Devotional Thought of the Day:
16 All those who truly respected the LORD and honored his name started discussing these things, and when God saw what was happening, he had their names written as a reminder in his book. 17 Then the LORD All-Powerful said: You people are precious to me, and when I come to bring justice, I will protect you, just as parents protect an obedient child. 18 Then everyone will once again see the difference between those who obey me by doing right and those who reject me by doing wrong. Malachi 3:16-18 (CEV)
No man can be renewed without as real and true a manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s energy as he felt at first, because the work is as great, and flesh and blood are as much in the way now as ever they were. Let thy personal weakness, O Christian, be an argument to make thee pray earnestly to thy God for help.
Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Do you want to accompany Jesus closely, very closely? . . . Open the Holy Gospel and read the Passion of our Lord. But don’t just read it: live it. There is a big difference. To read is to recall something that happened in the past; to live is to find oneself present at an event that is happening here and now, to be someone taking part in those scenes. Then, allow your heart to open wide; let it place itself next to our Lord. And when you notice it trying to slip away—when you see that you are a coward, like the others—ask forgiveness for your cowardice and mine.
There are calendar year ends, fiscal year ends, liturgical year ends, and for me, the end of a year of devotional readings. That is why the reading from Malachi heads this list, the promise of God writing our names in the book, and offering His care, His protection to us. While we do not always realize this, this is our story, this God who loves and protects and comforts us!
The other readings touch on the same theme, the work of God in our lives, protecting us from the work of Satan, from the struggle with dying, even from our own broken nature.
Spurgeon makes it clear, we need the Holy Spirit working to bring us to His gift of repentance, As he notes, our flesh and blood just loves to ge tin the way! And so we struggle with God breathing life into our exhausted souls..
We Lutherans, as well as the Protestants need to pray the prayer above from the Catholic mass, remembering that what we are praying was granted to us as we were united to Christ,, united to Him in His death, and HIs resurrection. ANd as we realize this, we find that we are protected, not just from evil, but from the anxiety that obscures the hope from knowing Jesus will return for us. As I read this prayer this morning, the words poured out, they are what God is doing in our lives! By praying it, we realize twhat God is doing in our lives
And finally, in Mr. Fazio’s recounting of the life of St. Josemaria, in this encouragement not just to read the gospel, but live it, we live in the time of deliverance, where Jesus saves us. you and me.
And yes, Satan will try to cause it to slowly slip away… and then our answer must be to cry out to God, to depend on His presence, and the blessings He pours out on us, when we are delivered….
We need to pray for each other in those moments, that we do not slink away like a coward, but instead our encouragement stimulates us to run toward Him… knowing and counting on His love.
C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).
Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997), 687.
Fazio, Mariano . Last of the Romantics: St. Josemaria in the Twenty-First Century (p. 35). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.