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Daily Devotion for June 7, 2012
Saint Francis in Ecstasy by Caravaggio, c. 1600
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh God the King eternal, who divides the day from the darkness, and has turned the shadow of death into the light of morning; I pray that this day you will incline my heart to keep your commandments, driving temptation from my mind. Guide my feet into the way of peace; that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, I may, when the night comes, rejoice in giving you thanks for a day lived in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for Freedom from Fear
O Lord, I beseech you to deliver me, and all of your children, from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement; from fear of loneliness; from fear of sickness and pain; from fear of age; from fear of death. Help us, O Father, by your grace to love and fear only you, and fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in you; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
Prayer for Unknown Needs
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on my weakness, and mercifully give me those things which for my unworthiness I dare not, and for my blindness I cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, Jesus Christ.
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.
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all.
~ First verse of Hope by Emily Dickinson
1 John 2:15-17 (ESV)
Do Not Love the World
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life — is not from the Father but is from the world.
And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Notes on the Scripture
In Matthew 6:19, Christ told us not to lay up our treasures on earth, where moths corrupt and thieves may steal, but to lay up our treasures in heaven, instead. Today, John takes a slightly different angle in presenting the same truth.
He names three types of "things of the world". The first could be called appetites. We eat and we may enjoy it; we may enjoy our intimate life with our husband or wife; we enjoy resting when we are tired. And these are good, gifts of God for us to use in their place, for it is how the world He created runs.
But we cannot love them, in the sense of making them our goal, giving them great importance in our lives, for they will lead us into death. Food and drink are the means to sustain life, not the reason to live. We must eat to live, but we should not live to eat. We may look forward to our dinner, time alone with our spouse, our leisure time; but if we make them the center of our lives, there will be no room for God.
The second is consumerism, the desire of the eyes. Our clothes, our furniture, our cars — these are just stuff. We need stuff to live, but we don't need to love it, because it will always disappoint us. Atheists decry the existence of God, but the real illusion is that shiny new car we crave but don't need, or that expensive new dress or jacket.
These are guaranteed to be utterly gone and forgotten in the wink of an eye; in 30 or 60 years that shiny new car will be a pile of rusted metal; fashionable clothing will sit in our closet, be given away, become house rags and, soon enough, dissolve into the dust whence it came.
And our pride! It can consume us. Politicians sell their soul to be a senator or legislator; but they are soon enough forgotten by the earth, sometimes in five years, sometimes in five thousand. And they will die, and what profit will there be in it?
We have a gift that will never perish and will never turn to dust, for love of God leads us to something eternal. That is the promise of Christ and Christianity, and we must decide every day whether we believe it or not. For if we truly believe we will have eternal life and joy, the baubles of this world will appear as they really are: pretty, meaningless baubles, that will long be gone when God's elect have found true and timeless happiness.