October 14 Devotional (2021)

October 14, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: Psalm 91:9-16 / Gen 14:17-24 / Rom 15:7-13

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.

The 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,

    for ever and ever. Amen.

The Hymn: “There Is a Balm in Gilead” (African-American Spiritual)


A Fourth Century Prayer for Light and Guidance 

Eternal God, You uncreated and primal Light, Maker of all created things, Fountain of pity, You Sea of Bounty, fathomless deep of Loving-Kindness: lift You up the light of Your countenance upon us! Lord, shine in our hearts, true Sun of Righteousness, and fill our souls with Your beauty.

—Basil [1]

Short Verse

O Lord, let thy mercy be showed upon us;

As we do put our trust in thee.

Morning Reading: Psalm 91:9-16

The Most High, your refuge

Because you have made the Lord your refuge,

the Most High your dwelling place,

no evil shall befall you,

no scourge come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you

to guard you in all your ways.

On their hands they will bear you up,

so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.

You will tread on the lion and the adder,

the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

Those who love me, I will deliver;

I will protect those who know my name.

When they call to me, I will answer them;

I will be with them in trouble,

I will rescue them and honor them.

With long life I will satisfy them,

and show them my salvation.


A Fourth Century Prayer for Refreshment 

O Lord our God, under the shadow of Your wings let us hope. You wilt support us, both when little, and even to gray hairs. When our strength is of You, it is strength; but, when our own, it is feebleness. We return unto You, O Lord, that from their weariness our souls may rise towards You, leaning on the things which You have created, and passing on to Thyself, who have wonderfully made them; for with You is refreshment and true strength. AMEN. 

—Augustine [2]

Midday Intercession

For All People Remember, O Lord, this city wherein we dwell and every other city and country, and all the faithful who dwell in them. Remember, O Lord, all who travel by land or water, all that labour under sickness or slavery; remember them for health and safety. Remember, O Lord, those in Your Holy Church who bring forth good fruit, are rich in good works and forget not the poor. Grant unto us all Your mercy and loving-kindness, and grant that we may with one mouth and one heart praise and glorify Your great and glorious name, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, now, henceforth, and forever. AMEN. 

—Chrysostom [3]

Short Verse

“Reflect upon the providence and wisdom of God in all created things and praise Him in them all.”

St. Teresa of Avila

(quote source)
“Abraham and Melchizedek”
(Photograph of medieval canvas, Dieric Bouts the Older. At The Church of Saint Peter, Leuven, Belgium)

Midday Reading: Genesis 14:17-24

Abram is blessed by Melchizedek

17 After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).

18 And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. 19 Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing:

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,

Creator of heaven and earth.

20 And blessed be God Most High,

who has defeated your enemies for you.”

Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.

21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.”

22 Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I solemnly swear to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.”

An image of Melchizedek painted onto the altar side near the Royal Doors at Libotin wooden church, Maramureș County, Romania

Midday Lesson

‘God made Abram rich.’

“When Abram returned from his successful attack on the raiding party from Mesopotamia, he was met by two kings, one from Sodom and one from Salem. Abram turns at first to the king of Salem.” [4]

“Melchizedek appears unannounced and disappears again, Heb 7:1–3. His name and city fit the priest-kings of Jebusite Jerusalem, Jos 10:1; Ps 110 (Gk 109):4b, which again connects this mysterious incident with David, who annexed Jerusalem, 2 S 5:7. El-Elyon (meaning ‘God Most High’) seems to be a title of God used in Jerusalem. The payment of tithes to the high priest suggests a post-exilic situation.” [5]

In verse 19, Melchizedek blessed Abram. “Melchizedek is the first to bless Abram; thus he comes under the special provision of God’s promise of blessing (see 12:3)… The words of the blessing are in two lines of poetry, making them more memorable as well as adding a sense of power and effectiveness. The phrase God Most High is used in both lines of the blessing, for special emphasis. Possessor may also mean ‘Creator’ (see Prov. 8:22).” [6]

In verse 20, Melchizedek says blessed be God Most High. “When we bless God, we acknowledge Him as the source of all our blessings (see Ps. 103:1, 2). Melchizedek declared the true nature of Abram’s victory—God delivered him. Here is the first mention of the tithe in the Bible (see Deut. 14:22). Abram’s gift indicates that he considered Melchizedek a true priest of the living God; in giving this gift Abram was giving to the Lord.” [7]

In verse 21, the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.” “Abram seems to have ignored the king of Sodom (see v. 17) until he had worshiped with the king of Salem. Now he hears the demands of this king, who asked for his people but not for his goods.” [8]

St. Ambrose wrote, “[O]ne who is victorious should not claim the victory for himself; rather, he should attribute it to God. This is the teaching of Abraham, who became more humble, not more proud, in victory. Indeed, he offered a sacrifice and gave tithes; for this reason too, he received the blessing of Melchizedek, which means in translation ‘king of justice, king of peace.’ He was indeed the priest of the most high God. Who is the king of justice, the priest of God, but he to whom it is said, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’ [Ps 110:4], that is, Son of God, priest of the Father, the one who through the sacrifice of his body propitiated the Father for our transgressions?” (On Abraham 1.3.16). [9]

“Abram raised his hand as a symbol of a strong oath. In other passages it is a sign of defiance. Abram identified Yahweh, translated here as the LORD, with the God Most High. This is a clear statement that he and Melchizedek both worshiped the true, living God.” [10]

In verse 23, Abram told the king of Sodom that he would take nothing that belonged to the king. “In these words, Abram strongly rebuked Sodom and its king (see 13:12, 13). Abram stood in strong contrast to his nephew Lot who had moved into the wicked city (see 14:12).” [11]

St. Ambrose wrote, “The holy patriarch rightly refuses to appropriate any of the spoil, even if it was offered to him, lest the one who gave it say, ‘I made him rich.’ He testifies that he is content to receive what had been needed for the upkeep of the young warriors. But someone will say, since [Abraham] had won the battle, why does he say to the king of the Sodomites, ‘I will take nothing from you’? Surely the booty belonged to the victor! Abraham is giving instruction for military protocol. Everything should be left to the king. Naturally he affirms that any who might have been enlisted to help in his military engagement should be given a part of the profit in recompense for their effort,” (On Abraham 1.3.17). [12]

“Abram gave one-tenth of the booty to Melchizedek. Even in some pagan religions, it was traditional to give a tenth of one’s earnings to the gods. Abram followed accepted tradition; however, he refused to take any booty from the king of Sodom. Even though this huge amount would significantly increase what he could have given to God, he chose to reject it for more important reasons—he didn’t want the ungodly king of Sodom to say, “I have made Abram rich.” Instead, Abram wanted him to say, ‘God made Abram rich.’ In this case, accepting the gifts would have focused everyone’s attention on Abram or the king of Sodom rather than on God, the giver of victory. When people look at us, they need to see what God has accomplished in our lives.” [13]


A Second Century Prayer for Soul Cleansing

Sanctify, O Lord, our souls, bodies and spirits; examine our minds and search our consciences; take from us all evil imaginations, all impurity of thought, all inclinations to lust, all depravity of conception, all envy, pride and hypocrisy, all falsehood, deceit and irregular living, all covetousness, vain glory and sloth; all malice, anger and wrath, all remembrance of injuries, all blasphemy and every motion of flesh and spirit that is contrary to the purity of Your Will. AMEN.

—Liturgy of St. James [14]

Short Verse

‘If you… hear rumours, repeat them not to your neighbour, for this is victory of the war.’

Sayings of the Holy Fathers

[15]

Eventide Reading: Romans 15:7-13

The Gentiles glorify God

7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,

and sing to your name.”

10 And again it is said,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

11 And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,

and let all the peoples extol him.”

12 And again Isaiah says,

“The root of Jesse will come,

even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;

in him will the Gentiles hope.”

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Eventide Lesson

The Example of Christ

“It was by mercy alone that the Gentiles were saved; hence they were bound to glorify God. It is a glory to God when they are blended together and united, when they offer praise with one mind, when they bear the weaker and when they do not neglect the member who has been cut off,” (St. Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans 28). [16]

“Precisely how all this can be fulfilled so that they may be filled with all joy and peace is hard to say, especially since the apostle himself, when talking about the gifts of the Spirit, says that he knows in part and prophesies in part [1Co 13:9]. But I think that believers can have the fullness of peace when they are reconciled to God the Father by faith. . . . For if someone who believes is armed with the power of the Holy Spirit, it is certain that he will always have the fullness of joy and peace,” (Origen, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans). [17]

“For Paul and for us, Christ is the perfect model for every aspect of life, including love, hospitality, spirit of service, patience, and mercy.” [18]

Compline Prayer

Visit me with the salvation of thy saints; and open my understanding in the visions of the night. Amen.

  • Lancelot Andrewes [19]

Citations:

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

[2] Potts, J. M. (2020). Fourth Century Prayers. In Prayers of the Early Church (Kindle, pp. 41). essay. 

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

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). Genesis. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 277). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

[5] Wansbrough, H. (2019). Genesis. In The revised New jerusalem bible: Study Edition (Kindle, pp. 2171–2171). Random House. 

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). Genesis. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 278). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

[7] Ibid. 6

[8] Ibid. 6

[9] Ambrose. (2019). Genesis. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 243). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[10] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). Genesis. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 278). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

[11] Ibid. 10

[12] Ambrose. (2019). Genesis. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 243). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[13] Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (2013). Study Notes: Genesis. In Life application study Bible: King James version (Kindle ed., p. 6556). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

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

[15] Of Scrupulous Watchfulness in our Thoughts and Words and Deeds. (1907). In The Sayings of the Holy Fathers: Books I and II (Kindle ed., p. 112).  W. Budge (Ed.)

[16] Chrysostom. (2019). Romans. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 3244). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[17] Origen. (2019). Romans. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 3244). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[18] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Romans. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3436). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[19] Andrewes, Lancelot. The Private Devotions and Manual for the Sick of Launcelot Andrews (Kindle ed., p. 2653). Unknown. Kindle Edition. 

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