Daily Devotion for January 14, 2022
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 “Classical Friday” selection is the “Benedictus”, from Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. Beethoven at his best, lyrical and beautiful. The violin introduction and obbligato is reminiscent of his violin concerto (and kudos to the New York Philharmonic’s concertmaster for this superb performance).
From the traditional (Catholic) Latin Mass.
To Show Christ’s Love Today
Oh Holy God, who has commanded us to love one another without fail, purify my soul. Let your Holy Spirit empower me throughout this day, to be obedient to the truth at every moment, so that I might love my brothers and sisters earnestly, from a pure heart.
And let me always remember that I have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of your Son; born again into a life of perfect love, obedience, and service. And if I am confused or do not know what to think or do, let me think of your Son, Jesus Christ, and ask myself what He would have done. For I will follow him even to the point of suffering and death, confident in his resurrection and the eternal reward for those that do follow him in sincere belief.
For Honest and Full Confession
O Blessed Spirit of Truth, you who searches the heart and tries the innermost thoughts: Bring my sins to my remembrance and grant me light to see them and find them out. Strengthen me also with courage to confess them truly, hiding nothing, keeping nothing back in my heart; that I may, by your mercy, obtain pardon and entire absolution; and thus healed, may rise to newness of life, humbly and worthily receiving the wondrous gift of your love. Through the merits and for the sake of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.
The Foundation of Virtue
“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.”
~ (Saint) Augustine of Hippo
Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord 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.
Matthew 7:28-29 (ESV)
Sermon on the Mount — Conclusion
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
Notes on the Scripture
Christ's teachings are original. He is not interpreting the Word of God; He is delivering the Word of God. He is God speaking directly to normal men and women.
Christ's revelation of his divinity to the people was gradual, accomplished in stages. Few of those present — and none of the apostles — were with Him at His baptism; so the reader is ahead of those who lived through it, in terms of information about Him.
Sermon on the Mount - Review
The Sermon on the Mount has four main sections: The Beatitudes (Ch. 5); Reinterpretation of the Law (Ch. 5); Relationship with God (Ch. 6); and Implementation of the New Covenant (Ch. 7).
Jesus starts His great teaching with a bang. The Beatitudes turn both Judaism and common sense upside-down. Christ demolishes the lessons of both experience from living, and the earthly rewards promised by Judaism. It is, He declares, the meek, the poor, the humble and the peaceful who will emerge triumphant. But Judaism had encouraged the Hebrews to expect earthly rewards to those who followed the Law; so the Beatitudes announce that something has changed radically. But what? Has the Law of Moses been repealed?
In the second part of Chapter 5, Reinterpreting the Law of Moses, Christ tells us that the law is still 100% in effect. If anyone tries to tell you that there are different categories of Mosaic law and some were abolished by Christ, tell them to read Matthew 5:18. He actually extends the Law, showing that it is much broader than Moses announced. No more will it be simply a set of rules for external conduct, but rather, it will now be extended into the innermost part of the human mind and heart. The law cannot be performed; it must be lived in thought as well as deed. He bolsters this by His Salt of the Earth analogy.
To illustrate, he gives examples: Murder, an external act, is replaced by anger, an internal emotion. Divorce, Oaths, Not Resisting Evil (Eye for an Eye), and Loving Your Enemies are all specific examples of this internalization of godliness, extending the Law of Moses from our behavior to our hearts.
In Chapter 6, Christ transitions into the related concept, our relationship with God. Our relationship with God, like the law, will be internalized. The emphasis on public display must evolve into a personal, intimate relationship. We will fast and pray, not so that others can see us, but as direct and private tributes directly to God, and concern ourselves with salvation, not our earthly lives. The primary teachings are Giving in Secret, Praying in Secret (the Lord's Prayer), Fasting in Secret, Laying up Treasure in Heaven, and Do not Worry About Your Earthly Life (Lilies of the Field).
Chapter 7 assumes we have heard (or read), digested, and accepted the fundamentals of the new covenant set out in 5 and 6; it teaches us how to implement our new faith. We are to seek God for our own salvation; God will hear us and fulfill our requests. But although we can spread the Gospel, implementation is a personal matter; we are forbidden to judge others, a job reserved for Christ Himself; there will be no Sanhedrin of high priests to reward and punish us, and we cannot arrogate judgment to ourselves.
The second part of the chapter is a sort of pep talk, telling us not to believe anyone who preaches contrary doctrine and to be strong in faith. The main individual teachings of Chapter 7 are Judge Not Lest You Be Judged, Ask and It Will Be Given, The Narrow Gate, True and False Prophets, True and False Disciples, and Build Your House on the Rock.