Wednesday, April 11, 2007

11/04/07 Wednesday in Easter Week


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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, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 136; PM Psalm 118
Dan. 12:1-4,13; Acts 4:1-12 or 1 Cor. 15:51-58; John 16:1-15

From Forward Day by Day:

Acts 3:1-10. "I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you..."

"What I have, I give you," Peter and John said to the lame man. They told him to stand and walk in Jesus' name. We pray for healing but we seldom say "Stand up!" We're not willing to risk the possibility that we'll say it and...nothing happens. But, how bad would that be? Does God need shielding from failure and embarrassment? The God who raised Jesus?

Could it be that we don't see many miracles because we don't ask, or we don't ask in the way Peter and John did? Back then, folks understood God as holy and unfathomable. If a believer called on God for a miracle, and it didn't happen, the believer would assume that God was being God. Who can know his purposes? Today, we pray, and if no healing comes, the sick person may say, "It's my fault; I must lack faith." Or family members will say it, or we, the ones who prayed. But can we, by faith, heal anyone? Or by faith, earn healing, forcing God's hand? Jesus restored us to the Father and gives us the same instructions he gave Peter and John: pray in my name, heal in my name--and expect folks to be walking, leaping, praising God!

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Nebraska (Prov. VI, U.S.)
++++++++++ Reflections

ll things praise You, Lord of all the World!
St Teresa of Jesus
Life, 25.17

Reading from the Desert Christians

It was said of Abba John the Persian that when some evildoers came to him, he took a basin and wanted to wash their feet. But they were filled with confusion, and began to do penance.

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

R. Li'ezer ha-Moda'i said, He that profanes things sacred, and contemns the festivals, and annuls the covenant of Abraham our father, and acts barefacedly against the Thorah, even though he be a doer of good works, has no portion in the world to come.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Ways to Self-knowledge

"Know yourself" is good advice. But to know ourselves doesn't mean to analyse ourselves. Sometimes we want to know ourselves as if we were machines that could be taken apart and put back together at will. At certain critical times in our lives it might be helpful to explore in some detail the events that led us to our crises, but we make a mistake when we think that we can ever completely understand ourselves and explain the full meaning of our lives to others.

Solitude, silence, and prayer are often the best ways to self-knowledge. Not because they offer solutions for the complexity of our lives but because they bring us in touch with our sacred center, where God dwells. That sacred center may not be analysed. It is the place of adoration, thanksgiving, and praise.

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

Day Eleven - The Third Aim, cont'd

Although we possess property and earn money to support ourselves and our families, wo show ourselves to be true followers of Christ and of Saint Francis by our readiness to live simply and to share with others. We recognize that some of our members may be called to a literal following of Saint Francis in a life of extreme simplicity. All of us, however, accept that we avoid luxury and waste, and regard our possessions as being held in trust for God.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

PHYSICISTS TODAY ARE POINTING OUT that our sun is one of millions of suns in our galaxy and our galaxy is one of more than 150 billion-plus galaxies! And when I think about that, my mouth gapes open in awe.

Yet God’s greatness is not the most awesome discovery. The most awesome is what we learn from revelation — that the God of 150 billion-plus galaxies cares about me, about you, grains of sand on an endless seashore. That, you see, is what the whole of revelation tells us, that God, the God of this vast universe, loves us with an infinite love. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That proves God’s love,” the Apostle Paul put it (Rom. 5:8, author’s translation).

- E. Glenn Hinson
Spiritual Preparation for Christian Leadership

From Spiritual Preparation for Christian Leadership by E. Glenn Hinson. Copyright © 1999 by E. Glenn Hinson.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"The Risen Jesus: God's Hidden Plan"

You cannot see Jesus until you have believed in him (see John 20:16, 28). If you accept that there was a Resurrection, that will not necessarily lead to faith. But if you receive the gift of faith, you will necessarily experience the Resurrection. "And that joy no one shall take from you" (John 16:22). We cannot see love itself, but we can see what happens to those who have been loved. We can see the power and gentleness of those who let themselves be loved by Jesus. We know that there is endless life welling up within us. We know that when we dare to look at others with "unveiled" faces, they begin "reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord and all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit.... And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:18, 17, JB).

from unpublished sermon notes

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

The first and second resurrection

Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. Christ is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep and the firstborn from the dead. His resurrection, which is the prototype of all others, has guaranteed the rising of our souls in the first resurrection and of our bodies in the second, for he offers his own risen body to our souls as sacrament and to our bodies as exemplar. Even for our souls Christ's single resurrection has prepared a twofold grace: through the living out of the paschal mystery in our daily lives we rise from the death of sin, and by our joyful celebration of the paschal feast today especially we rouse ourselves from the torpor of sleep. Slothful and half-hearted indeed must that person be who does not feel a thrill of joy, a sense of new life and vigor, at the glad cry: The Lord is risen! For myself, when I looked upon the dead Jesus I was overwhelmed by despairing grief, but in the living God, as scripture says, my heart and my flesh rejoice. It is with no mean profit to faith, no slight dividend of joy, that Jesus returns to me from the tomb, for I recognize the living God where only a little while ago I mourned a dead man. My heart was sorrowing for him as slain, but now that he is risen, not only my heart but my flesh also rejoices in the confident hope of my own resurrection and immortality.

Guerric of Igny,(1070 - 1157), abbot of the Cistercian abbey of Igny, lived a life of retired study and prayer and left a collection of Sunday and feast day homilies.

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


"For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection." Romans 6:5

Co-Resurrection. The proof that I have been through crucifixion with Jesus is that I have a decided likeness to Him. The incoming of the Spirit of Jesus into me readjusts my personal life to God. The resurrection of Jesus has given Him authority to impart the life of God to me, and my experimental life must be constructed on the basis of His life. I can have the resurrection life of Jesus now, and it will show itself in holiness.

The idea all through the apostle Paul's writings is that after the moral decision to be identified with Jesus in His death has been made, the resurrection life of Jesus invades every bit of my human nature. It takes omnipotence to live the life of the Son of God in mortal flesh. The Holy Spirit cannot be located as a Guest in a house, He invades everything. When once I decide that my "old man" (i.e., the heredity of sin) should be identified with the death of Jesus, then the Holy Spirit invades me. He takes charge of everything, my part is to walk in the light and to obey all that He reveals. When I have made the moral decision about sin, it is easy to reckon actually that I am dead unto sin, because I find the life of Jesus there all the time. Just as there is only one stamp of humanity, so there is only one stamp of holiness, the holiness of Jesus, and it is His holiness that is gifted to me. God puts the holiness of His Son into me, and I belong to a new order spiritually.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

HIS soul will never starve for exploits or excitements who is wise enough to be made a fool of. He will make himself happy in the traps that have been laid for him; he will roll in their nets and sleep. All doors will fly open to him who has a mildness more defiant than mere courage. The whole is unerringly expressed in one fortunate phrase -- he will be always 'taken in.' To be taken in everywhere is to see the inside of everything. It is the hospitality of circumstance. With torches and trumpets, like a guest, the greenhorn is taken in by Life. And the sceptic is cast out by it.

'Charles Dickens.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 58: On the Manner of Receiving Sisters

When anyone is newly come for the reformation of her life,
let her not be granted an easy entrance;
but, as the Apostle says,
"Test the spirits to see whether they are from God."
If the newcomer, therefore, perseveres in her knocking,
and if it is seen after four or five days
that she bears patiently the harsh treatment offered her
and the difficulty of admission,
and that she persists in her petition,
then let entrance be granted her,
and let her stay in the guest house for a few days.

After that let her live in the novitiate,
where the novices study, eat and sleep.
A senior shall be assigned to them who is skilled in winning souls,
to watch over them with the utmost care.
Let her examine whether the novice is truly seeking God,
and whether she is zealous
for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials.
Let the novice be told all the hard and rugged ways
by which the journey to God is made.

If she promises stability and perseverance,
then at the end of two months
let this rule be read through to her,
and let her be addressed thus:
"Here is the law under which you wish to fight.
If you can observe it, enter;
if you cannot, you are free to depart."
If she still stands firm,
let her be taken to the above-mentioned novitiate
and again tested in all patience.
And after the lapse of six months let the Rule be read to her,
that she may know on what she is entering.
And if she still remains firm,
after four months let the same Rule be read to her again.

Then, having deliberated with herself,
if she promises to keep it in its entirety
and to observe everything that is commanded,
let her be received into the community.
But let her understand that,
according to the law of the Rule,
from that day forward she may not leave the monastery
nor withdraw her neck from under the yoke of the Rule
which she was free to refuse or to accept
during that prolonged deliberation.

Bright Wednesday, April 11, 2007 Christ is Risen! Calinicos,
Bishop of Rimnicu
3rd Vigil of Pascha: Exodus 12:1-11 Apostle: Acts 2:22-36 Gospel:
St. John 1:36-51

Pascha: Exodus 12:1-11, especially vs. 11: "It is a Passover to the
Lord." In the original, this verse is a brief, three-word sentence,
with the form of the verb, esti = is, being placed in between pascha =
(a) Passover and kyrio = (to the) Lord. Thus in transliterated form:
pascha esti kyrio. Thus, while pascha may be translated as Passover, it
is quite recognizable to English-speaking Orthodox Christians as
Pascha. "Today a sacred Pascha is revealed to us. Pascha new and holy,
Pascha mystical, Pascha all laudable, Pascha which is Christ the Redeemer."

This present passage from Exodus records the events from the primary
source of what has become our "new and holy" Passover - our Christian
Pascha. Exodus 12:1-11 records a night long before the birth of Christ
in the age of the great Prophet and Seer, Moses, during which "the
destroyer" of God passed through Egypt bringing death to the first-born
of the Egyptians but passing over the homes of the people of Israel (Ex.
12:23-23). At the Lord's directive, the Israelites took of the blood of
a lamb, and "put it on the two door-posts, and on the lintel, in the
houses in which soever they" ate the Passover meal (Ex. 12:7). Thus,
their homes were marked and their first-born were defended and delivered
by the Lord God Himself - unlike the Egyptians.

How then, from this ancient Israelite beginning, did we come to speak of
our great Christian celebration of the Feast of the Lord Jesus'
Resurrection as Pascha? The obvious connection lies in the borrowing of
the Hebrew word pesach into the Greek language as pascha. This may be
seen in the Septuagint version of Moses' text quoted above and, that
adoption prepared the way for a further borrowing from Greek into
English. But there are connections far deeper than mere linguistic
borrowing that lie between the Jewish Pesach and the Christian Pascha.
The Christian Pascha certainly has it roots on the events of the night
in which the Lord Jesus ate the ancient Jewish Passover with His
Disciples and plainly identified the emergence of a New Covenant in His
blood (Mk. 14:16,24).

For this reason, the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews
describes the Lord Jesus as "the Mediator of the New Covenant, and...the
blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel" (Heb.
12:24). All the Apostles who touched and handled the risen Lord
following His Resurrection, having witnessed both His crucifixion and
His triumph over death, perceived the blood that the Lord shed as a
fulfillment of the prophetic promise of Jeremiah: "Behold, the days are
coming, says the Lord when I will make a new covenant with the house of
Israel and with the house of Judah -- not according to the covenant that
I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to
lead them out of the land of Egypt" (Jer 31:31,32; Heb. 8:8, 9).

"Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the
feast" (1 Cor. 5:7,8). The Passover of ancient Israel led to the Pascha
we have from Christ our Lord! As with Passover, our Pascha is the
beginning of each Christian year, when the cycle of readings in Holy
Scripture begins anew (see Ex. 12:2). The Forerunner identified the
Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (Jn.
1:29), Who was "unblemished" as a Passover sacrifice (see Ex. 12:5).
Furthermore, "Not one of His bones {was] broken" (Jn 19:36; Ex. 12:10).

Moses instructed the children of Israel to partake of the Passover in a
state of readiness for their departure from Egypt (Ex. 12:11).
Likewise, we who celebrate Christ, a living and risen Pascha, need to be
ready by seeking "those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting
at the right hand of God" [and set our minds] on things above, not on
things on the earth" (Col. 3:1,2).

We praise Thee for Thy glorious Resurrection, for Thou art the very
Paschal Lamb which was offered for us, and hath by Thy death destroyed
death and restored to us everlasting life.

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