Daily Devotional for November 12 – 18
Luke 18:Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor [a]regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, [b]‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will [c]avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”
6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Prayer: O Gentle Light of the holy glory of the immortal, heavenly, holy, blessed Father, O Jesus Christ: Having come to the setting of the sun, having beheld the evening light, we praise the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: God. Meet it is for Thee at all times to be hymned with reverent voices, O Son of God, Giver of life. Wherefore, the world doth glorify Thee.
*Eastern Vesper Hymn
Navarre Commentary on Luke 18/Prayer…
- We must pray first and foremost because we are believers.
“Prayer is in fact the recognition of our limitation and our dependence: we come from God, we belong to God and we return to God! We cannot, therefore, but abandon ourselves to him, our Creator and Lord, with full and complete confidence….
“Prayer, therefore, is first of all an act of intelligence, a feeling of humility and gratitude, an attitude of trust and abandonment to him who gave us life out of love.
“Prayer is a mysterious but real dialogue with God, a dialogue of confidence and love.
“2. We however, are Christians, and therefore we must pray as Christians.
“For the Christian, in fact, prayer acquires a particular characteristic, which completely changes its innermost nature and innermost value. The Christian is a disciple of Jesus; he is one who really believes that Jesus is the Word Incarnate, the Son of God who came among us on this earth.
“As a man, the life of Jesus was a continual prayer, a continual act of worship and love of the Father; and since the maximum expression of prayer is sacrifice, the summit of Jesus’ prayer is the Sacrifice of the Cross, anticipated by the Eucharist at the Last Supper and handed down by Holy Mass [and Divine Liturgy] throughout the centuries.
“Therefore, the Christian knows that his prayer is Jesus; every prayer of his starts from Jesus; it is he who prays in us, with us, for us. All those who believe in God, pray; but the Christian prays in Jesus Christ: Christ is our prayer!
Prayer: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Navarre Commentary on Luke 18/Prayer…
Finally, we must also pray because we are frail and guilty.
“It must be humbly and realistically recognized that we are poor creatures, confused in ideas, tempted by evil, frail and weak, in continual need of inner strength and consolation. Prayer gives the strength for great ideals, to maintain faith, charity, purity and generosity. Prayer gives the courage to emerge from indifference and guilt, if unfortunately one has yielded to temptation and weakness. Prayer gives light to see and consider the events of one’s own life and of history in the salvific perspective of God and eternity. Therefore, do not stop praying! Let not a day pass without your having prayed a little! Prayer is a duty, but it is also a great joy, because it is a dialogue with God through Jesus Christ! Every Sunday, Holy Mass if it is possible for you, sometimes during the week. Every day, morning and evening prayers, and at the most suitable moments!” (John Paul II, Audience for young people)
Prayer: Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: have mercy upon us. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: have mercy upon us. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant us peace.
Navarre Commentary on Luke 18/Prayer…
Jesus combines his teaching about perseverance in prayer with a serious warning about the need to remain firm in the faith: faith and prayer go hand in hand. St Augustine comments, “In order to pray, let us believe; and for our faith not to weaken, let us pray. Faith causes prayer to grow, and when prayer grows our faith is strengthened” (Sermon 115).
Our Lord has promised his Church that it will remain true to its mission until the end of time (cf. Mt 28:20); the Church, therefore, cannot go off the path of the true faith. But not everyone will remain faithful: some will turn their backs on the faith of their own accord. This is the mystery which St Paul describes as “the rebellion” (2 Thess 2:3) and which Jesus Christ announces on other occasions (cf. Mt 24:l2-l3). In this way our Lord warns us, to help us stay watchful and persevere in the faith and in prayer even though people around us fall away.
Prayer: O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victory over their enemies to Orthodox Christians, and protect Thy people with Thy Cross.
Luke 18: Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be [humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Prayer: O my God relying on Thy infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.
*Act of Hope
Navarre commentary on the parable:
Our Lord here rounds off his teaching on prayer; in addition to being persevering and full of faith, prayer must flow from a humble heart, a heart that repents of its sins: Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies (Ps 5 1:19); the Lord, who never despises a contrite and humble heart, resists the proud and gives his grace to the humble (cf. Pet 5:5; Jas 4:6).
The parable presents two opposite types — the Pharisee, who is so meticulous about external fulfilment of the Law; and the tax collector, who in fact is looked on as a public sinner (cf. Lk 19:7). The Pharisee’s prayer is not pleasing to God, because his pride causes him to be self-centred and to despise others. He begins by giving thanks to God, but obviously it is not true gratitude, because he boasts about all the good he has done and he fails to recognize his sins; since he regards himself as righteous, he has no need of pardon, he thinks; and he remains in his sinful state; to him also apply these words spoken by our Lord to a group of
Pharisees on another occasion: “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see’, your guilt remains” On 9:41). The Pharisee went down from the Temple, therefore, unjustified.
Prayer: O my God I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all-good and worthy of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.
*Act of Contrition
Conclusion commentary of the Pharisee and Tax collector: But the tax collector recognizes his personal unworthiness and is sincerely sorry for his sins: he has the necessary dispositions for God to pardon him. His ejaculatory prayer wins God’s forgiveness: “It is not without reason that some have said that prayer justifies; for repentant prayer, suppliant repentance, raising up the soul to God and re-uniting it to his goodness, without doubt obtains pardon in virtue of the holy love which gives it this sacred movement. And therefore we ought all to have very many such ejaculatory prayers, said as an act of loving repentance and with a desire of obtaining reconciliation with God, so that by thus laying our tribulation before our Saviour, we may pour out our souls before and within his pitiful heart, which will receive them with mercy” (St Francis de Sales
Prayer: O my God I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. (Act of Charity)