Daily Devotion for July 23, 2010
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
Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart.
Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.
The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,
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 graces and blessings you have betowed upon us, spiritual and temporal: Our faith and religious heritage; our food and shelter; our health; the love we have for one another; and the lives of our family 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 us from death.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed me with the spiritual food of his Body and Blood. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord
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.
As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Notes on the Scripture
True forgiveness is one of the hardest things in life to do and one of the most important. It is the antidote for the sins of anger and pride. Forgiveness destroys a great barrier that separates us from Christ's grace. Like a muscle, it must be exercised repeatedly, for we will never tire of getting angry and prideful.
Forgiveness is an expression of one of the two great commandments of Christ: "Love the Lord with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it: Love thy neighbor as thyself." We remind ourselves of its importance every day, when we pray "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." The Lord's prayer was written by Christ Himself, and the prayer to forgive as we are forgiven is a constant reminder of its importance.
This is one act that divides the Christian from the secular world. Society and the media seem obsessed with revenge and justice. By and large, secular society does not ascribe to Christ's commandment. Many Christian doctrines have been secularized by society, but forgiveness is rarely one of them. Every time someone sins against you, hurts you in your earthly life, or offends your pride, you are given an opportunity to show the power of Christ.
We believe that justice belongs to God, not to ourselves. Certainly, the secular law may punish criminals, and most Christians have no problem in seeing that the law is carried out. But we must always be on guard against the trap of the "hanging judge", a person who has internalized high standards of conduct for himself and therefore becomes even angrier and more vindictive when he sees evil in another. This is a parody of Christianity, held by many non-Christians to be typical and, in truth, occurring often enough in life to worry us.
When evil is done, our starting point must be Christ's commandment to forgive. It is sometimes unbelievably difficult, because people sometimes do terrible things. Drunken drivers run over and kill children. Rebellious teenagers vandalize property. There is nothing evil that can be done, that man will not do. But we must remember that the people who commit these terrible acts are God's children and their souls are not necessarily lost. Our initial reaction must be to remember this and to forgive them in our hearts.