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

Devotion for Sunday, December 22, 2024

The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard

The Second Tuesday before Ash Wednesday

An Invitation to Prayer

Let us petition the Lord for understanding
and requisition discernment from him;
—so that we may learn to respect the Lord
    and gain a mature knowledge of the Most High. Cf. Prov. 2:3&5

The Lamentations of Jeremiah 1:6-10

Where has all her beauty gone,
this Daughter of Zion?
Her princes were rams,
    starving for pasture!
They shuffle away,
    while their pursuers watch.

Zion relives the days of her suffering
and feels again her rejection.
She remembers all the beautiful things of old—
before her people succumbed to tyrants.
None came to help her.
Her enemies just watched and laughed.

How terribly Jerusalem sinned,
becoming something unclean.
Those that once respected her,
her flatterers, now despise her.
They have seen her nakedness.
She just groans and looks away.

Filth clings to the hem of her dress;
she never thought it would end like this—
no boasting anymore,
with not a one to comfort her.
“O Lord, look at my degradation!
Now my enemy boasts!”

You commanded that pagans
    not enter your hall,
but now she watches them
    invade her Sanctuary
and greedily pillage
    all that she treasures.

From Basil’s Work On the Holy Spirit

This is what it means to be born again of water and Spirit (John 3:5): just as our dying is effected in the water, our living is wrought through the Spirit. In three immersions and in an equal number of invocations, the great mystery of baptism is completed in such a way that the figure of death may be shown symbolically, and that the souls of the baptized may be illumined by the passing on of divine knowledge. If there is any grace in the water, it is not from the nature of water but from the presence of the Spirit’s there.

A Prayer

In the season that will shortly open before us, may we use the time wisely to reconnoiter the terrain of our minds and hearts, so that we might clear out the enemies of our souls and find a new innocence worthy of your soldiers. Amen.