Tuesday, April 03, 2007

03/04/07 Tuesday in Hly 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.

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 6, 12; PM Psalm 94
Jer. 15:10-21; Phil. 3:15-21; John 12:20-26

From Forward Day by Day:
John 12:37-38, 42-50. Nonetheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But they did not confess it...for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.

In the Bible I grew up reading, this verse says "for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." I used to read it and stop in my tracks. Still do. It reminds me that, too often, I stand right there with the Pharisees. I back off speaking the truth for fear of being labeled a Bible-thumping weirdo. One who is, know...a little too fervent, who makes people uncomfortable.

Last week, standing in line at the grocery store, I noticed the checker was in distress. As she finished the order ahead of mine, she clearly was on the verge of tears. I wanted to speak to her, to tell her that even in the middle of pain, even in the middle of a mess, she could still reach out for God's peace and find it.

As my turn came, I realized that the folks in line behind me were straining forward, listening, curious to know what was bothering the young woman. Saying anything religious seemed too much. So I said something bland and left.

Praise. Approval. Acceptance. All so hard to risk.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Nandyal (South India)

40 Ideas for Lent: A Lenten calendar

Buy something to give to a homeless person instead of money: a sandwich, some chocolate, even a hat or scarf for the cold. Look them in the eyes when you give it to them.

Idea by: Veronica Zundel

Lent quote: "I have so much to do today that I need to spend the first three hours in prayer!" – Martin Luther

A Celtic lenten Calendar

There are people we like
and those we do not
but the difficult situations arise
when those we love turn against us
for no logical reason
We are hurt and angry at such betrayal
when someone who has shared our lives
should now use that knowledge against us.
It is a broken relationship, Lord
almost impossible to repair.
That you should share bread and wine
at the same table as Judas
knowing the secrets of his heart
That you could share your love
knowing what was to follow
on the road to Calvary
defies our human understanding.
And yet, Lord this is the road
you would have us follow
the road that leads to the cross
the road that only makes sense
when seen through your eyes
the road of sacrificial love
++++++++++ Reflections

The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother.
St Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

(Abba Isidore) said, 'When I was younger and remained in my cell I set no limit to prayer; the night was for me as much the time of prayer as the day.'

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

'Aqabiah ben Mahalaleel said, Consider three things, and thou wilt not come into the hands of transgression. Know whence thou camest; and whither thou art going; and before whom thou art about to give account and reckoning

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Importance of Receiving

Receiving often is harder than giving. Giving is very important: giving insight, giving hope, giving courage, giving advice, giving support, giving money, and, most of all, giving ourselves. Without giving there is no brotherhood and sisterhood.

But receiving is just as important, because by receiving we reveal to the givers that they have gifts to offer. When we say, "Thank you, you gave me hope; thank you, you gave me a reason to live; thank you, you allowed me to realise my dream," we make givers aware of their unique and precious gifts. Sometimes it is only in the eyes of the receivers that givers discover their gifts.

The Almost Daily Emo:


Do you train for your own death? Does a person make sure he's in good shape, that he's not tired, that he's had enough to eat and enough to drink? Does he wear an extra layer of clothing, in case the weather turns cooler?

How was he feeling? What if he had a cold? What if his head ached anyway, and then he was taken away for more pain, inflicted by people who didn't care how he felt?

Such thoughts must have been in the minds of many who loved him -- his mom, most of all, the woman who had cared for his body since he was too little to do anything for himself, the woman who had called after him for years, as he left the house: Don't forget your lunch! Did you take an extra pair of socks?

Begging him to reconsider the whole thing had not worked. We have a hint that there might have been a desperate ploy on her part, a visit to the place where he was speaking one day to try and get him to come home, maybe even a hope that she could cover him in some way by making people think he was crazy. Maybe if they thought he was just another lunatic they'd let her take him home where he would be safe. But he wasn't crazy, and he wouldn't come home.

How he felt, whether he was warm enough, whether his cold was better, all of the things that had filled so many of her days for so many years -- all beside the point now. Once in a while she approached him with a question; once she even felt his forehead, and he all but brushed her aside. It was too late now. He was intent on a process had begun that couldn't be arrested.

And so she became part of it, too, without a word. Took her place among the women who were shopping, indeed, already cooking for the meal on Thursday, making his favorite foods just the way he liked them. If it were not to be his last meal, it was certain that it would be one of them; she was sure of that. She tasted a dish, and it was like sawdust in her mouth.

But she knew it was perfect, because hadn't she been making it just this way, and her mother before her just this way, for years and years? And she turned it out into a serving bowl and covered it with a cloth. There was still much to do, here in this kitchen that was not her kitchen, in this city that was not her city. Nothing is where it's supposed to be, she said to herself. But still, she would make sure he was ready.

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Crafton -

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

Day Three - The Object, cont'd

Jesus calls those who would serve him to follow his example and choose for themselves the same path of renunciation and sacrifice. To those who hear and obey he promises union with God. The object of the Society of Saint Francis is to build a community of those who accept Christ as their Lord and Master and are dedicated to him in body and spirit. They surrender their lives to him and to the service of his people. The Third Order of the Society consists of those who, while following the ordinary professions of life, feel called to dedicate their lives under a definite discipline and vows. They may be female or male, married or single, ordained or lay.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

SOMETIMES you are in so much pain that you cannot pray. When you try, your prayer seems to fall with a thud to the floor, and when you try to open yourself to God’s presence, you encounter a whole lot of nothing. God seems to have vanished, and all you have left are emotions and spirit tangled with pain, anger, and desolation. …

At this point grace comes in. Your groping desire for God is enough; God can listen to the prayer you can’t yet articulate.

- Tilda Norberg
Ashes Transformed

From page 27 of Ashes Transformed by Tilda Norberg. Copyright © 2002 by Tilda Norberg

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"The Time Is Here!"

Salvation is now. We have a tendency to point ourselves backward or forward in time, but the Gospels say either we are letting Jesus save us now or we aren't letting him save us at all. It's called the always-available grace of the present moment. But it's the first word Jesus preaches: "The time is now! The Kingdom is present and here. Turn around. Believe the Good News" (Mark 1:15). In these four phrases we have the summation of all of Jesus' teaching. It's nothing esoteric or pseudo-mystical, just the infinite nature of now. Just let go and let yourself fall into it. It's a net you cannot fall out of. You are seeking what you already have. You have been knocking on the door from the inside.

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.

He destroyed our death

Since all human beings were subject to death, after taking from us a body like ours he delivered it up to death in the place of us all, offering it to the Father. He did this because of his love for us, so that we might all die in him, for then the law imposing death on us would be abrogated. Death's power, having been fully spent in the Lord's body, would no longer prevail against other human beings resembling him. He did it to free us from the corruptible condition into which we had fallen and to restore us to life. By making our body his own and by the grace of the resurrection he destroyed our death as completely as straw is destroyed by fire.

The Word knew that there was absolutely no way of delivering us from our state of corruptibility except by dying. Since he himself, being immortal and the Son of the Father, was incapable of dying, he took to himself a body which could die. Its participation in the Word who is above all would make it worthy to die for all. Because of the Word dwelling in it, it would remain incorruptible and all others would be freed from corruptibility by the grace of resurrection.

Athanasius of Alexandria, (296 - 373), bishop of Alexandria, was the principal defender against the Arians regarding faith in the divinity of Christ.

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


"If thou hadst known . . . in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes." Luke 19:42

Jesus had entered into Jerusalem in triumph, the city was stirred to its foundations; but a strange god was there, the pride of Pharisaism; it was religious and upright, but a "whited sepulchre."

What is it that blinds me in this "my day"? Have I a strange god - not a disgusting monster, but a disposition that rules me? More than once God has brought me face to face with the strange god and I thought I should have to yield, but I did not do it. I got through the crisis by the skin of my teeth and I find myself in the possession of the strange god still; I am blind to the things which belong to my peace. It is an appalling thing that we can be in the place where the Spirit of God should be getting at us unhinderedly, and yet increase our condemnation in God's sight.

"If thou hadst known" - God goes direct to the heart, with the tears of Jesus behind. These words imply culpable responsibility; God holds us responsible for what we do not see. "Now they are hid from thine eyes" - because the disposition has never been yielded. The unfathomable sadness of the "might have been!" God never opens doors that have been closed. He opens other doors, but He reminds us that there are doors which we have shut, doors which need never have been shut, imaginations which need never have been sullied. Never be afraid when God brings back the past. Let memory have its way. It is a minister of God with its rebuke and chastisement and sorrow. God will turn the "might have been" into a wonderful culture for the future.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 52: On the Oratory of the Monastery

Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer;
and let nothing else be done there or kept there.
When the Work of God is ended,
let all go out in perfect silence,
and let reverence for God be observed,
so that any sister who may wish to pray privately
will not be hindered by another's misconduct.
And at other times also,
if anyone should want to pray by herself,
let her go in simply and pray,
not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart.
She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore,
shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory
when the Work of God is ended,
lest another be hindered, as we have said.


Richard Sullivan, a professor of creative writing at Notre Dame University in the 60's and a writer himself, taught his classes that the two most important physical dimensions of the writing profession were time and space. "Write every single day at the same time and in the very same place," he said. "Whether you have anything to say or not, go there and sit and do nothing, if necessary, until the very act of sitting there at your writer's time in your writer's place releases the writing energy in you and begins to affect you automatically." Teachers of yoga, too, prescribe a set of basic postures and places to dispose the soul to the transcendent. Teachers of meditation prescribe times and places and mantras, a type of personal chant, to center the soul. In every tradition, in other words, we are taught that it is not a matter of separating the sacred and the secular. It is a matter of staying conscious of the fact that the sacred is in the secular. There is, in other words, such a thing as a spiritual well where simply being in that place can tap open that special part of our souls and enable us to touch the sacred in the secular. "Let the oratory be what it is called," Benedict said. Have a place where you can go in order to be about nothing but the business of being in the presence of God so that every other space in your life can become more conscious of that presence as well. More than that, Benedict asks us to be there in a special way--with quiet and with awareness, not laughing or talking or lounging or distracting but alert and immersed and enshrouded in the arms of God. Americans, of course, have made of God a casual circumstance. We have prayer meetings with coffee cups in our hands and listen to psalmody with our legs crossed and our arms spread-eagled on the backs of our pews. We avoid churches and say that since God is everywhere, anyplace is good enough. All of which is true, at one level. But, Benedictine spirituality says also that to know God in time and space we must regularly seek to find God in one time and space that enables us to recognize God more easily in every other one.

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

St. Ambrose of Milan: Concerning the Mysteries: 5-9

Great and Holy Tuesday, April 3, 2007 Holy Week Fast
Joseph the Hymnographer
6th Hour: Ezekiel 1:21-2:1 1st Vespers: Exodus 2:5-10 2nd
Vespers: Job 1:13-22

The Majestic God: Ezekiel 1:21-2:1 LXX, especially vs. 1:28-2:1: "I saw
and fell upon my face, and heard the voice of One speaking: and He said
to me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak to thee." We
continue Ezekiel's account of the vision he received "while in the midst
of the captivity" (Ezek. 1:1). The portion read on Great and Holy
Monday focuses attention on the radiant Throne that God manifested to
Ezekiel. Today, the Prophet's account turns to the Person of the Lord
God, as he integrates the description of the "four living creatures,"or
Cherubim (vss.1:5-21), into a portrayal of God enthroned in heavenly

As careful readers, let us seek to grasp the whole of this vision spread
over two lessons (vss. 4-26). The heavens open to Ezekiel through a
cloud (vs. 4). The Prophet sees four radiant Cherubim, living creatures
who fly beneath the great throne of God (vss. 5-14). The throne itself
is set up on a vast expanse of awesome crystal - called a "firmament" in
the translation (vss. 22-26), a surface akin to the pavement described
in Exodus (24:9) or the sea of crystal in Revelation (4:6). The famous
"wheels" move in perfect concert with the Cherubim (Ezek. 1:15-21). The
throne is a royal chariot, by which we understand that God travels
everywhere freely.

Certain truths concerning God emerge from this vivid imagery. He is
"everywhere present" and accompanied by the angelic hosts (vs. 21). He
is Almighty, awe-inspiring in His majesty (vs.2:1). Man is made in His
image (vs. 1:26), yet men rightfully will fall down before His majesty
(vs. 2:1). We are faced with magnificent vision of God. So then, as we
did yesterday, let us consider how we may relate this vision to the Lord
Jesus' Passion.
Remember, the Church reads the account of this vision immediately before
reading from the Passion narrative - to help us understand that we are
confronting One and the same God. Only the mortal darkness which falls
over men's hearts clouds our vision (Rom. 1:21). A godless view of life
blinds the worldly men and women of this age so that they certainly fail
to glimpse God in the broken man on the Cross, yet He is the same One
Who sits on the throne of sapphire (Ezek. 1:26). "For the message of
the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are
being saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18). As the Liturgy
states: "The whole creation, O Christ, hath been transfigured by fear at
beholding Thee suspended on the Cross." Beloved, let us cry out to Him
Who willingly endured the Cross, "O Lord, glory to Thee."

The Prophet's vision also teaches us to see power in the Cross,
unimaginable power from the source of Power - from God Himself. What
glorious irony there is in the Passion! The frail God-man stands before
Pilate. He appears merely as the victim of overwhelming forces.
Realize that such dark powers still seek to frighten men today. So let
us name and disarm them: they are demonic powers working through
political, social, and physical entities. They join together "against
the Lord and against His Christ" (Ps. 2:2 LXX), but "He that dwelleth in
the heavens shall laugh them to scorn" (Ps. 2:4 LXX). The One Who is
surrounded "...with the appearance of fire all around..." (Ezek. 1:27)
"shall herd them with a rod of iron" (Ps. 2:8 LXX).

Finally, the figure of Ezekiel prostrate before the "glory of the Lord"
incites us to humble ourselves before the Holy Lord Jesus. "O come, let
us worship and fall down before Him" (Ps. 94:6 LXX). When the evening
of Great and Holy Thursday comes, let us approach the icon of the Cross
and kiss the feet of the Almighty on His majestic throne. Is He not
speaking to us and commanding, "Son of man, stand on your feet, and I
will speak to you" (Ezek. 2:1)?

When Thou comest, O God, to earth with glory, and the river floweth
before the Altar, deliver me then from that unquenchable fire and make
me worthy to stand at Thy right hand.


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