Tuesday, April 17, 2007

17/04/07 Tuesday 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 5, 6; PM Psalm 10, 11
Dan. 2:1-16; 1 John 2:1-11; John 17:12-19

From Forward Day by Day:
1 John 2:1-11. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

I'm not a horrid person, really. Oh, I have no illusions about not being a sinner; I just don't flatter myself thinking my sins are very singular or creative. My errors are mostly garden variety. I have an especially good crop of disobedience, pride, and sloth. They pop up about as often as the pokeweed in the big field next to our house. Which is to say, you don't spot them when you stand on one side admiring the expanse of green. But if you walk through the field, you can't miss them; they're all over the place.

A friend is facing a civil court action and is resisting hiring an attorney. He intends to represent himself. All his friends are trying to convince him this is folly, that he would be unwise to face the complex processes and the judgment of the court with no one beside him, taking his part.

As for me, I have always taken comfort in knowing that, when my time on earth is measured before God, I shall have an Advocate who has an "in" with the Judge, one who by his own worth can insure that I don't get what I deserve, or reap all the pokeweed I've sown.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of New Westminster (British Columbia and The Yukon,
++++++++++ 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 same Abba Macarius while he was in Egypt discovered a man who owned a beast of burden engaged in plundering Macarius' goods. So he came up to the thief as if he was a stranger and he helped him to load the animal. He saw him off in great peace of soul saying, 'We have brought nothing into this world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.' (1Tim.6.7) 'The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.' (Job 1.21)

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

Ben Zoma said, Who is wise? He that learns from every man; for it is said, From all my teachers I gat understanding (Ps. cxix. 99).

2. Who is mighty? He that subdues his nature; for it is said, He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city (Prov. xvi. 32).

3. Who is rich? He that is contented with his lot; for it is said, When thou eatest the labour of thy hands, happy art thou, and it shall be well with thee (Ps. cxxviii. 2). "Happy art thou" in this world; "and it shall be well with thee" in the world to comes.

4. Who is honoured? He that honours mankind; for it is said, For them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed (I Sam. ii. 30).

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Growing Into Our True Freedom

True freedom is the freedom of the children of God. To reach that freedom requires a lifelong discipline since so much in our world militates against it. The political, economic, social, and even religious powers surrounding us all want to keep us in bondage so that we will obey their commands and be dependent on their rewards.

But the spiritual truth that leads to freedom is the truth that we belong not to the world but to God, whose beloved children we are. By living lives in which we keep returning to that truth in word and deed, we will gradually grow into our true freedom.

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

Day Seventeen - The Second Way of Service - Study

"And this is eternal life: that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17:3) True knowledge is knowledge of God. Tertiaries therefore give priority to devotional study of scripture as one of the chief means of attaining that knowledge of God which leads to eternal life.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

GOD, DO NOT PERMIT us to be content marking the places where you walked, instead of walking our own walk — with you. How fine if at our end someone could say of us that we were faithful. Amen.

- W. Paul Jones
An Eclectic Almanac for the Faithful

From page 291 of An Eclectic Almanac for the Faithful by W. Paul Jones. Copyright © 2006 by W. Paul Jones.


Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"A Week of Easter Prayers: Help Us to Love our Manhood and Womanhood"

Mother/Father God, we thank you for life. We pray that our lives can be a real adventure, that you can open us some new parts of ourselves, that we can recognize and love some new parts of our own manhood and womanhood. Guide us, teach us what it means to be father, brother, son; to be mother, daughter, sister. Teach us what it means to be man and woman. We are all still learning, Mother, but we trust that you are with us, we trust that it matters. We know, Father, that you have made us male and female, and that there is great power in those two energies. Help us to discover ours and to trust it.

from A Man's Approach to God

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

A single heart and soul in all who believe

Scripture says that God's love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit he has given us. The Holy Spirit, who is the one Spirit of the Father and the Son, produces in those to whom he gives the grace of divine adoption the same effect as he produced among those whom the Acts of the Apostles describes as having received the Holy Spirit. We are told that the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, because the one Spirit of the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is one God, had created a single heart and soul in all those who believed.

That is why Saint Paul in his exhortation to the Ephesians says that this spiritual unity in the bond of peace must be carefully preserved. I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, he writes, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, with all humility and meekness and with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit.

God makes the Church itself a sacrifice pleasing in his sight by preserving within it the love which his Holy Spirit has poured out. Thus the grace of that spiritual love is always available to us, enabling us continually to offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to him for ever.

Fulgentius of Ruspe, (468 - 533), bishop of Ruspe in northern Africa, was a faithful disciple of Augustine and the best theologian of his time.

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


"Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him . . . and did cast himself into the sea." John 21:7

Have you ever had a crisis in which you deliberately and emphatically and recklessly abandoned everything? It is a crisis of will. You may come up to it many times externally, but it amounts to nothing. The real deep crisis of abandonment is reached internally, not externally. The giving up of external things may be an indication of being in total bondage.

Have you deliberately committed your will to Jesus Christ? It is a transaction of will, not of emotion; the emotion is simply the gilt-edge of the transaction. If you allow emotion first, you will never make the transaction. Do not ask God what the transaction is to be, but make it in regard to the thing you do see, either in the shallow or the profound place.

If you have heard Jesus Christ's voice on the billows, let your convictions go to the winds, let your consistency go to the winds, but maintain your relationship to Him.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

APRIL 17th

HOW high the sea of human happiness rose in the Middle Ages, we now only know by the colossal walls that they built to keep it in bounds. How low human happiness sank in the twentieth century, our children will only know by these extraordinary modern books, which tell people to be cheerful and that life is not so bad after all. Humanity never produces optimists till it has ceased to produce happy men. It is strange to be obliged to impose a holiday like a fast, and to drive men to a banquet with spears.

'George Bernard Shaw.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 62: On the Priests of the Monastery

If an Abbot desire
to have a priest or a deacon ordained for his monastery,
let him choose one
who is worthy to exercise the priestly office.

But let the one who is ordained
beware of self-exaltation or pride;
and let him not presume to do anything
except what is commanded him by the Abbot,
knowing that he is so much the more subject
to the discipline of the Rule.
Nor should he by reason of his priesthood forget
the obedience and the discipline required by the Rule,
but make ever more and more progress towards God.

Let him always keep the place which he received
on entering the monastery,
except in his duties at the altar
or in case the choice of the community and the will of the Abbess
should promote him for the worthiness of his life.
Yet he must understand
that he is to observe the rules laid down by deans and Priors.

Should he presume to act otherwise,
let him be judged not as a priest but as a rebel.
And if he does not reform after repeated admonitions,
let even the Bishop be brought in as a witness.
If then he still fails to amend,
and his offenses are notorious,
let him be put out of the monastery,
but only if his contumacy is such
that he refuses to submit or to obey the Rule.


In Chapter 60 the rule makes it plain that monasticism, not clericalism, is the nature of the monastic life, that it demands an entirely different kind of formation and that simply coming to the monastery is not enough to claim conversion, even for priests. It is necessary as well to become a community person whose sanctification hinges on being open to being shaped by the word of God in the human community around us. The question in chapter 60 is, "Can the cleric take monasticism?" and the answer is "Probably." The question in chapter 62 is, "Can the community take clericalism?" and the answer is "No."

In this chapter, Benedict reminds those priests who have been ordained from the ranks of the community itself that they, too, are under the discipline of the rule and the abbot. Clearly, they are not, by virtue of their ordination, excused of their essential character as simple monk. In this chapter Benedict reminds us all to hold fast to our humanity, to make it our priority and to never let what we have become obscure what we are. It is so easy to take on a role in life with its trappings and privileges --doctor, judge, nun, monk, mother, teacher--and to lose, therefore, our own chance to be fully alive.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 Christ is Risen!
Uncovering of the Relics of Alexander of Svir
6th Vigil of Pascha ~ I: Exodus 13:20-14:30 Apostle: Acts 4:1-10
Gospel: St. John 3:16-21

God Delivers: Exodus 13:20-14:30, especially vs. 30: "So the Lord
delivered Israel in that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel
saw the Egyptians dead by the shore of the sea." These verses of Exodus
are the well-known account of the deliverance of God's ancient People
from the forces of Egypt by miraculous escape through the Red Sea and
the accompanying destruction of Pharaoh and his army. This famous
passing out of slavery into freedom, from chattel bondage to ethnic
identity, marks the emergence of the People of God onto the stage of
history. At the same time, it enables us who now are the same People of
God - today called the Church - to look again at the events of the
Passion and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and to discover in
them facets of the redemption which brought us into being as a people.

The principal message in this portion of Exodus may be summed up in two
words, God delivers. The children of Israel passed through an
impassable geographical obstacle - the Red Sea at the edge of Egypt.
Thus they entered the Sinai wilderness, there to begin the long,
forty-year struggle to realize the freedom God bestowed upon them. It
did not escape the notice of the Holy Fathers of the Church that the
liberation at the Red Sea is a parallel and type of our own release into
the Life in Christ; for in the presence of true faith in the Lord Jesus,
God delivers.

As St. Gregory of Nyssa says it: "the people itself, by passing through
the Red Sea, proclaimed the good tidings of salvation by water. The
people passed over, and the Egyptian king with his host was engulfed,
and by these actions this sacrament [the Baptismal Mystery] was
foretold. For even now, whensoever the people is in the water of
regeneration, fleeing from Egypt, from the burden of sin, it is set free
and saved." The Champion on behalf of His People is God Himself. He
delivers; and we who pass through the waters to the New Life beyond do
well to look deeply into this Exodus and discover what is packed into
those two words: God delivers.

Reading attentively, one readily notices the actions of Moses, of the
People of Israel, of Pharaoh, of the Egyptian forces, but above all, let
us never miss the actions of God that repeatedly shape the saga to yield
deliverance for a horde of runaway slaves. "God led them" (vs. 13:21).
Also, God directed them to "encamp before the village, between Migdol
and the sea, opposite Baal-zephon" (vs. 14:2). In addition, God
disclosed beforehand that He would "harden the heart of Pharaoh, and he
shall pursue after them; and I will be glorified in Pharaoh, and in all
his host" (vs. 14:4). Above all, at the critical moment in the
unfolding events, God intervened and "shook off the Egyptians in the
midst of the sea" (vs. 14:27).

It is the Lord our God Who leads us to the waters of Baptism, for He
called to us, "Wash ye, be ye clean; and put away evil things from your
souls" and He "bestowed upon us from on high a new birth through water
and the Spirit." Likewise, God directs us "to walk in all [His]
commandments, and to fulfill those things which are well pleasing unto
[Him]; for if a man do those things, he shall find life in them" as did
Israel of old. And God discloses to us all "the eternal good things"
that shall be ours if we endeavor to prove ourselves children of the Light.

The greatest blessings of the life in Christ come to those who, having
passed through the Baptismal waters, trust God and undertake the
wilderness trials and triumphs that characterize the days and years that
follow upon dying and rising with Christ, upon passing through the laver
of regeneration to sonship and the fountain of life. Truly, Christ our
God, as ever, graciously intervenes to "make us all victors, even unto
the end, through [His] crown incorruptible." It is up to us to fear the
Lord and believe in God as did the ancient Israel of God (Ex. 14:31).

As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Alleluia! (Gal. 3:27)

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