Advent 2022: Day 4

Psalm 34 – I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.


Basil the Great: He who has despised present things, and has given himself to the word of God and is using his mind for thoughts that are above and are more divine, he would be the one who has a contrite heart and has made it a sacrifice that is not despised by the Lord. For “a contrite and humbled heart, O God, you will not despise.” … He who has no vanity and is not proud of anything human, he is the one who is contrite in heart and humble of spirit.

Augustine: These are the great mysteries, brothers and sisters. God is above all things; if you lift yourself up, you do not touch him, but if you humble yourself, he comes down to you.


Devotional Prayer based on today’s readings

Almighty and merciful God, I pray for a heart that extols you in all seasons and all times. During times of plenty and times of need. When my circumstances appear hopeless and when my cup overflows. I humbly ask you to let praise and adoration always be upon my lips and in my soul. Let this praise and adoration animate my life – my thoughts, words, deeds, and desires.

Father, in every instance that I have sought you, I have found you. In fact, I have discovered that you never left my side. Never have you left nor abandoned me. More than that, it was only by your strength that I was able to call out for you, to search for you, and to “find” you, though in reality, you found me.

Please fill me with a reverential awe of who you are, of all you have done, and all you have promised to do. With the saints who have come before, let the deepest longing of my heart also be to know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly. Remind me daily that in you I lack nothing. Indeed Lord, I have tasted and know with all my heart that you are good, and your goodness is plentiful.

Let my life reflect yours. Help me to be holy as you are holy. I want to love as you love. Lead me away from temptation and deliver me from evil. I desire to keep you ever before me and to pursue you all my days. I praise you that you are not a distant, faraway deity, but a loving Father who is close to the brokenhearted, and when I cry out, you are there. When I seek, you reveal yourself. When I knock, you answer. When I’m in need, you provide. O gracious God, you are too wonderful for words to express. So please receive this meager effort to adore and thank you. Amen.

Gratitude for Light: A Prayer

O Lord, we give you thanks that you have not left us in the dark to grope blindly through this world. Instead, in your grace and love you have given us your commandments. Help us keep them to the end. Enable us, in your strength, to keep your law and observe it with all our heart. Lead us with your Spirit so that we are not merely doing our duty, but delighting in walking the path you have set before us. Turn us away from the worthless things in this world which distract and lead us astray, and instead, give us the fullness of life you have promised us in Christ our Lord. For it is in his name for his sake we pray. Amen. (from Psalm 119:33-40)