Monday, April 23, 2007

23/04/07 Mon in the week of the 3rd Sun of Easter


If you would like these meditations to come directly to your in box, please click here:

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 25; PM Psalm 9, 15
Dan.4:19-27; 1 John 3:19-4:6; Luke 4:14-30

From Forward Day by Day:

Luke 4:14-30. And they said, "Is this not Joseph's son?"

My friend dreads trips home. She knows her mom will start preaching at her. She will work at keeping her temper, but eventually she will explode--they will fight the same fight they've been having for 45 years. Jesus knew it is our nature to see our children, and our neighbor's children, as they once were, not as the adults they have become. Likewise, many adult children stay mired in their roles as children.

When the disciples headed toward his home town, Jesus must have warned what was ahead. Yes, his former neighbors would be curious about his ministry. But in the end, they would be too locked into seeing the child he used to be to recognize the Messiah he had become. There would be no healings in Nazareth.

Jesus teaches a lesson: people don't stay the same. We learn, we change, we are transformed by grace. So every time we meet our loved ones, we must pray to see each other as we are now, not as we were back when--or our memories will wall off new miracles.

Lord Jesus, you make all things new! Let me see my family as you see them.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for Chapels Royal, for Royal and Religious Peculiars throughout the Anglican Communion, and for Westminster Abbey
++++++++++ Reflections

Well and good if all things change, Lord God, provided we are rooted in you.
St John of the Cross
Sayings of Light and Love, 34.

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba Xanthias said, 'The thief was on the cross and he was justified by a single word; and Judas who was counted in the number jof the apostles lost all his labour in one single night and descended from heaven to hell. Therefore, let no-one boast of his good works, for all those who trust in themselves fall.'

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

R. Çadoq said, Make them not a crown, to glory in them; nor an ax, to live by them. And thus was Hillel wont to say, And he who serves himself with the tiara perishes. Lo, whosoever makes profit from words of Thorah removes his life from the world.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Being Sent Into the World

Each of us has a mission in life. Jesus prays to his Father for his followers, saying: "As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world" (John 17:18).

We seldom realise fully that we are sent to fulfill God-given tasks. We act as if we have to choose how, where, and with whom to live. We act as if we were simply plopped down in creation and have to decide how to entertain ourselves until we die. But we were sent into the world by God, just as Jesus was. Once we start living our lives with that conviction, we will soon know what we were sent to do.


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

Day Twenty Two - The First Note -


We always keep before us the example of Christ, who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and who, on the last night of his life, humbly washed his disciples' feet. We likewise seek to serve one another with humility.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

WE ARE CONVERTED one aspect of the self at a time. That phenomenon explains why some parts of us can be approaching holiness while others remain locked in resistance and rebellion. Because different parts of our soul proceed at different rates, the invitation to love with our “whole heart” is the work of a lifetime and beyond.

- Robert Corin Morris
Provocative Grace

From page 109 of Provocative Grace: The Challenge in Jesus’ Words by Robert Corin Morris. Copyright © 2006 by Robert Corin Morris.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"The Catholic Worldview: Sacramental"

Catholics have a sacramental world view: For us, material reality mediates spiritual reality. All spiritual reality, all grace is mediated to us through this world, through history, through concrete objects, things, moments, events, persons. It is deep within the Catholic consciousness that grace is always mediated. It always comes through our human, sensate experience. Even sinfulness itself became something that mediated God's grace. That's why so many Catholics, and even ex-Catholics, become artists, novelists, movie directors and poets. Both Carl Jung and Andrew Greeley say they can prove that Catholics imagine differently. Ours is very different from the Protestant worldview. If you've been raised Catholic, maybe you don't even realize how different that is because you've always taken it for granted. My great disappointment is that we might not be passing on the Catholic imagination to the younger generation.

from Why Be Catholic?

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

The new leaven

Although it was primarily to Peter that he said: Feed my sheep, yet the one Lord guides all pastors in the discharge of their office and leads to rich and fertile pastures all those who come to the rock. There is no counting the sheep who are nourished with his abundant love, and who are prepared to lay down their lives for the sake of the Good Shepherd who died for them.

But it is not only the martyrs who share in his passion by their glorious courage; the same is true, by faith, of all who are born again in baptism. That is why we are able to celebrate the Lord's paschal sacrifice with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. The leaven of our former malice is thrown out, and a new creature is filled and inebriated with the Lord himself. For the effect of our sharing in the body and blood of Christ is to change us into what we receive. As we have died with him, and have been buried and raised to life with him, so we bear him within us, both in body and in spirit, in everything we do.

Leo the Great, (400 - 461), bishop of Rome, left many letters and sermons to attest to his teaching and preaching.

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


"Labourers together with God." 1 Corinthians 3:9

Beware of any work for God which enables you to evade concentration on Him. A great many Christian workers worship their work. The one concern of a worker should be concentration on God, and this will mean that all the other margins of life, mental, moral and spiritual, are free with the freedom of a child, a worshipping child, not a wayward child. A worker without this solemn dominant note of concentration on God is apt to get his work on his neck; there is no margin of body, mind or spirit free, consequently he becomes spent out and crushed. There is no freedom, no delight in life; nerves, mind and heart are so crushingly burdened that God's blessing cannot rest. But the other side is just as true - when once the concentration is on God, all the margins of life are free and under the dominance of God alone. There is no responsibility on you for the work; the only responsibility you have is to keep in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your co-operation with Him. The freedom after sanctification is the freedom of a child, the things that used to keep the life pinned down are gone. But be careful to remember that you are freed for one thing only - to be absolutely devoted to your co-Worker.

We have no right to judge where we should be put, or to have preconceived notions as to what God is fitting us for. God engineers everything; wherever He puts us our one great aim is to pour out a whole-hearted devotion to Him in that particular work. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might."

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

I SEE you how you smile in state
Straight from the Peak to Plymouth Bar;
You need not tell me you are great,
I know how more than great you are.
I know what spirit Chaucer was;
I have seen Gainsborough and the grass.

'Tremendous Trifles.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 65: On the Prior of the Monastery

To us, therefore, it seems expedient
for the preservation of peace and charity
that the Abbot have in his hands
the full administration of his monastery.
And if possible let all the affairs of the monastery,
as we have already arranged,
be administered by deans according to the Abbot's directions.
Thus, with the duties being shared by several,
no one person will become proud.

But if the circumstances of the place require it,
or if the community asks for it with reason and with humility,
and the Abbot judges it to be expedient,
let the Abbot himself constitute as his Prior
whomsoever he shall choose
with the counsel of God-fearing brethren.

That Prior, however, shall perform respectfully
the duties enjoined on him by his Abbot
and do nothing against the Abbot's will or direction;
for the more he is raised above the rest,
the more carefully should he observe the precepts of the Rule.

If it should be found that the Prior has serious faults,
or that he is deceived by his exaltation and yields to pride,
or if he should be proved to be a despiser of the Holy Rule,
let him be admonished verbally up to four times.
If he fails to amend,
let the correction of regular discipline be applied to him.
But if even then he does not reform,
let him be deposed from the office of Prior
and another be appointed in his place who is worthy of it.
And if afterwards he is not quiet and obedient in the community,
let him even be expelled from the monastery.
But the Abbot, for his part, should bear in mind
that he will have to render an account to God
for all his judgments,
lest the flame of envy or jealousy be kindled in his soul.


The problems dealt with in this chapter are the problems of loyalty, honesty, humility and role and their effect on a group. The prior or subprioress in a Benedictine monastery are equivalent to the first assistant of any organization. They act as vicars, representatives, of the abbot or prioress but they do not have any specific role description or authority of their own. Most local constitutions of Benedictine communities to this day, in fact, say simply that the subprioress or prior are appointed by the prioress or abbot to "do whatever the abbot bids them to do." The point is that every community has one, single, ultimate authority, the abbot or prioress, and that any other arrangement or assumption is not only incorrect, it is dangerous to the unity and formation of the community.

Underlying the theological and organizational considerations, however, is the dark warning that the temptation to use a position, any position--vice-principal, vice-president, assistant, department director--to wrest authority away from the center or to promote our own careers by undermining the legitimate leader in order to make ourselves look good, is a sin against community. It uses a group for personal gain instead of for the good of the group. It is the story of a Rasputin or a Lucretia Borgia. It is a grasp at power for its own sake. It corrodes what we say we support. It eats like acid at anything in us that we say is real. It is cheap popularity and expensive advancement because, eventually, it will destroy what we say we value, the very community for which we are responsible.

The Tao Te Ching teaches: "Shape clay into a vessel; It is the space within that makes it useful." Every group has a distinct structure and history but without a single driving spirit,it may lack the heart to make a common impact. In Benedictine spirituality the abbot and prioress are the center of the community. They are the one voice, the one light, the one heart that the entire community can trust to act always in its true and total interest. In every group, in fact, it is that inspiriting space within that gives it energy. Destroy the axis, stop the heart, collapse the core of a world and the world shrivels or shatters or disintegrates in space. That's what rivalry between the leaders of a group does to a community. That's what divergence between husband and wife does to the family. That's what tension between idols does to a world. Benedictine spirituality sees the community as something to mold us, not something to be used for the interests and vanity and power struggles of a few. It is a life dedicated to the spirit, not enmeshed in the agendas of the political. Where the authority of the abbot or prioress is constantly contested, routinely ignored, mockingly ridiculed or sharply questioned, then the eye of the soul is taken off of the Center of the life and shifted instead to the multiple minor agendas of its members. At that moment, the mystical dimension of the community turns into just one more arm wrestling match among contenders. At that point, the Rule says, get rid of the people who lower the purpose of the group to the level of the mundane, making light of the great enterprise of life and diminishing its energy.

It is good advice in any human endeavor whose higher purpose is being fed to the appetites of the immature and the selfish to rid itself of those who have given over the lode star of the group to a lesser direction.

Monday, April 23, 2007 Christ is Risen!
Holy Great-Martyr George, the Trophy Bearer
11th Vigil of Pascha: Isaiah 61:1-9 Apostle: Acts 12:1-11
Gospel: St. John 15:17-16:2

Seven Windows: Isaiah 61:1-9, especially vs. 1: "The Spirit of the Lord
is upon Me, because He has anointed Me; He has sent Me to preach glad
tidings to the poor, to heal the broken in heart, to proclaim liberty to
the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind." Our risen Lord,
Jesus Christ, opens seven windows through a prophecy of Isaiah. He
first indicated these windows when He read the passage in the Synagogue
at Nazareth, applying the words to Himself. Now, by looking through
these windows, we behold His intentions for us as His Church.

First, let us understand that the words of this passage are doubly
prophetic. They were first given by the Prophet of Christ our God,
Isaiah; and, then, in the days of their fulfillment, specifically
applied by the Lord Jesus to Himself and to those whom He calls His own
through all time. This is what the Risen Christ discloses through the
first window, quoted above.

Through the second window, the Risen Christ, Who trampled down death by
death, discloses comfort for "all that mourn" (vs. 2), glory instead of
ashes...the oil of joy to the mourners," and "the garment of glory for
the spirit of heaviness, " transforming us in Himself into "the planting
of the Lord for glory" (vs. 3). His Church now sees death in the light
of glory.

The third window (vs. 4), which the risen Christ indicates, provides
impetus to "build the old waste places" that our sins be destroyed,
which left us "desolate," where "all are dust, all are ashes, all are
shadows. But come, let us cry aloud unto the deathless King" Who
reveals the way to "renew the desert cities...desolate for many
generations," by following the Life-Giver.

Through the fourth window (vs. 5), our Risen Lord reveals our new
family, the Church. We find persons not of our own blood line, language
and culture, but those from all races, clans, and societies whom once we
considered to be "strangers" or "aliens". These are our new, world-wide
family who labor beside us in renewing hearts, souls, and lives to the
glory of God.

Next, Christ points through the fifth window (vs. 6) revealing that we
are His gathering, His Church, "priests of the Lord, the ministers of
God...[who] eat the strength of nations, and [are] admired because of
[our] wealth" in Him. We are His "royal priesthood, a holy nation, His
own special people," (1 Pet. 2:9), with every reason to praise Him Who
calls us out of darkness.

Now, look through the sixth window (Is. 61:7)! What does our risen Lord
reveal? See the "land" from which we were excluded? It is open to us
"a second time," where "everlasting joy shall be upon [our] head." It
is Paradise, spread before us, if we will only take the lead of the good
thief (Lk. 23:43) and repent before Christ our God so that it may be our

Now, at last, having revealed His glorious prospect through the first
six windows, the risen Lord takes us to the seventh window (vss. 8,9).
"The Lord Who love(s) righteousness, and hate(s) robberies of
injustice," Christ our God, reveals that He has the power to give the
spoils of those who rob us "to the just, and will make an everlasting
covenant with" His Church (vs. 8). The choice, the opportunity is
ours. What shall we do? Shall we "be known among the Gentiles, among
the nations that do not know Him as God, so that we have many "offspring
in the midst of peoples" (vs. 9)? He sets the vision before us today.

When the People of God, His Church, serve Christ worthily, every one
that sees them takes "notice of them, that they are a seed blessed of
God" (vs. 9). For two-thousand years the risen Lord has demonstrated
this truth over and over.

It is the Day of Resurrection, be illumined for the Feast, and embrace
one another. Let us speak, brothers, even unto those who hate us, and
forgive all for the sake of the Resurrection. And so together let us
cry out: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death;
and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:


Post a Comment

<< Home