October 13 Devotional (2021)


A prayer inspired by Edward the Confessor, King of England

O God, who didst call thy servant Edward to an an earthly Throne that he might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give him zeal for thy Church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


October 13, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: Obadiah 17-21 / Luke 16:19-31 / Psalm 4

Invitatory

The mercy of the Lord is everlasting: Come let us adore him.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, 

* and to the Holy Ghost. 

As it was in the beginning, is now, 

* and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Opening Prayer

Sarum Prayer

God be in my head, 

        and in my understanding.

God by in mine eyes, 

        and in my looking.

God be in my mouth,

        and in my speaking.

God be in my heart, 

        and in my thinking.

God be at mine end, 

        and at my departing. [1]

Hymn: “Sweet hour of prayer”


A Fourth Century Prayer for Right Blessings 

O Lord our God, teach us, we beseech You, to ask You aright for the right blessings. Steer You the vessel of our life toward Thyself, You tranquil Haven of all storm-tossed souls. Show us the course wherein we should go. Renew a willing spirit within us. Let Your Spirit curb our wayward senses, and guide and enable us unto that which is our true good, to keep Your laws, and in all our works evermore to rejoice in Your glorious and gladdening Presence. For Your is the glory and praise from all Your saints forever and ever. AMEN. 

—Basil [2]

Short Verse

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

Morning Reading: Obadiah 17-21

The dispossessed shall possess the land

17 But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,

and it shall be holy,

and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.

18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire,

and the house of Joseph a flame,

and the house of Esau stubble;

they shall burn them and consume them,

and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,

for the LORD has spoken.

19 Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau,

and those of the Shephelah shall possess the land of the Philistines;

they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,

and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.

20 The exiles of this host of the people of Israel

shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath,

and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad

shall possess the cities of the Negeb.

21 Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion

to rule Mount Esau,

and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.

Morning Lesson

The Kingdom of the LORD

“Those who engage in Acts such as those described in vv. 12-14,” which we read yesterday, “are reminded, as you have done, it shall be done to you  – a connection between action and consequence that is maintained by Christ in His model prayer: ‘Forgive us our debts, / As we forgive debtors’ (Mt 6:12). The Day of the Lord, that is, His judgment, will come upon all nations. Such people may rage in their pride and deceit (the likely meaning of so too shall all the nations drink wine), but eventually they shall have their comeuppance and it will be as if they never existed. The faithful of the Lord, however, shall be delivered and sanctified (v. 17), preserved even through the destruction of those hardened in sin (v. 18).” [3] “The Israelites will be restored and will occupy the lands of those who oppressed them. The survivors of Judah will be rejoined by the returned exiles from northern Israel.” [4]

This passage of Obediah comprised of verses 19-31, “which delineates the possessions of the land as they will be found after God’s judgment of Edom, may well be an addition to the original prophetic oracle. The Greek text is confusing (as is the text in the Hebrew) as to the precise geographic extent of the landscape delineated, but the general thrust of the proclamation is clear: Judah, oppressed by Efom and its allies, will inherit the land of its oppressors at their defeat.” [5]

“The final proclamation of the prophecy is hopeful both I a political sense, inasmuch as Judah shall exact vengeance on the mountain of Esau, and in a more eschatological sense: the divided people shall again be one (kingdom is in the singular), and rather than existing under the tumultuous leadership of judges or kings, the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” [6] Like the books of Hosea and Amos, Obadiah “concludes with promises of return, restoration and triumph for the remnant which survives.” [7]

“The idea that a remnant will be saved on Mount Zion was developed especially by Isaiah. In the present context one is struck by the modesty of the hope. The kingship of God does not imply that Judah will rule all the nations, only its immediate neighbors who have most recently afflicted it. While a note of vengeance is present it should not be exaggerated. The oracle is really a testimony to the indomitable hope of a people who had been reduced to poverty and insignificance, and were at the mercy of their neighbors. Belief in the kingship of God on Mount Zion was a deep-rooted part of the Jerusalem cult under the monarchy… In the aftermath of the exile it became a source of hope for deliverance.” [8]


A Fourth Century Prayer for Spiritual Blessings 

Most high God, our loving Father, infinite in majesty, we humbly beseech You for all Your servants everywhere, that You wouldst give us a pure mind, perfect love, sincerity in conduct, purity in heart, strength in action, courage in distress, self-command in character. May our prayers ascend to Your gracious ears, and Your loving benediction descend upon us all, that we may in all things be protected under the shadow of Your wings. Grant us pardon of our sins; perfect our work; accept our prayers; protect us by Your own Name, O God of Jacob; send us Your saving help from Your holy place, and strengthen us out of Zion. Remember all Your people everywhere, give us all the grace of devotion to Your will; fulfill our desires with good gifts, and crown us with Your mercy. When we serve You with faithful devotion, pardon our sins and correct us with Fatherly tenderness. Grant that, being delivered from all adversity, and both here and eternally justified, we may praise You forever and ever, saying Holy, Holy, Holy; through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, Who with You and the Holy Ghost, lives and reigns, ever one God, world without end . AMEN. 

—Gallican Sacramentary [9]

A Fourth Century Intercession for Converts in Mission Fields 

Remember, O Lord, all who in heathen lands are under instruction for Holy Baptism; have mercy upon them and confirm them in the faith; remove all the remains of idolatry and superstition from their hearts, that being devoted to Your law, Your precepts, Your fear, Your truths, and Your commandments, they may grow to a firm knowledge of the word in which they have been instructed, and may be found worthy to be made an habitation of the Holy Ghost, by the laver of regeneration, for the remission of their sins, through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN. 

—Saint Basil the Great [10]

Short Verse

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10
Lazarus and Dives, illumination from the 11th century Codex Aureus of Echternach
Top panel: Lazarus at the rich man’s door
Middle panel: Lazarus’ soul is carried to Paradise by two angels; Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom
Bottom panel: Dives’ soul is carried off by Satan to Hell; Dives is tortured in Hades

Midday Reading: Luke 16:19-31

Lazarus comforted by Abraham

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Illustration of Lazarus at the rich man’s gate by Fyodor Bronnikov, 1886.

Midday Lesson

The Rich Man and Lazarus

It is important to note that the Lazarus in Christ’s parable “is merely a character in a story and should not be confused with the Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead in John 11.” [11] The rich man, who is also simply a character in the parable, goes unnamed. Saint Augustine of Hippo remarked, “Jesus kept quiet about the rich man’s name and mentioned the name of the poor man. The rich man’s name was thrown around, but God kept quiet about it. The other’s name was lost in silence, and God spoke it. Please do not be surprised. God just read out what was written in his book. . . . You see, God who lives in heaven kept quiet about the rich man’s name, because he did not find it written in heaven. He spoke the poor man’s name, because he found it written there, indeed he gave instructions for it to be written there,” (Sermon 33a.4). [12]

Abraham’s side, in verse 22, “means heaven. Abraham is mentioned among all the righteous because, in stark contrast to the rich man, Abraham showed hospitality to strangers (Gn 18:1-18).” [13] In this verse , the rich man died and was buried. The Church Fathers saw “this as illustrating the state of his merciless soul, buried by the pleasures of the flesh. He was already buried in life by ‘couches, rugs, furnishings, sweet oils, perfumes, large quantities of wine, varieties of food, and flatterers’ [St. John Chrysostom]. That the rich man remains unnamed indicates that he is ultimately forgotten (see Ps 9:6).” [14]

Note that, in verses 24-26, “[t]he rich man’s appeal to Abraham as a spiritual father is not rejected. Rather, Abraham accepts this role, calling the rich man son and showing himself to be compassionate even towards the most wretched of men. The great gulf [chasm] is not a geographical divide, but the complete separation between virtue and wickedness, a separation that cannot be overcome after death. Note that torments have not changed the rich man’s heart, as he still eyes Lazarus as a servant existing for the sake of his own comfort. Finally, this account by Christ reveals the communion of the saints: a man, not even a believer, calls out from Hades and converses with Saint Abraham!” [15]

Some of the Church Fathers saw “this parable being set after the final judgment, citing punishment and reward being received by the two men respectively.” [16] Other Church Fathers saw “this parable set at a time after death but before the second coming of Christ, as evidenced by the man interceding on behalf of his brothers who are still living. The torment he’s experiencing would be but a foretaste of his final state. From this perspective, we learn that souls of the Departed have awareness of and concern for the state of those still alive on earth (see 9:30, 31; 2Mc 15:12-16; Mt 2:18), but also that the Intercessions of a wicked are heard, bit avail nothing (contrast Jam 5:16).” [17]

“The rich man thought that his five brothers would surely believe a messenger who had been raised from the dead. But Jesus said that if they did not believe Moses and the prophets, who spoke constantly of caring for the poor, not even a resurrection would convince them. Notice the irony in Jesus’ statement; on his way to Jerusalem to die, he was fully aware that even when he had risen from the dead, most of the religious leaders would not accept him. They were set in their ways, and neither Scripture nor God’s Son himself would shake them loose.” [18]

Saint John Chrysostom wrote, “The ignorance of Scripture is a great cliff and a deep abyss. It is impossible for anyone to be without benefit if he reads continually and with attention.” [19] “Furthermore, the rebellious were not persuaded even when people did rise from the dead (Mt 28:11-15; Jn 12:9-11).” [20]

“The Pharisees considered wealth to be a proof of a person’s righteousness. Jesus startled them with this story, in which a diseased beggar is rewarded and a rich man is punished. The rich man did not go to hell because of his wealth but because he was selfish, refusing to feed Lazarus, take him in, or care for him. The rich man was hard-hearted in spite of his great blessings. The amount of money we have is not as important as the way we use it. What is your attitude toward your money and possessions? Do you hoard them selfishly, or do you use them to help others?” [21]

A depiction of the rich man in torment by James Tissot

A Fourth Century Prayer for the Invocation Lord 

God, of might inconceivable, of glory incomprehensible, of mercy immeasurable, of benignity ineffable; do You, O Master, look down upon us in Your tender love, and show forth, towards us and those who pray with us, Your rich mercies and compassions. AMEN.

 —Liturgy of St. Chrysostom [22]

Short Verse

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

Eventide Reading: Psalm 4  

Cum invocarem

1    Answer me when I call, O God, defender of my cause; *

         you set me free when I am hard-pressed;

         have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

2    “You mortals, how long will you dishonor my glory; *

         how long will you worship dumb idols

         and run after false gods?”

3    Know that the LORD does wonders for the faithful; *

         when I call upon the LORD, he will hear me.

4    Tremble, then, and do not sin; *

         speak to your heart in silence upon your bed.

5    Offer the appointed sacrifices *

         and put your trust in the LORD.

Compline Prayer

As is the end of the day, even so is the end of life, even near at hand. We, therefore, remembering this, beseech thee, O Lord, to grant that our ends may be truly Christian, acceptable to thee, void of sin and shame, and, so far as thou shalt think proper, void of pain. Amen.

  • Lancelot Andrews [23]

Citations:

[1] Kitch, A. E. (2004). A Sarum Prayer. In The Anglican family prayer book (Kindle ed., 110). Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Pub.

[2] Potts, J. M. (2020). Fourth Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 38). essay. 

[3] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Obediah. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1049). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Obediah. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 4159). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[5] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Obediah. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1049-1050). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Ibid. 5, P. 1050

[7] Wansbrough, H. (2019). Obadiah. In The revised New jerusalem bible: Study Edition (Kindle, pp. 1757). essay, Random House. 

[8] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Obediah. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 767-768). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[9] Potts, J. M. (2020). Fourth Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 38). essay. 

[10] Potts, J. M. (2020). Fourth Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 39). essay. 

[11] Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (2013). Study Notes: Luke. In Life application study Bible: King James version (Kindle ed., p. 8396). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

[12] Augustine. (2019). Luke. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 2946). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[13] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Luke. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1421). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[14] Ibid. 13

[15] Ibid. 13

[16] Ibid. 13

[17] Ibid. 13

[18] Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (2013). Study Notes: Luke. In Life application study Bible: King James version (Kindle ed., p. 8396). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

[19] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Luke. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1421). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[20] Ibid. 19

[21] Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (2013). Study Notes: Luke. In Life application study Bible: King James version (Kindle ed., p. 8396). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

[22] Potts, J. M. (2020). Fourth Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 40). essay.  

[23] Andrewes, Lancelot. The Private Devotions and Manual for the Sick of Launcelot Andrews (Kindle ed., p. 2559). Unknown. Kindle Edition. 

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