Daily Devotion for September 22, 2019
From the chapel of the Dominican Sisters of Hope, Newburgh, NY.
Notice that Mary crushes a serpent and an apple beneath her feet.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Our “Virtual Sunday Church” takes us this week to the First Baptist Church of Panama City, Fla. I had never heard this hymn before, but I do love to learn something new!
I'll meet you in the morning by the bright riverside,
When all sorrow has drifted away.
I'll be standing at the portals when the gates open wide,
At the close of life's long weary day.
I'll meet you in the morning with a how do you do
And we'll sit down by the river and when all the rapture is renewed.
You'll know me in the morning by the smile that I wear,
When I meet you in the morning In the city that is built four square.
I will meet you in the morning in the sweet by and by
And exchange the old cross for a crown.
There will be no disappointments and nobody shall die,
In that land when life's sun goeth down.
Music and Lyrics by Albert E. Brumley
Prayer of Ambrose of Milan
O Lord, who has mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of your Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you, to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake.
Prayer of Contrition
Have mercy upon me, O God, after Your great goodness: according to the multitude of Your mercies do away my offences. Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin, for I acknowledge my faults, and my sin is ever before me. By the merits of my Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray,
To Live in Union with Christ
Loving God, I am just beginning to realize how much you love me. Your son, Jesus was humble and obedient. He fulfilled your will for him by becoming human and suffering with us. I ask you for the desire to become more humble so that my own life might also bear witness to you. I want to use the small sufferings I have in this world to give you glory.
Please, Lord, guide my mind with your truth. Strengthen my life by the example of Jesus. Help me to be with Jesus in this week as he demonstrates again his total love for me. He died so that I would no longer be separated from you. Help me to feel how close you are and to live in union with you.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Philippians 3:8-9 (ESV)
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— . . .
Ecclesiastes 8:6-11 (NKJV)
Crime and Punishment
ecause for every matter there is a time and judgment,
Though the misery of man increases greatly.
For he does not know what will happen;
So who can tell him when it will occur?
No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit,
And no one has power in the day of death.
There is no release from that war,
And wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it.
All this I have seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: There is a time in which one man rules over another to his own hurt.
Then I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of holiness, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done. This also is vanity. Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
Notes on the Scripture
This poetic and philosophical passage from Ecclesiastes, the great book of wisdom, treats two similar themes. The first describes the misery that people suffer from not knowing when they will suffer or when they will die. Nobody knows what will befall him, or when. We go to the doctor and find out that we have a disease we didn’t ever expect; a man or woman is walking and is attacked by a criminal. These things happen unexpectedly. And you can’t opt out. There is no “honorable discharge” from the vicissitudes of life.
Some people seek power over others, and even become rulers and leaders, glorious in their day. They might “visit places of holiness,” i.e. make resolutions to follow God, but then relapse into earthly pride; they can die in sin, and nobody remembers their good deeds. It is all “vanity,” a major theme of Ecclesiastes. People slip into evil, because their punishment is slow to come.
Solomon should know; he is speaking from experience.
The point is, that when we do good works, the feeling of satisfaction we get is vanity — personal pride that will soon be gone, forgotten by others, in a year, or a decade, or ten thousand years. And when we do evil, the feeling that we have gotten away with it is similarly temporary. Like the punishment for crime that is so often slow to come, God’s day of judgment is unpredictable. And so we put the inevitable out of our minds, that there will be no consequences. The day of judgment will come, when our faith and steadfastness will bring us the ultimate reward, and the evil we have committed will be judged.
The implicit message is that we must do good works out of love for God, and to His glory, rather than for the temporary pride of doing good; and we must not think our evil acts are forgotten, if no punishment follows them. We will come before Christ at the time of His choosing.