Daily Devotion for July 30 – August 5
Commentary on the Lord’s Prayer
The Tradition of the Church usually interprets the “bread” as not only material bread, since “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”(Mt 4:4; Deut 8:3). Here Jesus wants us to ask God for “what we need each day for soul and body…. For our soul we ask God to sustain our spiritual life, that is, we beg him to give us his grace, of which we are continually in need. . . . The life of our soul is sustained mainly by the divine word and by the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. . . . For our bodies we pray for what is needed to maintain us” (Catechism of Christian Doctrine, 302.305).
Christian doctrine stresses two ideas in this petition of the Our Father: the first is trust in divine Providence, which frees us from excessive desire to accumulate possessions to insure us against the future (cf. Lk 12:16-2 1); the other idea is that we should take a brotherly interest in other people’s needs, thereby moderating our selfish tendencies.
4 “So rigorously does God exact from us forgetfulness of injuries and mutual affection and love, that he rejects and despises the gifts and sacrifices of those who are not reconciled to one another” (Catechism of the Council of Trent, IV, 14, 16).
Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace good will among men.
“And lead us not into temptation”: it is not a sin to feel temptation but to consent to temptation. It is also a sin to put oneself voluntarily into a situation which can easily lead one to sin. God allows us to be tempted, in order to test our fidelity, to exercise us in virtue and to increase our merits with the help of grace. In this petition we ask the Lord to give us his grace not to be overcome when put to the test, or to free us from temptation if we cannot cope with it.
5-10 One of the essential features of prayer is trusting perseverance. By this simple example and others like it (cf. Lk 18:1-7) our Lord encourages us not to desist in asking God to hear us. “Persevere in prayer. Persevere even when your efforts seem barren. Prayer is always fruitful” (J. Escrivá, The Way, 101).
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
5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.
9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for [e]bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
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
Our Lord uses the example of human parenthood as a comparison to stress again the wonderful fact that God is our Father, for God’s fatherhood is the source of parenthood in heaven and on earth (cf. Eph 3:15). “The God of our faith is riot a distant being who contemplates indifferently the fate of men — their desires, their struggles, their sufferings. He is a Father who loves his children so much that he sends the Word, the Second Person of the most Blessed Trinity, so that by taking on the nature of man he may die to redeem us. He is the loving Father who now leads us gently to himself, through the action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts” (J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 84).
13 The Holy Spirit is God’s best gift to us, the great promise Christ gives his disciples (cf. Jn 5:26), the divine fire which descends on the Apostles at Pentecost, filling them with fortitude and freedom to proclaim Christ’s message (cf. Acts 2). “The profound reality which we see in the texts of holy Scripture is not a remembrance from the past, from some golden age of the Church which has since been buried in history Despite the weaknesses and the sins of every one of us, it is the reality of today’s Church and the Church in all times. ‘I will pray to the Father,’ our Lord told his disciples, ‘and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever’. Jesus has kept his promise. He has risen from the dead and, in union with the eternal Father, he sends us the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and to give us life” (J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 128).
Glory to Jesus Christ – Glory forever!
And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by [f]Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”
16 Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven. 17 But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. 22 But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his [g]spoils. 23 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
24 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
For as many have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ…Alleluia
Jesus’ enemies remain obstinate despite the evidence of the miracle. Since they cannot deny that he has done something quite extraordinary, they attribute it to the power of the devil, rather than admit that Jesus is the Messiah. Our Lord answers them with a clinching argument: the fact that he expels demons is proof that he has brought the Kingdom of God. The Second Vatican Council reminds us of this truth: “The Lord Jesus inaugurated his Church by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Kingdom of God, promised over the ages in the Scriptures … The miracles of Jesus also demonstrate that the Kingdom has already come on earth: ‘If it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has conic upon you’ (Lk 11:20; cf. Mt 12:28). But principally the Kingdom is revealed in the person of Christ himself, Son of God and Son of man, who came ‘to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mk 10:45)” (Vatican II, Lumen gentium, 5).
Christ is in our midst – He is and always shall be
The strong man well armed [in the previous parable] is the devil (v. 21), who has enslaved man; but Jesus Christ, one stronger than he, has come and has conquered him and is despoiling him. St Paul will say that Christ “disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them” (Col 2:15).
After the victory of Christ, the “stronger one”, the words of v.23 are addressed to mankind at large; even if people do not want to recognize it, Jesus Christ has conquered and from now on no one can adopt an attitude of neutrality towards him: he who is not with him is against him.
24-26 Our Lord shows us that the devil is relentless in his struggle against man; despite man rejecting him with the help of grace, he still lays his traps, still tries to overpower him. Knowing all this, St Peter advises us to be sober and vigilant, because “your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking one out to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith” (1 Pet 5:8-9).
Jesus also forewarns us about the danger of being once more defeated by Satan — which would leave us worse off than we were before. The Latin proverb puts it very well: “corruptio optimi, pessima” (the corruption of the best is the worst). And St Peter, in his inspired text, inveighs against corrupt Christians, whom he compares in a graphic and frightening way to “the dog turning back to his own vomit and the sow being washed and then wallowing in the mire” (cf. 2 Pet 2:22).
Preserve O Lord while waking and guard us while sleeping that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may rest in peace.