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

Devotion for Monday, December 23, 2024

The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite, Msgr. George Appleyard

The Wednesday preceding Ash Wednesday

An Invitation to Prayer

Open the doors to repentance for us
and allow us to worship you, O Lord.
—Teach us how to purify the temple of our body,
    and in your compassion show us mercy.

The Lamentations of Jeremiah, 1:11-15

All her people whine
    as they search for food.
Prized possessions are bartered
    for enough to keep them alive.
“Look, Lord, and remember
    how cheap they make her.”

Look, all you passing by,
and see if there is any suffering
    like my suffering,
with which the Lord has struck me
on the day of his burning rage?

He has sent fire from on high
down into my bones.
He has spread a net for my feet
and brought me down.
He has left me exposed
    and in misery all day.

Now he has gathered the load of my sins,
tied into a bundle by his hands.
and yoked to my neck
    so that it drains my strength.
The Lord put me in the clutches
of those too strong for me.

The Lord snatched my valiant soldiers,
calling for an assault on me
to destroy the flower of my forces.
The Lord has trampled in a winepress
    the virgin Daughter of Judah,
    and I weep.

From Basil’s Commentary on Psalm 6(7):2

A person condemned to death, knowing that there is someone who can save him, who can rescue him, will say: “I put my hope in you, save me” from my powerlessness and deliver me from what holds me captive. I think that the noble athletes of God, who wrestled all their lives with the invisible enemies, after they have escaped all of their persecutions and have come to the end of life, are examined by “the prince of this world.” If they are found to have any wounds from their wrestling, any stains or effects of sin, they are detained. If, however, they are found unwounded and without stain, they are brought by Christ into their rest as unconquered heroes!

A Prayer

If left to my own devices, O Lord, I would have no hope. If you simply granted me a reprieve from my sins, that would be a truly great gift. But your desire to return me to a state of primal innocence is more than I can imagine and dare to hope for. But you have extended your hand to me, as you once did to Peter, so now encourage me to grasp it firmly and not let go. Amen.