Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday in Pentecost, Proper 23: Protection from evil

Opening Sentence
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in you sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Commemoration: Ignatius of Antioch
Almighty God, we praise you for your bishop and martyr Ignatius of Antioch, who offered himself as grain to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts that he might present to you the pure bread of sacrifice. Accept the willing tribute of our lives, and give us a share in the pure and spotless offering of your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 119:1-24




Lessons: Jonah 1:17-2:10, Acts 27:9-26, Luke 9:1-17

O eternal and merciful God, I give eternal thanks to You that so far You have guarded me from countless evils and provided me with the protection of Your holy angels. Your gracious acts by which You have protected me from evil are even more numerous than the acts by which You give good things to me. Whenever I see others suffer evils of body and soul, I acknowledge Your kind mercy toward me. If, indeed, I am free from such cares and evils, I owe this only to Your goodness.

How great is the power of the devil. How great is his deceitfulness. Every time that wicked spirit, our powerfully cunning enemy, has tried to condemn me, I have been able to flee his net and find safety behind the shield of Your kindness and the protection of the angels. Can anyone count the traps of the devil? Who can count the times You have protected us from his traps? When I sleep, Your providential eye watches over me to prevent that hellish enemy, who walks around like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), from surprising me with his traps and powers. When Satan attacks me with his temptations by day, the strength of Your right hand comforts me in the kindest way and prevents that deceitful tempter from enticing me into his snares. When a countless army of evils threatens me, the camps of Your angels (Psalm 34:7) surround me, like a wall of fire (Zechariah 2:5).

Even the most trifling and insignificant creature threatens me with various dangers. How great and boundless is Your kindness that You keep me safe from them. My soul and body are inclined to fall  into sin. Because this is so, kindest Father, You rule my soul by Your Spirit, my body by an angelic shield. You command Your angels to guard me wherever I go and to support me with their hands so my feet are not dashed against a stone (Psalm 91:11-12). Because of Your mercy, I am not destroyed. New dangers surround me every day, therefore Your mercies are new to me every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). You do not slumber or sleep, O faithful and watchful Keeper of soul and body (Psalm 121:4). Your grace is the shade at my right hand that keeps the scorching midday rays of open and harsh persecution from striking me down and guards me from the calamities and hidden ambushes of the night (Psalm 121:6). You watch over my coming in, direct my going forth, and govern my going out (Psalm 121:8). For this kindness, I will sing praise eternally to You and to Your name. Amen.

Johann Gerhard

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