Daily Devotional for February 2-8
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is tire minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, ne afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that do-eth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not. only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
**Today is the Feast of the Entry of the Lord in the Temple when He was greeted by Symeon and Anna.
Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace good will among men.
*From the Prologue this week
Abba John the Dwarf asked his monks: “Who sold Joseph?” One monk replied: “His brothers.” To this the elder replied: “Not his brothers, but his humility. Joseph could have said that he was their brother and protested his being sold, but he remained silent. His humility, therefore, sold him. Afterward, this same humility made him master over Egypt.” We defend ourselves too much from the external difficulties that come from surrendering ourselves to the will of God. That is why we lose the good fruits that are harvested at the end of difficulties endured with humility. Abba Poemen wisely said: “We have abandoned the easy yoke, that is, self-reproach; and we have burdened ourselves with a heavy yoke, that is, self-justification.” The Christian accepts every difficulty as payment for present or past sins, seeking in all the will of God with faith and awaiting the end with hope.
Prayer: May the Strength of God guide us. May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us. May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us. May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Angels of God guard us. – Against the snares of the evil one.
Prayer for the Faithful of St. Patrick Part 1
In truth, brethren, they will all be put to shame who do not see beyond wood and stone and who, in their ignorance, say that man is composed entirely of vegetable and mineral matter and that he shares the same fate as plants and minerals. With their backs turned to the Creator, they are unable to see anything other than creation, and they forget the Creator, proclaiming creation the creator. They say that nature created and gave birth to man, and that that is why man is subordinate to nature, lower than nature, the servant in the lap of nature, a slave in the chain of nature, and a dead man in the grave of nature. They who speak thus will be shamed when they fall into misfortune and cry out to God: Rise up and save us! Why do they cry out to God, Rise up, as though God is lying down? God is not lying down, but standing; standing and waiting to be of service to everyone who, with faith and humility, seeks a service from Him. But those who have become enamored with wood and stone while trusting in their own power, have overthrown Him in their lives and excluded Him from their lives. Thus, when they are pressured by difficulties, they cry out to Him: Rise up!
May Christ be with us! May Christ be before us! May Christ be in us, Christ be over all!
May Thy Grace, Lord, Always be ours, This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen.
Prayer for the Faithful of St. Patrick Part 2
But the Lord is meek and rises and comes to the aid of every penitent. Let the sinner truly repent and, casting off his sinful love, return to God in love, and God will help him. Let him turn his back on dead wood and stone and turn his face to the Living God, and God will redeem him. For the Almighty is not vengeful and vindictive, neither did He create man for death, but for life. O brethren, let us seek neither help in the helpless nor life in the lifeless. Let us turn our heads toward our Living Creator, Who gave us a face more radiant than the face of any earthly thing. Let us turn from the western ways to the eastern path, for on this path is salvation. But let us hasten, before our last day on earth has sunk into the darkness of the west.
Glory to Jesus Christ – Glory forever!
A young man inexperienced in spiritual combat underlines his every good work with self-praise. But the experienced soldier in the midst of struggles with the passions and demons disparages his every deed and intensifies his prayer for God’s help. Abba Matoes used to say: “The closer a man is to God, the more sinful he sees himself to be.” He also was known to say: “When I was young, I thought perhaps that I was doing some good; and now when I am old, I see that I do not have one good deed.” Did not our Lord say: There is none good but one, that is, God (Matthew 19:17)? Therefore, if only the One God is good and the source of all good, how can a good deed be done that is not from God? And how can someone who does a good deed ascribe it to himself and not to God? If this is so, then in what can a mortal man be praised? In nothing, except by God and the goodness of God!
For as many have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ…Alleluia
(Jeremiah 3:9). What sort of adultery did the people of Israel and Judah commit with stones and wood? It was the worship of idols of stone and wood. Before this sin, they committed another sin: they turned away from worshiping the True God, the Living God, the One God. Why is their idolatry called adultery? Because they were first bound by love for the True God, the Living God, the One God, but afterward they betrayed this love and gave their hearts to strange idols of stone and wood. That is why the Lord calls their idolatry, adultery. Was this reproach of God deserved only in ancient times and not in our own time, and only by Israel and Judah and not by Christians? Unfortunately, even today many Christians deserve this reproach of God. In whomever love has cooled off for the True God, the Living God, the One God, and a lower love has been enkindled for things of stone and wood, for decaying things and mortal creatures, he commits adultery and brings down upon himself the reproach of God. So, that reproach of God is as appropriate today as it was then, for men sinned then without knowing Christ, and men sin now knowing Christ. O brethren, how long will this dark idolatry be dragged over the earth? How long will the earth reek from the adultery of mankind with their idols of stone and wood, of silver and gold, of flesh and blood? Did not the Almighty Christ crush all the idols into dust and ashes? Why do some now stoop down and again make gods for themselves from that dust? Because of the devil’s lies and their own self-deception.
Christ is in our midst – He is and always shall be
Prayer consisting of words alone does not help if the heart does not participate in prayer. God hears only a fervent prayer. Once Abba Zoilus of the Thebaid was returning from Mount Sinai and met a monk who complained to him that they were suffering greatly from drought in the monastery. Zoilus said to him: “Why don’t you pray and implore God?” The monk replied: “We have prayed and have implored, but there is no rain.” To this Zoilus replied: “It is evident that you are not praying fervently. Do you want to be convinced that this is so?” Having said this, the elder raised his hands to heaven and prayed. Abundant rain fell to the earth. Seeing this, the astonished monk fell to the ground and bowed before the elder, but the elder, fearing the glory of men, quickly fled. The Lord Himself said: Ask, and it shall be given you (Luke 11:9). But a mouth full of prayer is to no purpose if the heart is empty. God does not stand and listen to the mouth but to the heart. Let the heart be filled with prayer, even though the mouth might be silent. God will hear and will receive the prayer. God only listens to a fervent prayer.
Preserve O Lord while waking and guard us while sleeping that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may rest in peace.