Wednesday, April 18, 2007

18/04/07 Wed, Week of 2nd Sunday in 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 119:1-24; PM Psalm 12, 13, 14
Dan. 2:17-30; 1 John 2:12-17; John 17:20-26

From Forward Day by Day:

Psalm 119:1-24. I am a stranger here on earth; do not hide your commandments from me.

This psalm reminds me of a family trip to Greece. We were determined to be frugal travelers, so at the Athens airport we hopped on a city bus to get into town. An exasperated driver picked the right coins out of our hands when we didn't know what money to hand him. In short order we discovered how hard it is to "do in Rome as the Romans do," much less as the Greeks do. We didn't know how to signal the bus driver to stop. All the street signs looked like fraternity names, but longer. We longed for the guidebook we'd left at home, deeming it too heavy to pack.

We've all been strangers of one kind or another: the just-moved-in neighbor, the latest on the committee, the newest employee hired. We can sympathize with the psalmist when he says, "I'm a stranger here. Would you mind handing me a guidebook, God?"

Life is easier when you know the rules. Fortunately, God understands this and has provided them. He's even provided a how-to manual. There are tour guides who have spent a lot of time with the book, so that they are good at explaining even obscure points. Then, there is the perfect example of Jesus to follow. How God cares for us!

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

The soul of the just person is nothing else but a paradise where the Lord says He finds His delight.
St Teresa of Jesus
Interior Castle, I.1

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba Macarius was asked, 'How should one pray?' The old man said 'There is no need at all to make long discourses; it is enough to stretch out one's hands and say, "Lord, as you will, and as you know, have mercy." And if the conflict grows fiercer say, "Lord, help!" He knows very well what we need and he shews us his mercy.'

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

Ben 'Azzai said, Hasten to a slight precept, and flee from transgression; for precept induces precept, and transgression induces transgression; for the reward of precept is precept, and the reward of transgression is transgression.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Spirit Will Speak in Us

When we are spiritually free, we do not have to worry about what to say or do in unexpected, difficult circumstances. When we are not concerned about what others think of us or what we will get for what we do, the right words and actions will emerge from the center of our beings because the Spirit of God, who makes us children of God and sets us free, will speak and act through us.

Jesus says: "When you are handed over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes, because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you" (Matthew 10:19-20).

Let's keep trusting the Spirit of God living within us, so that we can live freely in a world that keeps handing us over to judges and evalutators.

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

EVERY EVENT OF LIFE is an experience of spiritual formation. Every action taken, every response made, every dynamic of relationship, every thought held, every emotion allowed: There are the minuscule arenas where, bit by bit, infinitesimal piece by infinitesimal piece, we are shaped into some kind of being. …

The question is not whether to undertake spiritual formation. The question is what kind of spiritual formation are we already engaged in? Are we being increasingly conformed to the brokenness and disintegration of the world, or are we being increasingly conformed to the wholeness and integration of the image of Christ?

- M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.
Shaped by the Word

From pages 25-26 of Shaped by the Word by M. Robert Mulholland, Jr. Copyright © 2000 by M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"A Week of Easter Prayers: Make Us Truly Catholic"

God, make us truly catholic people. Make us bearers of the Incarnation. Make us not afraid of life and not afraid of this earth. Make us strive for justice and believe in peace. Make us not afraid of the cross and neither afraid of the Resurrection. Make us, Creator, not afraid of enjoying this world, of celebrating and protecting this world. Teach us, Jesus, how to do liturgy, how to do life. Teach us, God, how to continue to make things beautiful, because you have made us beautiful by your choice of flesh. We thank you for this world. And we thank you for our Holy Catholic Church. Eternal God, make the Catholic people truly catholic. Make us whole. Renew our Church, Lord, in our time. And make us a whole and holy people. Heal us, Lord, from our hurts from Holy Mother Church. Show us how to forgive our Mother. Reconcile us to our tradition, to our past, so we can move into our future, so we can walk with you, loving God. We ask for all these blessings. We invite you into our world. We invite you into our lives in Jesus' holy name. Amen

from The Price of Peoplehood

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

Christ will justify those who embrace the new life

If we truly believe that Christ died for our sins, then we have no alternative but to make ourselves strangers to everything sinful and to reckon sin our greatest enemy, because it caused the death of our Redeemer. By admitting any further connection with sin or attachment to it, we make it clear that the death of Christ means nothing to us, prepared as we are to embrace and pursue the very thing which he attacked and conquered.

If we have risen with Christ, who is holiness itself, and are walking with him in newness of life along the path of holiness, then Christ has risen for our justification. But if we have not yet renounced our former sinful ways and are still living in wickedness, then I say without hesitation that, as far as we are concerned, Christ has not risen for our justification nor was it for our sins that he was handed over to death. If I believe he gave his life for me, how can I love the sins for which he died? And if I believe he rose for my justification, how can I still find pleasure in anything sinful? Christ will only justify those who, in the light of his resurrection, embrace the new life he offers them, casting off the old life of sin and injustice that cause his death.

Origen of Alexandria, (185 - 253) became head of the catechetical school of Alexandria and devoted his life to the study of scripture.

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


"God called unto him and he said, Here am I" Exodus 3:4

When God speaks, many of us are like men in a fog, we give no answer. Moses' reply revealed that he was somewhere. Readiness means a right relationship to God and a knowledge of where we are at present. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. The man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who carries off the prize when the summons comes. We wait with the idea of some great opportunity, something sensational, and when it comes we are quick to cry - "Here am I." Whenever Jesus Christ is in the ascendant, we are there, but we are not ready for an obscure duty.

Readiness for God means that we are ready to do the tiniest little thing or the great big thing, it makes no difference. We have no choice in what we want to do, whatever God's programme may be we are there, ready. When any duty presents itself we hear God's voice as Our Lord heard His Father's voice, and we are ready for it with all the alertness of our love for Him. Jesus Christ expects to do with us as His Father did with Him. He can put us where He likes, in pleasant duties or in mean duties, because the union is that of the Father and Himself. "That they may be one, even as We are one."

Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God. A ready person never needs to get ready. Think of the time we waste trying to get ready when God has called! The burning bush is a symbol of everything that surrounds the ready soul, it is ablaze with the presence of God.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

APRIL 18th

IF a god does come upon the earth, he will descend at the sight of the brave. Our prostrations and litanies are of no avail our new moons and sabbaths are an abomination. The great man will come when all of us are feeling great, not when all of us are feeling small. He will ride in at some splendid moment when we all feel that we could do without him.

'Charles Dickens.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 63: On the Order of the Community

Let all keep their places in the monastery
established by the time of their entrance,
the merit of their lives and the decision of the Abbot.
Yet the Abbot must not disturb the flock committed to him,
nor by an arbitrary use of his power ordain anything unjustly;
but let him always think
of the account he will have to render to God
for all his decisions and his deeds.

Therefore in that order which he has established
or which they already had,
let the brethren approach to receive the kiss of peace and Communion,
intone the Psalms and stand in choir.
And in no place whatever should age decide the order
or be prejudicial to it;
for Samuel and Daniel as mere boys judged priests.

Except for those already mentioned, therefore,
whom the Abbot has promoted by a special decision
or demoted for definite reasons,
all the rest shall take their order
according to the time of their entrance.
Thus, for example,
he who came to the monastery at the second hour of the day,
whatever be his age or his dignity,
must know that he is junior
to one who came at the first hour of the day.
Boys, however, are to be kept under discipline
in all matters and by everyone.


A Benedictine community is obviously a motley place. It has locals and foreigners, old and young, cleric and lay, nobles and poor, educated and illiterate all going the same way, all intent on a life of the spirit, and all from vastly different backgrounds. All of them were conditioned to very defined expectations of privilege or oppression. Benedictine spirituality detoxifies the entire environment by putting the spotlight on the time of a person's entrance to the monastery, on the time at which they publicly began their total seeking of God, rather than on their previous status or position.

The purpose and effect of rank, then, was not the suppression of the person. It was designed to free people from their past castes or demands. The purpose of rank was to achieve equality, humility and a new definition of self in groups rife with social hierarchies, systemic differences and groundless exaltations. The date of entrance was the date before and after which all other events in life were marked and noted. The image of a world unskewed by material values and social definitions is the vision thrust before us in Benedictine spirituality. In a world where sex and race and money mark our spaces on the social ladder it is a picture of human liberation gone outrageously giddy with the freeing power of God as the sign its sanctity.

Wed., April 18 2007 Christ is Risen!
Venerable John, Disciple of Gregory of Decapolis
6th Vigil of Pascha ~ II: Exodus 14:31-15:19 Apostle: Acts 4:13-22
Gospel: St. John 5:15-24

Two Songs of Praise: Exodus 14:31-15:19 LXX, especially vs. 15:1: "Then
sang Moses and the children of Israel this song to God, and spoke,
saying, Let us sing to the Lord, for He is very greatly glorified: horse
and rider He has thrown into the sea." The Song of Moses is pure,
unbounded praise and worship of God. The Prophet and Seer records the
joyful song of one lately redeemed from slavery, together with the other
sons of Israel - all by the hand of God Who Himself hurled horse and
rider into the sea in defense of His chosen people whom He called and
guided to a new destiny by His strength and into a new holy habitation
of His choosing.

The Great Doxology shares much in common with the Song of Moses, as both
are spontaneous outbursts of joy from thankful hearts. Hence, the Song
of Moses served ancient Israel in a manner similar to that which the
singing of the Great Doxology serves the Church today. Glory is given
to God. God is acclaimed as incomparable. God's acts of deliverance
are repeatedly poured out. Pledges are made to God as Lord. Petitions
are offered for His continued aid against enemies. The noteworthy and
essential difference between the two songs lies in the degree of God's
Self-revelation, the watershed that separates the Old and New Covenants.

Both songs attribute glory to God. In the Song of Moses, glory is
connected with renown, the popular way to speak of glory in this world.
Hence, the gods of the nations are not like the Lord (vs. 11), and His
fame only brings terror to the peoples of Moab, Edom, Philistia, and
Canaan (vss. 14,15). However, the Great Doxology links glory with
light: "Glory to Thee Who hast shown us the light." Its words express
the New Covenant mystery, which St. Makarios of Egypt describes as "the
effulgence of celestial light in the vision and power of the Spirit."

Moses saw the glory of God in the Lord's mighty actions: plunging
enemies into the sea (vs. 4), parting the waters (vs. 8), and guiding
His people in strength (vs. 13), but the Doxology, in the spirit of the
Holy Fathers, teaches that in God's "light shall we see light." In
noting the difference between the two songs, one discovers both the
limits of the first covenant and the boundless possibilities in the
Christian Mystery. Thus, both songs pour forth unrestrained praise to
God for marvels (vs. 11), a calling (vs. 13), redemption (vs. 13), and a
future sanctuary.

In the Great Doxology praise is offered to God for taking away the sin
of the world, having mercy on us, and receiving our prayer. The New
Covenant marvels are the Divine mercy by which God heals souls of those
who have sinned against Him. The calling is to set our hope on God.
The redemption is from sin, a blessing achieved ineffably by the Lamb of
God Who takest away the sin of the world. The Gospel joy is the true
promise from God that He will be our refuge from generation to
generation and the fountain of life for us.

Moses bid the people of Israel to join him in a pledge to God, always to
sing to the Lord (vs. 1), to answer His call to be guided as His people
(vs. 13), and to become the Lord's planting on the mountain and
habitation that God's hands had prepared for them (vs. 18). When we
take the Great Doxology on our lips, we likewise make a pledge to God
that we will submit to His teaching, do His will, seek healing from Him,
and know Him, our Holy, Mighty and Immortal God Whose Name is praised
and glorified forever.

St. Gregory of Nyssa bids us consider the Mystery of the Baptismal water
we passed over, "for everyone knows that the Egyptian army stands for
the various passions of man's soul which enslave him....but under the
staff of faith and the luminous cloud, the water becomes life-giving for
those who take refuge in it and death-dealing for those who are in pursuit."

Help us to preserve the earnest of the Spirit pure and undefiled unto
the Day of Christ!

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