Friday, April 13, 2007

13/04/07 Friday 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.


Almighty Father, who gave your only Son to die for our sins and to rise for our justification: Give us grace so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and 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 4:1-12. Let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth...

Five thousand people are listening to Peter and John, who have just healed the lame beggar everyone had seen every day for years, going in and out of the temple gate. "It isn't we who did this," the disciples preach. "We heal in the name of Jesus, whom you crucified and God raised up!" Peter and John are arrested.

Two miracles have just happened. One is the healing. The other is that the same men who only a few weeks before fled when Jesus was taken prisoner, who were too scared to come stand by the cross, are now speaking boldly--not just to crowds, but to the high priest himself. Peter's words are fierce with joy and conviction. They have seen their risen Lord, and now they're doing just as he said--telling everyone the good news. Moreover, they are no longer on their own. The Holy Spirit is leading them, giving confidence, wisdom, and a message.

The temple leaders thought that when they got rid of Jesus, everything would go back to the way it was. But nothing is ever the same once you make Jesus the cornerstone of your life. Like Peter and John, you're apt to discover abilities you never knew were in you.

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

I understood that love comprised all vocations, that love was everything, that it embraced all times and places, in a word, that it was eternal! ... O Jesus, my Love ... my vocation, at last I have found it, my vocation is love! the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall be Love.
St Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

The holy Fathers were making predictions about the last generation. They said 'What have we ourselves done?' One of them, the great abba Ischyrion replied, 'We ourselves have fulfilled the commandments of God.' The others replied, 'And those who come after us, what will they do?' He said, 'They will struggle to achieve half our works.' They said, 'And to those who come after them, what will happen?' He said, 'THE MEN OF THAT GENERATION WILL NOT ACCOMPLISH ANY WORKS AT ALL AND TEMPTATION WILL COME UPON THEM; AND THOSE WHO WILL BE APPROVED IN THAT DAY WILL BE GREATER THAN EITHER US OR OUR FATHERS.'


Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

He used to say, Beloved is man that he was created
22. Beloved are Israel that they are called children of God; greater love (was it that it) was made known to them that they are called children of God, as it is said, Ye are the children of the LORD your God (Deut. xiv. 1).

23. Beloved are Israel that there was given to them the instrument with which the world was created; greater love (was it that it) was made known to them that there was given to them the instrument with which the world was created, as it is said, For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not MY LAW (Prov. iv. 2).

24. Everything is foreseen; and freewill is given. And the world is judged by grace; and everything is according to work.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Shepherd and the Sheep

Spiritual leadership is the leadership of the Good Shepherd. As Jesus says, good shepherds know their sheep, and their sheep know them (see John 10:14). There must be a true mutuality between shepherds and their sheep. Good leaders know their own, and their own know them. Between them is mutual trust, mutual openness, mutual care, and mutual love. To follow our leaders we cannot be afraid of them, and to lead our followers we need their encouragement and support.

Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd to show the great intimacy that must exist between leaders and those entrusted to them. Without such intimacy, leadership easily becomes oppressive.

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

Day Thirteen - The Three Ways of Service

Tertiaries desire to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, whom we serve in the three ways of Prayer, Study, and Work. In the life of the Order as a whole these three ways must each find full and balanced expression, but it is not to be expected that all members devote themselves equally to each of them. Each individual's service varies according to his/her abilities and circumstances, yet the member's personal rule of life includes each of the three ways.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

AWAKENING to the inner garden, learning to accept it and live within it, we uncover the mysterious seed of divine life within us, lovingly energizing our lives moment to moment (1 John 3:9).

The Spirit of Christ alive in our hearts — this is the gift of contemplation, the intimacy we crave. Remaining in the garden, aware that we live and breathe and exist in God, we find strength to resist the temptation to project our thoughts into the future and to become overwhelmed with fears. Rather, we find our home in the present moment, a gate into the eternal Now. It is here in the dynamism of the present that God finds us.

- Wayne E. Simsic
“Garden Solitude”

From page 24 of Weavings Journal, January/February 2001. Copyright © 2000 by The Upper Room.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"The Promise of Jesus"

Jesus promised that when we celebrate the Eucharist, he will be present to us. That has been the unwavering faith of the Church catholic since the New Testament. The Eucharist has been at the center of our Church from the beginning, and rightly so. It has given us the power of community, the power to understand ourselves as one universal people, beyond nations and races. It's given us the power of healing and reconciliation. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, the Church is redefined as people, as a big family, around our family table, the altar. Jesus gives us himself at Eucharist to remind us: We are becoming what we eat. We are his body, we are his flesh for the life of the world. When we eat this meal we are united to Christians all over the world, who this very hour are celebrating this same Eucharist in many different languages and countries. Someone said, If we really understood Eucharist, how could there ever be war? How could we go out in that world and kill people who have eaten this same bread and have drank from this same cup? The Eucharist defines humanity as one flesh, one people, and if you hate this flesh, you hate the flesh of Christ himself. Eucharist is the gift that makes us a sacred and universal people.

from The Symbolism and Meaning of Mass

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

Grace gives rebirth

The grace of the Spirit works in a mysterious way in the font, and the outward appearance must not obscure the wonder of it. Although water serves as the instrument, it is grace which gives rebirth. Grace transforms all who are placed in the font as the seed is transformed in the womb. It refashions all who go down into the water as metal is recast in a furnace. It reveals to them the mysteries of immortality; it seals them with the pledge of resurrection.

These wonderful mysteries are symbolized for you, the newly-enlightened, even in the garments you wear. See how you are clothed in the outward signs of these blessings. The radiant brightness of your robe stands for incorruptibility. The white band encircling your head like a diadem proclaims your liberty. In your hand you hold the sign of your victory over the devil. Christ is showing you that you have risen from the dead. He does this now in a symbolic way, but soon he will reveal the full reality if we keep the garment of faith undefiled and do not let sin extinguish the lamp of grace. If we preserve the crown of the Spirit the Lord will call from heaven in a voice of tremendous majesty, yet full of tenderness: Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you.

Basil of Seleucia, (~459), archbishop of Seleucia, left thirty-nine homilies which show his concern to place the exegesis of his time within the reach of all.

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


"Cast thy burden upon the Lord." Psalm 55:22

We must distinguish between the burden-bearing that is right and the burden-bearing that is wrong. We ought never to bear the burden of sin or of doubt, but there are burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off, He wants us to roll them back on Him. "Cast that He hath given thee upon the Lord." (R.V. marg.) If we undertake work for God and get out of touch with Him, the sense of responsibility will be overwhelmingly crushing; but if we roll back on God that which He has put upon us, He takes away the sense of responsibility by bringing in the realization of Himself.

Many workers have gone out with high courage and fine impulses, but with no intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ, and before long they are crushed. They do not know what to do with the burden, it produces weariness, and people say - "What an embittered end to such a beginning!"

"Roll thy burden upon the Lord" - you have been bearing it all; deliberately put one end on the shoulders of God. "The government shall be upon His shoulder." Commit to God "that He hath given thee"; not fling it off, but put it over on to Him and yourself with it, and the burden is lightened by the sense of companionship. Never disassociate yourself from the burden.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

APRIL 13th

I HAVE often been haunted with a fancy that the creeds of men might be paralleled and represented in their beverages. Wine might stand for genuine Catholicism, and ale for genuine Protestantism; for these at least are real religions with comfort and strength in them. Clean cold Agnosticism would be clean cold water -- an excellent thing if you can get it. Most modern ethical and idealistic movements might be well represented by soda-water -- which is a fuss about nothing. Mr. Bernard Shaw's philosophy is exactly like black coffee -- it awakens, but it does not really inspire. Modern hygienic materialism is very like cocoa; it would be impossible to express one's contempt for it in stronger terms than that. Sometimes one may come across something that may honestly be compared to milk, an ancient and heathen mildness, an earthly yet sustaining mercy -- the milk of human kindness. You can find it in a few pagan poets and a few old fables; but it is everywhere dying out.

'William Blake.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 59: On the Sons of Nobles and of the Poor Who Are Offered

If anyone of the nobility
offers his son to God in the monastery
and the boy is very young,
let his parents draw up the document which we mentioned above;
and at the oblation
let them wrap the document itself and the boy's hand in the altar cloth.
That is how they offer him.

As regards their property,
they shall promise in the same petition under oath
that they will never of themselves, or through an intermediary,
or in any way whatever,
give him anything
or provide him with the opportunity of owning anything.
Or else,
if they are unwilling to do this,
and if they want to offer something as an alms to the monastery
for their advantage,
let them make a donation
of the property they wish to give to the monastery,
reserving the income to themselves if they wish.
And in this way let everything be barred,
so that the boy may have no expectations
whereby (which God forbid) he might be deceived and ruined,
as we have learned by experience.

Let those who are less well-to-do make a similar offering.
But those who have nothing at all
shall simply draw up the document
and offer their son before witnesses at the oblation.

Bright Friday, April 13, 2007 Christ is Risen!
The Life-giving Spring of the Theotokos
4th Paschal Vigil: Jonah 2:1-11
Apostle: Philippians 2:5-11 Gospel: St. Luke 10:38-42;

Reluctant Prophet II: Jonah 2:1-11 LXX, especially vs. 10: "But I will
sacrifice to Thee with the voice of praise and thanksgiving...." The
Prophet Jonah's condition at the end of the first chapter of his
Prophecy raises the question: how should the Lord's commandment to the
great whale - to swallow up the Prophet - be understood? Was Jonah
being devoured or was he being delivered when he was taken up into the
great fish? This uncertainty is entirely clarified in the second
chapter: the great fish serves the Lord by delivering Jonah from death.

The principal section of the second chapter is a psalm of praise and
thanksgiving to God, "the Lord of...salvation" (vs. 10). The theme of
gratitude for deliverance is introduced with the opening words of the
psalm (vs. 3), immediately following the brief opening narrative (vss.
1-2). First, Jonah declares the hopeless plight in which he found
himself at being cast into the sea (vss. 4-7a). Next follows his cry
for help (vss. 7b-8a), which also includes his description of God's
deliverance (vss. 7b-8). Jonah concludes his hymn of praise with a
petition for a new life, a rejection of the false ways that almost
resulted in his destruction, and a vow to continue his life in praise
and thanksgiving thereafter (vss. 9-10).

The psalm illumines the Prophet's narrative, but even more it enriches
one's appreciation for the entire Book of Jonah. For the message in the
Psalm, apart from the narrative of the Book, stands alone as a beautiful
canticle of praise that will sanctify any who take it upon their lips.
Truly, Jonah provides a rich spiritual legacy to those who have escaped
destruction and death and know salvation by the grace of God. - whether
physical or spiritual.

Compare the way in which Jonah speaks of God in the first chapter and
the manner in which he addresses God in the psalm: "I am a servant of
the Lord" (Jon. 1:9) versus "the Lord my God" (Jon. 2:3); or, "the Lord
God of Heaven" (Jon. 1:9) versus "all that I have vowed I will pay to
Thee, the Lord of my salvation" (Jon. 2:10). Detachment from God is
absent. The Prophet speaks to the Lord in warm, personal prayers of

As in the first chapter, the True Protagonist of the Book of Jonah is
God the Lord. He directs His saving message to us through the type of
His reluctant Prophet Jonah. We are invited to take the words of
Jonah's praise upon our own lips, to make them our Paschal hymn. When
the Book of Jonah is read during the Great Vigil of Pascha, the work
connects us directly to the three days during which the Lord Jesus lay
in the tomb (Jon. 2:1), revealing why the Book deepens our devotion for
the stunning deliverance of the Lord Jesus by Holy Resurrection.

"Verily, O Christ, into the deepest abyss of earth Thou didst descend,
and didst break the unyielding everlasting bars which held men prisoner;
and on the third day Thou didst rise from the tomb as Jonah from the
whale." Listen to the resonant harmonics of the sticheron just quoted
from the Sixth Ode of the Paschal Canon and the Prophet's words: "I went
down into the earth, whose bars are the everlasting barriers" (vs. 7).

Beloved of Christ, let us who are risen with the Lord join with Jonah
crying to our Savior, "may my prayer come to Thee into Thy holy temple"
(vs. 8). Let us vow never to "observe vanities and lies [and forsake
our] own mercy" (vs. 9). Let all reluctance in us be swept away "with
the voice of praise and thanksgiving" (vs. 10). And may we never
forget, we are a People of Eucharist, offering sacrifices of praise and
thanksgiving, men and women who have vowed to "the Lord of [our]
salvation" (vs. 10). "Come, glorify Christ risen from the dead."

O Christ Savior, we were but yesterday buried with Thee, and we shall
rise with Thee in Thy Resurrection. Glorify us with Thee in Thy Kingdom.

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