work of the field is nothing new to those who till it. Sailors are not astonished if a storm arises at sea. Sweating in the summer heat is the common experience of the field-hand. And to those who have chosen to live a devout life, the afflictions of this age are to be expected. Each trade requires its proper labor, not chosen arbitrarily but in the hope of enjoying the good things expected from it. In each of these cases, difficulty is made bearable by that which forms the bond and link of all human life, hope. But only those who labor for holiness and truth never have their hopes dashed, for no external thing can destroy their work, for the kingdom of heaven that awaits them is firm and sure.

A Prayer

No matter how brave and determined a soldier may be, O God, if he has not packed his gear and prepared his weapons his mission will be a failure. As we approach the time for battle against the enemies of our souls, provide us with all spiritual weapons and with a determined will to be victorious in the end. Amen.