Monday, April 02, 2007

02/04/07 Monday in Holy Week, 2007


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Blessed are those for whom Easter is...
not a hunt, but a find;
not a greeting, but a proclamation;
not outward fashions, but inward grace;
not a day, but an eternity.


Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 51:1-18(19-20); PM Psalm 69:1-23
Jer. 12:1-16; Phil. 3:1-14; John 12:9-19

From Forward Day by Day:

Hebrews 11:39-12:3. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses...let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us...

Who is in your "cloud of witnesses?" I love this passage. It always brings to mind the people in my life who pointed me toward my loving Lord. The very language is poetry, especially when reminded that Jesus died not as a dreadful duty, or in pure obedience, but "for the sake of the joy that was set before him." That brings to mind a common characteristic shared by every person proclaimed a saint: joy. Piety isn't enough, good works aren't enough. Apparently the Father likes to hear his children laugh!

My first "witness" was my grandmother. I can count on both hands the number of times I saw her, because we lived more than a 1,000 miles apart. Yet she had a profound impact on me: she sent me books. In fifth grade she sent me Black Beauty and a Bible. I read the horse story first; it had better pictures. When I picked up the Bible, there was a note inside telling me to read the gospel of Luke and then, Acts. Well, the story was a little repetitive and the wording odd, but she had never sent me a boring book, so I kept reading. At some point in the middle of Acts, I recall saying aloud "This is a true story. I believe this!"

These days, I wonder: am I in anyone's "cloud of witnesses?" I pray it may be so.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Namirembe (Uganda)

40 Ideas for Lent: A Lenten calendar


Listen to someone without interrupting. Try doing it in all your conversations during this week.

Idea by: frin

Lent quote: "Acquire the spirit of peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved." – Seraphim of Sarov

A Celtic lenten Calendar

From the beginning
you knew the final outcome
watched as the jigsaw pieces
were slotted into place
saw the significance of every moment.
As your body was anointed with oil
at the table of Simon the Leper
the picture was becoming clearer
not only in your eyes
but to an unknown woman
and one of your closest friends.
Judas sensed that this was his moment
sacrificing trust
that had been so freely given
on the altar of selfish gain
for his fifteen allotted minutes of fame
and thirty pieces of silver
The woman recognised the moment.
She gave generously
a costly gift, freely offered.
A fragrant sacrifice of perfume and love
remembered forever in your heart.
And as Judas slipped away unnoticed
your disciples saw none of this
failed to see the significance of the moment.
Two sacrifices, one of trust
and one of love.
But you noticed, Lord
as you notice each day
our sacrificial offering
and betrayal
++++++++++ Reflections

I open the Scriptures... then all appears clear, full of light... holiness appears easy.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

The old man (abba John the Dwarf) said, 'You know that the first blow the devil gave to Job was through his possessions; and he saw that he had not grieved him nor separated him from God. Whith the second blow, he touched his flesh, but the brave athlete did not sin by any word that came out of his mouth in that either. In fact, he had within his heart that which is of God, and he drew on that source unceasingly.'

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

R. Tarphon said, The day is short, and the task is great, and the workmen are sluggish, and the reward is much, and the Master of the house is urgent. He said, It is not for thee to finish the work, nor art thou free to desist therefrom; if thou hast learned much Thorah, they give thee much reward; and faithful is the Master of thy work, who will pay thee the reward of thy work, and know that the recompence of the reward of the righteous is for the time to come.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Dignity to Give and Receive

"Nobody is so poor that he/she has nothing to give, and nobody is so rich that he/she has nothing to receive." These words by Pope John-Paul II, offer a powerful direction for all who want to work for peace. No peace is thinkable as long as the world remains divided into two groups: those who give and those who receive. Real human dignity is found in giving as well as receiving. This is true not only for individuals but for nations, cultures, and religious communities as well.

A true vision of peace sees a continuous mutuality between giving and receiving. Let's never give anything without asking ourselves what we are receiving from those to whom we give, and let's never receive anything without asking what we have to give to those from whom we receive.

The Merton Reflection for the Week of April 2, 2007
“The Christian has no Law but Christ. Our “Law” is the new life itself which has been given to us in Christ. Our Law is not written in books but in the depths of our own hearts, not by the pen of human beings but by the finger of God. Our duty is now not just to obey but to live. We do not have to save ourselves, we are saved by Christ. We must live to God in Christ, not only as they who seek salvation but as they who are saved."
Seasons of Celebration [SC]. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1950: 147

Thought to Remember:
"But now the power of Easter has burst upon us with the resurrection of Christ. Now we find in ourselves a strength which is not our own, and which is freely given to us whenever we need it, raising us above the Law, giving us a new law which is hidden in Christ: the law of His merciful love for us." SC: 145

Almost Daily Emo


A week that looks long from the beginning will hurtle to its conclusion rather quickly, as the terrible events all pile up at the end. Modern scholars differ on the actions and motivations of the principal characters, but we all know how it ended: for us, if not for them, an inevitable death hangs over everything.

But it is only Monday. You have time. Perhaps you know from your own walks with the dying what it is like a few days before it happens, when you both do and do not acknowledge what is ahead. Sometimes you think things are looking up: a set of more encouraging test readings, an entire day with less pain, and you begin allowing yourself to hope that the cup of loss will pass from you both. And then things turn again, the main direction of the march reveals itself, and your hope deflates. Sometimes you even wish it would just hurry up and happen, so it would be over. And then you recoil from the wish, because you remember what it will mean.

As the week goes on, we will move farther and farther from our culture's steadfast euphemizing of death. To our friends who do not believe, we will seem for a few days like people from another time and another place, medieval people, the credulous natives of a more primitive age. We will venture out, from time to time, to buy a ham or a leg of lamb, a few dozen eggs, a rabbit made of chocolate. We will clear the dining table and the living room, and run through our Sunday menus in our minds. But mostly we will wait and listen to the story of some people in ancient times who lost everything, filling in the blanks they left with our own memories of ourselves.

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Crafton -

From the Principles of the Third Society of St. Francis:

Day Two - The Object, cont'd

In the example of his own sacrifice, Jesus reveals the secret of bearing fruit. In surrendering himself to death, he becomes the source of new life. Lifted from the earth on the cross, he draws all people to himself. Clinging to life causes life to decay; the life that is freely given is eternal.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

I come seeking quiet communion with you.
In this place apart from confusion and stress,
grant me stillness of heart
and quietness in thy presence.

- Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck
A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People

From page 159 of A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People by Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck. Copyright © 1990 by Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"The Lord's Prayer"

Jesus is set free in the relationship which he has learned from the Spirit - that he is a son of a loving father. Notice the absolute God-centeredness of his prayer: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven." These are all said as imperatives, not requests! With the authority of daughters and sons, we are saying to God, Do it! "Give us today our daily bread." Give us each day the manna you gave our fathers in the desert, just enough for the day so that we will trust you tomorrow. "Forgive us the wrong we have done as we forgive those who have wronged us." (Matthew 6:9-13) Why would God give us anything we ourselves were not willing to work for? We don't want it very bad if we are not cooperating in the effort. We pray, "Do it, God!", but also, "We will do it, too!" God creates and invites us to co-create. What trust and infinite patience!

from The Great Themes of Scripture

From John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., Tradition Day by Day: Readings from Church Writers. Augustinian Press. Villanova, PA, 1994.

Be converted with a sincere heart

Fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Inflamed with love for us, he came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sake he endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain. He himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love. We, then, are to be patient in adversity.

Put aside your hatred and animosity. Take pains to refrain from sharp words. If they escape your lips, do not be ashamed to let your lips produce the remedy, since they have caused the wounds. Pardon one another so that later on you will not remember the injury. The recollection of an injury is itself wrong. It adds to our anger, nurtures our sin, and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow and poison for the soul. It puts all virtue to flight. It is like a worm in the mind: it confuses our speech and tears to shreds our petitions to God. It is foreign to charity: it remains planted in the soul like a nail. It is wickedness that never sleeps, sin that never fails. It is indeed a daily death.

Francis de Paola, (1416 - 1507) followed the ideal of Saint Francis and typified that constant renewal in the Church in the spirit of the desert fathers.

Daily Readings From "My Utmost for His Highest", Oswald Chambers


"The Lord . . . hath sent me that thou mightest receive thy sight." Acts 9:17

When Paul received his sight, he received spiritually an insight into the Person of Jesus Christ, and the whole of his subsequent life and preaching was nothing but Jesus Christ - "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." No attraction was ever allowed to hold the mind and soul of Paul save the face of Jesus Christ.

We have to learn to maintain an unimpaired state of character up to the last notch revealed in the vision of Jesus Christ.

The abiding characteristic of a spiritual man is the interpretation of the Lord Jesus Christ to himself, and the interpretation to others of the purposes of God. The one concentrated passion of the life is Jesus Christ. Whenever you meet this note in a man, you feel he is a man after God's own heart.

Never allow anything to deflect you from insight into Jesus Christ. It is the test of whether you are spiritual or not. To be unspiritual means that other things have a growing fascination for you.

"Since mine eyes have looked on Jesus,
I've lost sight of all beside,
So enchained my spirit's vision,
Gazing on the Crucified."

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 51: On Brethren Who Go Not Very Far Away

A Brother who is sent out on some business
and is expected to return to the monastery that same day
shall not presume to eat while he is out,
even if he is urgently requested to do so
by any person whomsoever,
unless he has permission from his Abbot.
And if he acts otherwise, let him be excommunicated.


Benedictine spirituality, this chapter implies, is not a set of rules; it is a way of life. Being out of the monastery does not relieve the monastic of the obligation to be what we say we are-- simple, centered in God, in search of higher things. What life demands from us is the single-minded search for God, not a series of vacations from our best selves. The point is a clear one: being a religious is full-time identity; being business people does not give us the right to do during the week what we tell ourselves on Sunday that we shun; being American does not give us the right to be less Christian in order to be more patriotic; being rich does not give us the right to forget the poor. No Christian ever has the right to be less than the Gospels demand of them wherever they are.

Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan
Read Excerpts from the Church Fathers during Lent

St. Ambrose of Milan: Concerning the Mysteries: 1-4

Great and Holy Monday, April 2, 2007 Holy Week Fast Titos the
6th Hour: Ezekiel 1:1-20 1st Vespers: Exodus 1:1-20 2nd
Vespers: Job 1:1-12

The Radiant Throne: Ezekiel 1:1-20 LXX, especially vs. 13: "And in the
midst of the living creatures there was an appearance as of burning
coals among the living creatures; and the brightness of fire, and out of
the fire came forth lightning." At 6th Hour during the first three days
of Great and Holy Week are readings which record the theophany through
which God calls Ezekiel to be His Prophet: in the first reading -
surrounded by Cherubim, a radiant moving throne appears amidst light,
fire, and lightning (vs. 1:13). In the second, God commands Ezekiel to
attend to His word (Ezek. 2:1). Then, in the third, God reveals words
of "Lamentation, and mournful song, and woe," which oddly taste "as
sweet as honey" (Ezek. 2:10; 3:3).

God calls Ezekiel to reveal a great truth to the ancient People of God:
both to those deported with their king and enslaved in Babylon, and to
those still in Judah. The latter, though not yet deported, soon will
either die or be enslaved for rebellion against the Babylonians,
thrusting the entire nation into affliction. The Church reads these
lessons at the beginning of our devotions to the Lord Jesus' Passion to
remind us of His great faithfulness to His People - that even in times
of unspeakable anguish He will bring salvation. These lessons at Sixth
Hour are followed immediately by readings from the Passion narratives,
thereby making a connection between the heavenly glory of God and the
Passion of the Incarnate Christ.

The first reading - the one for today - focuses on God's radiant throne,
a massive chariot (vss. 13-20) escorted by four gleaming Cherubim,
herein called "living creatures" (vss. 5-12,15-20). The Prophet begins
by identifying himself, his age, his status as a Levitical priest, and
as a deported slave in captivity (vss. 1-3). Then, he describes the
heavenly throne and the Cherubim in great detail. The Divine appearance
comes with wind and cloud, "gleaming fire" and "brightness in it" (vs.
4), accompanied by the four majestic beings (vss. 5-12) and moved by the
Spirit of the Living God (vs. 20). What can we make of this mystical
vision of God's throne?

Begin with Ezekiel. By heredity, through his father, Buzi, Ezekiel was
a descendant of Aaron; and qualified to serve as an Aaronic priest (vs.
3). At thirty years of age, he was eligible for the first time to serve
as a priest in the Temple. But how could he begin this sacred service?
The only site at which God's ancient priests served was in the Temple at
Jerusalem. Ezekiel was a deportee, a captive, and slave in pagan
Babylon, far from the Temple.

However, my soul, consider that Christ our God hath made thee His royal
priest. Although He now reigns from His glorious throne, yet our Lord
Jesus, like Ezekiel, became a slave - in the Babylon of sin and death -
to free thee. The mercy of God! Priests like Ezekiel, under the Old
Covenant, offered "repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take
away sins" (Heb. 10:11), yet we boldly "enter the Holiest by the blood
of Jesus"(Heb. 10:19), because our Savior chose us as "a royal
priesthood...His own special people that [we] may proclaim the praises
of Him Who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Pet.
2:9). Blessed be our gracious High Priest!

Consider also, my soul, the glory of God disclosed to Ezekiel so vividly
- sweeping wind, a great cloud, brightness and gleaming fire (vss. 4,13)
- the same Uncreated Light revealed on Tabor to show thee the One Who
died on the throne of the Cross for thee. Bow before Him!

Consider the four "living creatures" (vss. 5-20). Ezekiel shared his
vision of the Cherubim surrounding the glorious throne, moved by the
Spirit of God (vss. 12,20). Recall also the Lord on His Throne of the
Cross with angels worshiping Him. Worship thou Him!

The whole creation, beholding Thee crucified, trembled; and the
foundations of the earth shook for dread of Thy might. Glory to Thee
Who wast crucified and rose from the dead.


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