Daily Devotional for May 20-26
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.
St. Augustine commentary:
Our Lord, in the form of a servant, could have prayed in silence had He pleased; but He remembered that He had not only to pray, but to teach. For not only His discourse, but His prayer also, was for His disciples’ edification, yea and for ours who read the same. Father, the hour is come, shews that all time, and every thing that He did or suffered to be done, was at His disposing, Who is not subject to time. Not that we must suppose that this hour came by any fatal necessity, but rather by God’s ordering. Away with the notion, that the stars could doom to death the Creator of the stars.
*Readings continue from St. Nikolai’s Prologue
As long as you are on earth, consider yourself a guest in the household of Christ. If you are at table, it is He who honors you. If you breathe air, it is His air you breathe. If you bathe, it is in His water you bathe. If you travel, it is over His land that you travel. If you amass goods, it is His goods you amass. If you squander them, it is His goods that you squander. If you are powerful, it is because He allows you to be strong. If you are in the company of men, you and the others are His guests. If you are out in nature, you are in His garden. If you are alone, He is present. If you set out somewhere, He sees you. If you do anything, He remembers it. He is the most considerate Householder Who ever hosted you. Be considerate then toward Him. In a good household, the guest is required to behave. These are all simple words, but they convey to you a great truth. All the saints knew this truth, and they governed their lives by it. That is why the Eternal Householder rewarded them with eternal life in heaven and with glory on earth.
Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant (Galatians 4: 1).
As long as the heir apparent is in the cradle, what would make him better than the son of a slave? His body is not better, nor are his thoughts more elevated, nor are his wishes or desires more pure. Such is the son of a king, the son of a slave and the son of a beggar. For a few years the son of the king does not differ from the son of the slave. However, at some point the king’s son reaches maturity and, fully conscious of his dignity, receives authority over the kingdom. Likewise the slave’s son reaches maturity and, with full consciousness, succumbs to the yoke of slavery. Then the enormous difference is seen. Then it is clearly manifest that the heir and the slave are not equal. The slave must serve, and the king must rule. The apostle means to say that it is the same with Christians and with those who are not Christians. The non-Christian is a slave to nature, but the Christian rules over nature. The pre-Christian era of the history of mankind shows us how man was a slave to the elements of nature, to the flesh, to idols, and to creatures. The Christian era of the history of mankind shows us how man was master and owner, a nobleman of a royal race, and heir to all. (Continued tomorrow)
Even those who knew about the One True God, as did the Israelites, did not stand before God like children or as heirs before their Father, but were as slaves and servants before their Lord and Judge. But when the fullness of time was come (Galatians 4: 4), the Only-Begotten Son of God came to earth. He made it possible that we might receive the adoption of sons (Galatians 4: 5), and by the Spirit of God to address God: Abba, Father! (Galatians 4: 6). Brethren, why did Christ come to earth? He did so to make us better than slaves and to give us the right of sonship and the duty of the master. The right of sonship is such that in the name of Christ we can call God “Father.” The duty of the master is to rule over ourselves, our flesh, our thoughts, our desires, and all of nature around us. O Only-begotten Son of God, by Thy mercy and sacrifice we have received the adoption of sons. Oh, help us that with Thine aid we may persevere to the end in purity and in truth.
A thick rope is made from thin, fibrous strands of hemp. One thin fiber cannot bind you nor can it strangle you. For you will easily, as in jest, break it and free yourself from it. However, if you are tied with a thick rope, you will be held bound and even strangled by it. You can neither easily break it nor free yourself from it. As a thick rope consists of thin and weak fibers, so men’s passions consist of small, initial sins. Man can break off and turn away from the beginnings of small, initial sins. But when sin after sin is repeated, the weave becomes stronger and stronger, until in the end a passion is created, which then turns man into some kind of monster, as only it knows how. You cannot easily cut it off or distance yourself from it, nor can you divorce yourself from it. Oh, if only men would beware and uproot the beginnings of sins! Then, they would not have to endure much in freeing themselves from passions.
It is most difficult for a general to wage war when he has an enemy within the camp— not only external enemies but also internal enemies in his own ranks. Judas was considered among his own. However, he was the enemy from within. Rows of enemies crowded and closed ranks around Christ while Judas was preparing betrayal from within. His hand was on the table that Christ blessed, but his thoughts were aligned with the enemies, where the darkest evil, hatred and malice seethed against the gentle Lord. Is it not also the same today, that the hands of the many betrayers of Christ are at the table with Him? Which table is not Christ’s? What table does not hold His gifts? He is the Householder and He nourishes and feeds His guests. The guests have nothing of their own, nothing! All good and all abundance which is given to them is given by the hand of Christ. Therefore, is not Christ present at every table as a Householder and as a Servant? Therefore, are not the hands of all who betray Christ today at the table with Him? They eat His bread, and they speak against Him. They warm themselves by His sun, and they slander His name. (Continued tomorrow)
They breathe His air, and they rise up against His Church. They live by His mercy, and they banish Him from their homes, their schools, their courts, their books and their hearts. They willfully and maliciously trample His commandments and ridicule His law. Are they not the betrayers of Christ and the followers of Judas? Do not be afraid of them! God did not command us to be afraid of them, but to wait to see their end. Our Lord was not afraid of Judas nor is He afraid of all the traitorous hordes to the end of time. He knows their end, and He already has His victory in His hands. Therefore, neither should you be afraid. Adhere faithfully to Christ the Lord, not only when it appears that His work is succeeding and advancing in the world but also when it appears that His work is failing and perishing. Do not be afraid! If you become frightened, perhaps your hand will be found clenched beneath Judas’s hand at the table of Christ.