Daily Devotion for August 11, 2019
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” today is the Waldsassen Basilica, and our “choir director” is Leonard Bernstein, conducting Mozart’s beautiful Ave Verum Corpus.
(Note: Composers frequently repeat, omit, or put phrases out of order.)
Ave, verum corpus
Cujus latus perforatum
O Iesu dulcis,
Prayer of St. Chrysostom
Almighty God, Who has given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee and does promise that when two or three are gathered together in Thy name you will grant their requests; fulfill now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of your servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the world to come life everlasting,
Penitential Prayer of St. Ambrose of Milan
O Lord, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore Thee, a heart to delight in Thee, to follow and enjoy Thee, for Christ’s sake,
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
Let me not forget my prayers as I go out into the world. Holy Spirit, be with me, and let me praise you and remember you in my every action and thought, today, and for the entire week to come. In Christ’s name I ask this,
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.
Psalm 124:6-8 (NKJV)
Blessed be the Lord,
Who has not given us as prey to [wicked] teeth.
Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;
The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
Matthew 5:1-2,5 (ESV)
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
Notes on the Scripture
his is one of the most astonishing passages in the New Testament to me. Christ often told us that pride is a sin, and that we should try to be humble and ask for forgiveness when we do act pridefully. But here, he does not say that the humble will go to heaven; he says that the meek — the very humblest among us — will inherit the earth.
Meekness is “enduring injury with patience and without resentment; submissiveness.” As a quality of character, seeking meekness is often exactly the opposite of what life teaches us. Great pride seems to be a prerequisite to earthly wealth and power, for the most part, while humility is something we characterize with weakness and poverty. So, should we seek humility in order to gain earthly benefits as well as the ultimate benefit of living to serve God?
The King of Meekness
riding a donkey.
I don’t know. It may be that the huge egos we so often see among the rich, the famous, and the powerful, came after their earthly success and that their earlier lives were characterized by humility. “Pride goes before a fall” certainly seems to characterize a lot of situations. But we have also seen prideful people succeed at earthly enterprises. People read Machiavelli for a reason.
It is a thorny issue for Christians. The answer I make to myself is: Don’t worry about it. Christ told us to live a life of humility simply out of love for him. If there is an earthly benefit, or not, is a secondary question. Anyone who preaches or believes any aspect of “prosperity theology”—the teaching that belief in Christ will make us rich—is worshipping Mammon, not Christ. The less we worry about the treasure we lay up on earth, and the more we worry about the treasure we lay up in heaven, the better off we will be in our spirit.
We don’t need to worry about the meaning of this passage; whether it is meant literally or metaphorically, or exactly what will happen to the earth after our death, because we know that we strive for total humility to enrich our spirit anyway. What is crystal clear is simple: Christ exalts meekness. As for our earthly treasure, He tells us not to worry about tomorrow (e.g Matthew 6:25-34), and so we will do as he has told us.