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Daily Devotion for May 9, 2016


Saint (King) Wenceslas and his grandmother, stained glass for the Cathedral of St. Vitus, Prague, by the famed Czech art nouveau master, Alphonse Mucha, ca. 1931.
Saint (King) Wenceslas and his grandmother, as depicted in stained glass by the famed Czech art nouveau master, Alphonse Mucha. (Cathedral of St. Vitus, Prague, ca. 1931.)

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord's Prayer

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.

Amen.




Prayer to Live this Day with God

Dear Lord, I thank you for this day. I thank you that I can see or hear your Word this morning. Let me give thanks all day for what I have, especially your eternal love, and forgive me this day when I go astray, by my thoughts or actions; my only aim is to please you, to know and do your will. Guide my every step.

Help me to live this day with wisdom and discretion so that I may not fall short of your glory. Protect me from danger, both in the world and in my attitude. Give me the gift of a clear mind, that I might hear the quiet voice of your Spirit. Help to massage away resentments and blame for things gone by, that would eat my energy and poison my mind; but instead, help me to look to the moment, to what I can do, to work for the future. And let me never become frustrated where I lack control of events, for you are in charge, not me; and I put my entire faith in your power, your knowledge, your plan for humanity.

Your are my leader and my coach, Lord. I am on your team. Help me to keep this in mind for just today, in Christ's name I pray,

Amen.

Prayer of Penitence

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy.

Amen.

Meditation

[How does my eye “offend” me?]


Community of Prayer

I  pray to you, dearest Jesus, for all the graces I need to know you, to love you and serve you faithfully unto death, and to save my soul. Give me a tender and fervent devotion to your sacred passion by which I was redeemed, venerating you each day in prayer, and teach me how to unite sorrows and sufferings of my life with your own.

Amen.


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.



endless knot

Rebuilding

I’ll build an altar with the rubble that You’ve found me in . . . .

~ Christ Lagerberg, Heal the Wound


Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 5:29-30 (KJV)

Sermon on the Mount - Your Right Eye

And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.


Notes on the Scripture

We have used the King James translation today, because it has such a nice poetic impact; but the passage is impossible to translate with perfect accuracy, because there is no graceful English verb corresponding to the Greek word (skandalon) translated as “offend”. What the original means is to trigger a trap or snare. If you've ever used an old-fashioned mousetrap, it's the little metal plate where you put the cheese or peanut butter; the mouse eats the cheese, pushes the little plate, and triggers the deadly spring-loaded trap. So that innocent-looking and attractive trigger — yummy, cheese! — hides a deadly result.

T

his comes right after the admonition not to lust for an inappropriate woman, and that is the lead-in for talking about the eye as the trigger for a trap. We only sin when something looks good to us; we seek immediate gratification of some urge. But there are things we can have and things we can't have, no matter how inflamed our desire for them might be; they are the bait on a trap that will kill us.

No sane person takes Christ literally here; this is not a call to righteousness through self-mutilation. (There actually used to be a small sect in Russia called the “Skoptsy”, in the 1800s, that practiced self-castration to avoid lust.) Adam and Eve, before the fall, had sexual desire, and eyes, and hands.

In fact, it is the very ridiculousness of the analogy that makes it so powerful. There are two purposes to the Sermon on the Mount. The first is to extend the law into a new, broader morality of the heart and mind, to lead us away from thinking that external compliance with a specific set of rules will save our souls. The second is to demonstrate that perfect compliance with this morality cannot be accomplished, for we are born into sin.

It is this second theme that Jesus so vividly expounds with the example of plucking out the offending eye. Our eyes and hands are not only part of us, but important parts, vital for survival; this was even more true in the unforgiving society of the Roman Empire than in the kinder society of today. The point is that we cannot live in perfect righteousness before God. Christ is illustrating our dilemma — not to make us feel bad, but because He is going to show us a way out of it.



<i>Matthew the Apostle</i>, Russian Orthodox Icon ca. 1800.
Matthew the Apostle, Russian Orthodox Icon ca. 1800. Notice, he is depicted holding a book.

Daily Inspiration

“The Fulfillment of the Law”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Matthew 5:17: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.



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