Daily Devotion for March 31, 2017
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 of St. Edmund
O Lord, into your hands and into the hands of your holy angels, this day I entrust my soul, my relatives, my benefactors, my friends and enemies, and all who confess your holy name.
O Lord, by the merits and prayers of your son, Jesus Christ, keep me today from all evil and unruly desires, from all sins and temptations of the devil, from a sudden and unprovided death, and from the pains of hell. Enlighten my heart with the grace of your Holy Spirit. Grant that I may ever be obedient to your commandments. Let me never be separated from you, O God, who lives and reigns forever, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Father in heaven, creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon me and receive my heartfelt gratitude for all that you have done for me and for those I love. Thank you for all the grace and blessings, both spiritual and temporal, you have bestowed upon me, my loved ones, and this community of prayer: Our faith and religious heritage; our food and shelter; our health; the love we have for one another; and the lives of our Lord and friends.
Dear Father, in your infinite generosity, please grant us continued grace and blessings during the coming day. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, your only son, who has saved me from death.
[Being thankful for our religious heritage.]
God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and Spirit of God amidst us, direct our way unto you. Make us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 89:8-10 (NKJV)
O Lord God of hosts,
Who is mighty like You, O Lord?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
You rule the raging of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.
You have broken Rahab in pieces, as one who is slain;
You have scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
Genesis 21:8-14 (ESV)
The Story of Abraham  - Isaac
And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.
But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son.
But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.”
So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
Notes on the Scripture
hroughout history, one finds countless examples of a decision made by some individual, a comparatively small and very personal matter, that profoundly changes the course of the world. One notable example: In 1914, an archduke visiting the Balkans decided to take a detour while riding in his car, enabling a Serbian anarchist to shoot him; and from this event, the world was plunged into the most terrible period of conflict in history, two world wars that devastated Europe and killed hundreds of millions of people.
Abraham, by the hand of God, has had two sons. As ordained by God, his second son (by his wife Sarah) is destined to be the patriarch of a great nation, the Hebrews. But Sarah is jealous of Ishmael, Abraham's elder son who was born to Sarah's Egyptian servant, Hagar.
Ishmael, though, is not cursed by God, for he was born with the blessing of both Sarah and God himself. Sarah, being human and full of human fault, insists that Abraham drive Hagar and Ismael away. But God, unlike Sarah, is just. And although He instructs Abraham to follow the wishes of his wife Sarah — for like Sarah, He intends that Isaac carry His message of righteousness — He promises to take care of Hagar and Ishmael.
As we will see in the next two days, this event will have enormous ramifications on the course of history, which greatly affect our world even today.