Monday, April 16, 2007

16/04/07 Monday in the week of the 2nd Sunday of Easter


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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 everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; 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 1, 2, 3; PM Psalm 4, 7
Dan. 1:1-21; 1 John 1:1-10; John 17:1-11

From Forward Day by Day:

Psalm 1. Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, not lingered in the way of sinners, not sat in the seats of the scornful!

Ever play tag as a child? If you did, then you will recall how every back yard group had its own elaborately defined ways you had to reach "home" to be free. If a new player appeared, the game had to stop while someone explained the 17 ways and places where you could or could not be tagged. The rules were enormously important. Now we're grownups, and talking about rules feels somehow unsophisticated. We mutter about not wanting to be Pharisees, forgetting that Jesus tired of that sect because they kept the law to honor themselves, not God, and because they lacked mercy.

Then we hear Psalm 1, about folks who "lingered in the way of sinners," and think, yep, I know those guys! They're the ones who hang out with friends who party way too hard. The seats of the scornful? Over there.

We live in a society that pretends anything goes. But our hearts are still in the back yard, where we are all children and rules matter. We know instinctively that breaking the boundaries of loving, kind, fruitful behavior harms us, and often people we love.

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

The beginner must think of themselves as one setting out to make a garden in which the Lord is to take His delight.
St Teresa of Jesus
Life 11.6

Reading from the Desert Christians

They said of Abba Macarius the Great that he became, as it is written, a god upon earth, because, just as God protects the world, so Abba Macarius would cover the faults which he saw, as though he did not see them; and those which he heard, as though he did not hear them.

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

R. La'zar ben 'Azariah said, No Thorah, no culture;no culture, no Thorah. No wisdom, no fear (of God); no fear (of God), no wisdom. No knowledge, no discernment; no discernment, no knowledge. No meal, no Thorah; no Thorah, no meal.

He used to say, Whosesoever wisdom is in excess of his works, to what is he like? To a tree whose branches are abundant, and its roots scanty; and the wind comes, and uproots it, and overturns it. And whosesoever works are in excess of his wisdom, to what is he like? To a tree whose branches are scanty, and its roots abundant; though all the winds come upon it, they stir it not from its place.

The Merton Reflection for the Week of April 16, 2007

“We must in all things seek God. But we do not seek Him the way we seek a lost object, a “thing.” He is present to us in our heart, in our personal subjectivity, and to seek Him is to recognize this fact. Yet we cannot be aware of it as a reality unless He reveals His presence to us. He does not reveal Himself simply in our own heart. He reveals Himself to us in the Church, in the community of believers, in the koinonia [liturgical assembly] of those who trust Him and love Him.

Seeking God is not just an operation of the intellect, or even a contemplative illumination of the mind. We seek God by striving to surrender ourselves to Him whom we do not see, but Who is in all things and through all things and above all things."
Seasons of Celebration [SC]. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1950: 223-24

Thought to Remember:
"We possess the grace of Christ, who alone can deliver us from the “body of this death.” He who is in us is greater than the world. He has “overcome the world."

SC: 52

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

To Let the Word Become Flesh

Spiritual reading is food for our souls. As we slowly let the words of the Bible or any spiritual book enter into our minds and descend into our hearts, we become different people. The Word gradually becomes flesh in us and thus transforms our whole beings. Thus spiritual reading is a continuing incarnation of the divine Word within us. In and through Jesus, the Christ, God became flesh long ago. In and through our reading of God's Word and our reflection on it, God becomes flesh in us now and thus makes us into living Christs for today.

Let's keep reading God's Word with love and great reverence.

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

Day Sixteen - The First Way of Service, cont'd

Tertiaries recognize the power of intercessory prayer for furthering the purposes of God's kingdom, and therefore seek a deepening communion with God in personal devotion, and constantly intercede for the needs of his church and his world. Those of us who have much time at their disposal give prayer a large part in their daily lives. Those of us with less time must not fail to see the importance of prayer and to guard the time we have allotted to it from interruption. Lastly, we are encouraged to avail themselves of the sacrament of Reconciliation, through which the burden of past sin and failure is lifted and peace and hope restored.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

THIS IS ONE OF THE GIFTS OF MOURNING: in the terrifying solitude of our tears, we can see God and come to know God at a new depth, because God embraces us and sustains us as we weep. When we accept pain and loss as inevitable parts of life, we find that God shares them with us. And that realization changes us as well as the pain.

- Mary Lou Redding
The Power of a Focused Heart

From page 30 of The Power of a Focused Heart: 8 Life Lessons from the Beatitudes by Mary Lou Redding. Copyright © 2006 by Mary Lou Redding.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"A Week of Easter Prayers: Help Us to Love"

Loving God, we love how you love. We love how you have freed us. We love what you have given. Help us to recognize, Holy One, and to rejoice in what is given, even in the midst of what is not given. Help us not to doubt, Lord, what you have given us, even when we feel our shortcomings. We praise you, and we thank you for the promise and sign of your love in Jesus. We thank you, and we praise you for sharing your life, your Spirit with us. We offer you our lives. We offer you our bodies, our hearts. Bless this people, heal us, make us signs of Jesus. Do in us what you did in him, Father. Make us your sons, name us your daughters. Renew our Church in love and in forgiveness. We ask, Lord, for all of this. We trust in your love as Jesus trusted. And we pray as Jesus prayer. Amen.

from Days of Renewal

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

The invincible charioteer

This day brings a message of joy: it is the day of the Lord's resurrection when, with himself, he raised up the race of Adam. Born for the sake of human beings, he rose from the dead with them. On this day paradise is opened by the risen one, Adam is restored to life and Eve is consoled. On this day the divine call is heard, the kingdom is prepared, we are saved and Christ is adored. On this day, when he had trampled death under foot, made the tyrant a prisoner, and despoiled the underworld, Christ ascended into heaven as a king in victory, as a ruler in glory, as an invincible charioteer. He said to the Father: Here am I, O God, with the children you have given me, and he heard the Father's reply: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. To him be glory, now and for ever, through endless ages. Amen.

Hesychius of Jerusalem,(~451) was a monk who was highly esteemed as a priest and preacher of Jerusalem. He was a defender of orthodoxy and a gifted interpreter of scripture.

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


"While ye have light, believe in the light." John 12:36

We all have moments when we feel better than our best, and we say - "I feel fit for anything; if only I could be like this always!" We are not meant to be. Those moments are moments of insight which we have to live up to when we do not feel like it. Many of us are no good for this workaday world when there is no high hour. We must bring our commonplace life up to the standard revealed in the high hour.

Never allow a feeling which was stirred in you in the high hour to evaporate. Don't put your mental feet on the mantelpiece and say - "What a marvellous state of mind to be in!" Act immediately, do something, if only because you would rather not do it. If in a prayer meeting God has shown you something to do, don't say - "I'll do it"; do it! Take yourself by the scruff of the neck and shake off your incarnate laziness. Laziness is always seen in cravings for the high hour; we talk about working up to a time on the mount. We have to learn to live in the grey day according to what we saw on the mount.

Don't cave in because you have been baffled once, get at it again. Burn your bridges behind you, and stand committed to God by your own act. Never revise your decisions, but see that you make your decisions in the light of the high hour.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

APRIL 16th

WHATEVER the merits or demerits of the Pantheistic sentiment of melting into nature of 'Oneness' (I think they call it) with seas and skies, it is not and it never has been a popular sentiment. It has been the feeling of a few learned aesthetes or secluded naturalists. Popular poetry is all against Pantheism and quite removed from Immanence. It is all about the beautiful earth as an edge or fringe of something much better and quite distinct. Ballads and carols do not go to the tune of 'One with the Essence of the Boundless World.' Ballads and carols go to the tune of 'Over the hills and far away;' the sense that life leads by a strange and special path to something sacred and separate.

'Daily News.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received

But if as a guest she was found exacting or prone to vice,
not only should she be denied membership in the community,
but she should even be politely requested to leave,
lest others be corrupted by her evil life.

If, however, she has not proved to be the kind
who deserves to be put out,
she should not only on her own application be received
as a member of the community,
but she should even be persuaded to stay,
that the others may be instructed by her example,
and because in every place it is the same Lord who is served,
the same King for whom the battle is fought.

Moreover, if the Abbess perceives that she is worthy,
she may put her in a somewhat higher rank.
And not only with regard to a nun
but also with regard to those in priestly or clerical orders
previously mentioned,
the Abbess may establish them in a higher rank
than would be theirs by date of entrance
if she perceives that their life is deserving.

Let the Abbess take care, however,
never to receive a nun from another known monastery
as a member of her community
without the consent of her Abbess or a letter of recommendation;
for it is written,
"Do not to another what you would not want done to yourself" (Tob. 4:16).

Monday, April 16 2007 Christ is Risen!
Martyr Leonidas, Charissa, Niki, Galina, & Theodore
5 Vigil of Pascha: Joshua 5:10-15 Apostle: Acts
Gospel: St. John 2:1-11

Partake Ye! Joshua 5:10-15 LXX, especially vs. 10: "And the children of
Israel kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at evening,
to the westward of Jericho on the opposite side of the Jordan in the
plain." Consonant with the words of St. John Chrysostom's Paschal
homily: "Ye that have kept the fast and ye that have not, rejoice today;
for the Table is richly laden," this fifth Vigil reading anchors us in
the Divine provision that is ours at the Great Paschal Feast by reason
of the grace and triumph of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This is the Pascha of the Lord. "Christ is risen, and life is
liberated." The reading exhorts us, just as do the words of St. John:
"Fare ye royally on it. The calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away
hungry. Partake ye all of the cup of faith. Enjoy ye all the riches of
His goodness."

Visualize Israel's situation and the setting of this Passover. God's
holy People are in the land promised by the almighty and saving God.
They just have crossed the Jordan river and now are encamped on the
plain before the fortress of Jericho. The celebration of Passover
described in this passage strikes a note never known before. In Egypt,
the Passover meal was eaten by slaves on the run, on a dark night when
death swept the land of the Egyptians and yet passed over Israel. But
the food at this Passover meal is eaten without labor either in planting
or in harvesting: "they ate of the grain of the earth unleavened and new
corn" (vs. 11). Whereas during forty years of wandering in the
wilderness they had been sustained by divinely provided manna, now they
are tasting the fruits of a domain of promise, a land to be their own.

The reading prompts us similarly to celebrate our Passover in Christ:
"Let the peoples give Thee praise, O God: let all the peoples praise
Thee." Let every Orthodox Christian recall again that the name for our
Great Feast of the Resurrection is Pascha - the Greek transliteration of
the Hebrew word Pesach, meaning Passover. Hence, those whose hearts are
unfettered celebrate Pascha knowing that the Church has a true foretaste
of the Promised Land. We have passed through the waters of Jordan to
partake of the glorious Table of the Lord. "Christ our Passover is
sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the Feast" (1 Cor. 5:7,8). We
eat with the risen Christ, but not in slavery to sin and death. "Christ
is in our midst! He is and He shall be!" We share in the Feast that
the Lord spreads before us. "Fare ye royally on it," indeed!

The reading describes events that took place "on the plain of Jericho"
(Jos. 5:1013). Joshua reminds us that conquering the land required
years of struggle for ancient Israel. They ate the Passover meal under
the walls of the fortress of Jericho, a bastion to be taken as their
first victory. Other struggles would follow, a few ending in failure,
most in success. Likewise, Beloved in Christ, many battles lie ahead of
us. Nevertheless, let us eat and celebrate in the knowledge that the
tide of the campaign has been turned against our greatest enemies. "O
Christ our Savior, we were but yesterday crucified with Thee: glorify us
with Thee in Thy Kingdom."

Observe Joshua, the leader of the People of God. He encounters "the
chief captain of the host of the Lord" (vs. 14). The great, immortal
Archangel Michael, "drawn sword in his hand" (vs. 13) stands before the
mortal captain of the Lord's People who boldly draws near and asks, "Art
thou for us or on the side of our enemies?" (vs. 13). Now let us hear
St. Nikolai of Zica remind us: we "must not rely on...our own equipment,
but on Him Who fights for us." The powers of Heaven are arrayed before
us and with us, to fight for us, if we will, like Joshua, reverence them
and seek, as they do, to know nothing but the will of God (vs. 15).

"Let us cleanse our senses that we may behold Christ shining like
lightning with the unapproachable light of Resurrection...while we sing
to Him the hymn of victory."

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