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Daily Devotion for June 21, 2022


<i>St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata</i> by Jan van Eyck, ca. 1432.
St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata by Jan van Eyck, ca. 1432.
Francis of Assisi is synonymous with the abandonment of wealth to follow Christ. This very early masterpiece by van Eyck shows him at the extreme, when he would not even wear sandals.

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.

Matt Maher’s high-energy, hard-rock gospel song might help us keep Jesus in our hearts on “Back to Work Tuesday”!




Prayer for the Guidance During the Day

Oh my God, you know my weakness and failings, and that without your help I can accomplish nothing for the good of souls, my own and others'. Grant me, therefore, the help of your grace, according to my particular needs this day. Enable me to see the tasks you will set before me in the daily routine of my life, and let me set my hand to these tasks with the vigor and joy of one with whom you abide. And if I should face trials, suffering or failure, I pray that your hand will lift me up, and I may be refreshed. In the name of Christ, I pray,

Amen.

A Prayer of Abandonment to the Holy Spirit:

Holy Spirit, God of Love, be present to me; accept the offering of myself which I make to you. Receive these hands, these feet, these eyes, this tongue, and all my senses. Receive my memory, my will, my understanding, my desires, my sighs, the longings and the aspirations of my soul. Receive my every hour, my every moment, and all the happenings of my life.

angelic host

Holy Spirit, God of Love, knit my soul to you. Let your love possess my whole being - my senses, my powers, my affections, my very life. Let your love rule my labor and my rest, my going and my staying, and move me as it pleases. Let your love disquiet or comfort me, humble or exalt me, and burn away all my faults.

Holy Spirit, God of Love, draw me to yourself. Do with me what you will. Nothing will cause me fear if only your love enfolds me. I ask confidently because your desire to give is greater than mine to receive. Transform me into yourself, so that I may no longer know myself, nor find myself, except in you.

Amen.

Meditation

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

~ C. S. Lewis


Blessing

May God the Father bless us; may Christ take care of us; the Holy Ghost enlighten us all the days of our life. The Lord be our defender and keeper of body and soul, both now and for ever, to the ages of ages.

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.



<i>The Dead Christ with Angels</i> by Edouard Manet, ca. 1864.
The Dead Christ with Angels by Edouard Manet, ca. 1864.

Prayer is the Little Implement

Prayer is the little implement
Through which Men reach
Where Presence — is denied them.
They fling their Speech

By means of it — in God’s Ear —
If then He hear --
This sums the Apparatus
Comprised in Prayer —

~ Emily Dickinson


Blue Latin Cross

Matthew 19:23-26 (ESV)

All Things are Possible Through God
A

nd Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”


Notes on the Scripture

There has sprung up a Biblical “urban legend” that the “eye of the needle” was a narrow gate in Jerusalem, used after hours; in some versions a camel can get through it, only when all packs have been removed and it crawls on its knees; in others, such a large animal cannot fit.

More likely, though, Christ’s words are not a reference to anything else. In Hebrew stories of the time, the eye of a needle and a large animal (usually an elephant) are used as an outlandish metaphor for impossibility. And we have seen Jesus use outlandish metaphor previously. Who hasn’t wondered at the image of a person with a “beam” or a “tree” in his own eye, criticizing the speck in someone else’s?

After posing the question, Jesus qualifies what He has said. No, it is not possible for a large animal to fit through the eye of a needle. But God could allow a camel or anything else to fit through the eye of a needle. So it is not totally impossible, after all: it is impossible for us, but not for God. So is it impossible to be rich and go to heaven? No. It is impossible for a human, but not for God. Does great wealth make it more difficult? Without doubt.

But here is the catch we must also remember: It is in all cases impossible for a human being to get to heaven, without God’s forgiveness. You do not have to be rich, to need Christ!

Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:10 that love of money, not money per se, is the root of all evil. The Bible pounds a message into our unwilling minds time and time again: We must choose between this world and the next. E.g., “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15.

Vanity|19th cent. woman kissing mirror

The very early church shared everything. People with land sold it and distributed among others in the church who needed basic support. Acts 4:32-37. But this does not appear to have been mandatory. Acts 5:4. We might interpret Jesus’ comments to the young man to apply only because Christ was on earth, since he repeatedly told people to abandon their families and all they knew to follow him literally. We could conclude that after Christ left the earth, as the age of Christ’s personal ministry ended and the age of the Holy Spirit began, we can no longer follow the exhortations to “follow me” literally.

But we can hear what we want to hear, and we would like to be able to have the kingdom of heaven and a certain amount of material comfort, both. So we run the risk of fudging in favor of keeping our money, or most of it, if we begin to “interpret” the Bible.

The apostles who wrote epistles do not give us the kind of absolute “sell everything and give it to the poor” rules that Christ did. But at a minimum, if a person has wealth and wants to follow Christ, his money must become subordinate to his love of God and his fellow man, especially those in the church. If we look at James 2, for example, we see it is more allowing church members to live in poverty that defines a sinful life, than the possession of wealth:

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?

In practical terms, there are few of us that do not have and spend more than we need. As with sexual morality, the secular god of consumerism is likely to warp our vision. So in practical terms, if we wonder whether we are loving our comforts and possessions too much, and God too little, the answer is almost certainly affirmative.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“The Darkness Around You”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB): No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.



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Comments (2)

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Senior
Judy(Elyria, US)says...

Mason I think it would be hard to find someone like Elizabeth in this day and age. I know there are many that give and support and help but to the extreme that St. Elizabeth shared seems unlikely.There is a lot of wealthy people in this world, imagine if they all though about the poor or elderly or sick people, or even the children dying in Africa because there is no water or food. I can only imagine.

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Roxanne(New York, US)says...

Good morning, today's word was an ouch for me. Wow! Do I love my possessions more than Christ.....ouch! Have a great day all.

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Senior
Paulsays...

Roxanne, I'm with you on that. One thing we know for certain: Jesus was not concerned with making His teachings comfortable. I doubt Hallmark would have wanted Him on their staff to write greeting cards... :-)

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