The New Testament reading for the fifteenth Sunday after Trinity reminds us that we cannot serve two masters, God and mammon, while the Collect for the day speaks of our frailty and aptness to “fall”. Mammon represents a slavishness to money and to material wealth in the pursuit of which men willingly forfeit their freedom. It is in this sense – most aptly described in Meditations on the Tarot – that we are to consider the arcanum of the (15) Devil this week:
The Card does not suggest the metaphysics of evil, but rather an eminently practical lesson as to how it happens that beings can forfeit their freedom and become slaves of a monstrous entity which makes them degenerate by rendering them similar to it.
The theme of the fifteenth Arcanum of the Tarot is one of the generation of demons and of the power that they have over those who generate them. It is the Arcanum of the creation of artificial beings and of the slavery into which the creature can fall – becoming a slave of his own creation.Mediations on the Tarot, p. 404
The generation of demons occurs when thoughts are emotionalized to a high degree by the subconscious mind, as expressed by Job in the Old Testament Reading for today. In The Miracle of Mind Dynamics J. Murphy writes,
Thoughts which are emotionalized are dramatized into experience by the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind takes a great fear as a request and manifests it on the screen of space. What we sow we surely reap.J. Murphy, The Miracle of Mind Dynamics, p. 48
Keep, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.Book of Common Prayer
Old Testament Reading
The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.Job 3: 25
New Testament Reading
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.Matthew 6: 24-29
Notes: No Gloria is said after the Old Testament reading today. It is, as it were, a negative reading, that is, not something to be followed but to be avoided. It is answered by the last verse of the New Testament reading, “Consider the lilies…” (after which the Gloria may be chanted.)
An icon is to be placed above the liturgical tarot so that we may avert our eyes from the fifteenth arcana when in prayer.
Ego sum lux mundi;
non potesti Deo servire et mammonae.I am the light of the world; ye cannot serve God and mammon.