Friday, April 27, 2007

27/04/07 Fri in the week of the 3rd Sunday 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 105:1-22; PM Psalm 105:23-45
Dan. 6:1-15; 2 John 1-13; Luke 5:12-26

From Forward Day by Day:

Luke 5: 12-26. But finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.

Have you noticed it's the persistent people who get rewarded in New Testament stories? Like Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, who kept calling out to Jesus even though bystanders told him to hush. The woman who believed that if she could just touch the hem of his garment she would be healed. Now we find these fellows, who bring a paralytic to the house where Jesus is, but find they can't get in. So one of them, absolutely determined that his brother not miss this chance at being healed, suggests going on the roof, sawing a hole, and lowering the man down. And they just do it.

It is at this point in Bible stories I so often get sidetracked with details. Who fixed the host's roof? Did it rain that night?

Then in my mind the scene becomes my neighborhood. If Jesus were teaching in a house down the street, and you could ask him to heal something in your life, what would it be? Why not ask--now? And wait to hear what he says?

Lord Jesus, in your mercy, think on me...

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Niger Delta West (Prov. II, Nigeria)
++++++++++ Reflections

A novice was grieving about her numerous distractions during prayer: "I too, have many," replied St. Therese of the Child Jesus, "but I accept all for love of the good God, even the most extravagant thoughts that come into my head."
St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

A brother asked abba Poemen, "If I see my brother sin, is it right to say nothing about it?" The old man replied, "whenever we cover our brother's sin, God will cover ours; whenever we tell people about our brother's guilt, God will do the same about ours."

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

R. Meir said, Have little business, and be busied in Thorah; and be lowly in spirit unto every man; and if thou idlest from the Thorah, thou wilt have idlers many against thee; and if thou labourest in the Thorah, He hath much reward to give unto thee.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Writing to Save the Day

Writing can be a true spiritual discipline. Writing can help us to concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts, to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions, to reflect on our experiences, to give artistic expression to what we are living, and to store significant events in our memories. Writing can also be good for others who might read what we write.

Quite often a difficult, painful, or frustrating day can be "redeemed" by writing about it. By writing we can claim what we have lived and thus integrate it more fully into our journeys. Then writing can become lifesaving for us and sometimes for others too.

From the Principles of the Third Society of St. Francis:
Day Twenty Seven - The Second Note, cont'd

The Third Order is Christian community whose members, although varied in race, education, and character, are bound into a living whole through the love we share in Christ. This unity of all who believe in him will become, as our Lord intended, a witness to the world of his divine mission. In our relationship with those outside the Order, we show the same Christ-like love, and gladly give of ouselves, remembering that love is measured by sacrifice.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

GOD, WE ARE a strange bunch. Immersed in our communication technology, we thirst for quiet; and in our silence we hunger for noise. Forgive us for the incessant droning of our TVs, that racket of a mechanical presence to which we rarely listen — for in our loneliness, we may simply be craving your nearness. Amen.

- W. Paul Jones
An Eclectic Almanac for the Faithful

From page 246 of An Eclectic Almanac for the Faithful by W. Paul Jones. Copyright © 2006 by W. Paul Jones.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"The Catholic Worldview: Tradition"

It is said the Roman Church looks at history in terms of centuries. For example, we should be ready to deal with the problem of infant Baptism by about 2020, one cardinal was to have said. By that time people will have matured and understand that the ideal is adult Baptism. But right now they're not ready for that. That's thinking in the big picture. The Catholic Church, for good and for ill, thinks that way. We've been around for a long time. It does keep us form momentary cultural fads, but it makes it hard for us to live in the moment. I hope you've met a sister who taught you at college, or a good priest or wise Catholic layperson who had that profound sense of time, history, tradition and the future. That's Tradition with the big T. That's great Catholicism. The unfortunate thing is that so many people who think they are traditionalists have only a sense of tradition with a little t. Most conservatives and restorationists are more committed to their childhood myths than to the Great Tradition. The Great Tradition forces all of us to move beyond our private comfort zone, both liberals and conservatives.

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

Then and now

Moses, the lawgiver, was sent by God from a high mountain to save his people and to symbolize the law. The Lord, the lawgiver, was also sent, God by God, mountain from the highest mountain of heaven, to save our people and to be the law. Moses delivered his people from Pharaoh and the Egyptians, but Christ has delivered us from the devil and evil spirits. Moses made peace between the two contending brethren, but Christ has made peace between his two peoples and united heaven and earth.

Israel kept the symbolic Passover by night: we celebrate the true Passover by the light of day. They kept it in the evening of the day: we keep it in the evening of the world. Then the doorposts and lintels were sprinkled with blood: now it is the hearts of the faithful that are sealed with the blood of Christ. Then the sacrifice was offered by night and the crossing of the Red Sea took place at night, but now we are saved by the Red Sea of baptism that glows with fire of the Spirit. In baptism the Spirit of God truly descends and appears on the waters in which the head of the serpent, the prince of serpents and demons, is crushed. Moses gave Israel its baptism by night and a cloud overshadowed the people, but it is the power of the Most High that overshadows the people of Christ.

Moses had recourse to a rock of this creation, but we turn to the rock of faith. Then, the tablets of the law were broken in pieces as a sign that the law would be abrogated: now, the laws of God stand for ever. Then, the making of a molten calf brought retribution on the people: now, the sacrifice of the Lamb of God is the salvation of the people. Then, water poured from the rock when it was struck by a rod: now, from the pierced and life-giving side of the rock which is Christ, both blood and water flow. The Jews of old were given quails from heaven: our gift from on high is the Dove, the Holy Spirit. They fed on perishable manna and died: the bread that we eat brings us everlasting life.

Epiphanius of Salamis,(5th - 6th century), the Latin, wrote commentary on the synoptic gospels.

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

"Seekest thou great things for thyself?" Jeremiah 45:5

Are you seeking great things for yourself? Not seeking to be a great one, but seeking great things from God for yourself. God wants you in a closer relationship to Himself than receiving His gifts, He wants you to get to know Him. A great thing is accidental, it comes and goes. God never gives us anything accidental. There is nothing easier than getting into a right relationship with God except when it is not God Whom you want but only what He gives.

If you have only come the length of asking God for things, you have never come to the first strand of abandonment, you have become a Christian from a standpoint of your own. "I did ask God for the Holy Spirit, but He did not give me the rest and the peace I expected." Instantly God puts His finger on the reason - you are not seeking the Lord at all, you are seeking something for yourself. Jesus says - "Ask, and it shall be given you." Ask God for what you want, and you cannot ask if you are not asking for a right thing. When you draw near to God, you cease from asking for things. "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him." Then why ask? That you may get to know Him.

Are you seeking great things for yourself? "O Lord, baptize me with the Holy Ghost." If God does not, it is because you are not abandoned enough to Him, there is something you will not do. Are you prepared to ask yourself what it is you want from God and why you want it? God always ignores the present perfection for the ultimate perfection. He is not concerned about making you blessed and happy just now; He is working out His ultimate perfection all the time - "that they may be one even as We are."

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

THE modern man thought Becket's robes too rich and his meals too poor. But then the modern man was really exceptional in history; no man before ever ate such elaborate dinners in such ugly clothes. The modern man found the Church too simple exactly where life is too complex; he found the Church too gorgeous exactly where modern life is too dingy. The man who disliked the plain fasts and feasts was mad on entrees. The man who disliked vestments wore a pair of preposterous trousers. And surely if there was any insanity involved in the matter at all it was in the trousers, not in the simply falling robe. If there was any insanity at all, it was in the extravagant entrees, not in the bread and wine.


Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 69: That the Monks Presume Not to Defend One Another

Care must be taken that no monk presume on any ground
to defend another monk in the monastery,
or as it were to take him under his protection,
even though they be united by some tie of blood-relationship.
Let not the monks dare to do this in any way whatsoever,
because it may give rise to most serious scandals.
But if anyone breaks this rule,
let him be severely punished.


"Stay away from your enemies but guard yourself against friends," Ben Sirach wrote in Ecclesiasticus. The rule knows that false friendship is bad for the person and bad for the community as well. In a life dedicated to spiritual growth and direction, there is no room for multiple masters. Friends who protect us from our need to grow are not friends at all. People who allow a personal agenda, our need to be right or their need to shield, block the achievement of a broader vision in us and betray us. Supporters who risk dividing a group into factions over personal tensions rather than to allow individuals to work their way positively through the hard points of life, barter the spirit and peace of the whole community. We are taught in the Rule not to take sides in issues of personal interpretation and spiritual challenge. We are to hold one another up during hard times, Chapter 27 indicates, but we are not to turn personal difficulty into public warfare. The groups that would be better off if individuals had refused to turn differences of opinion into moral irreconciliables are legion. The Desert Monastics say that one of the disciples asked Abba Sisoes one day, "If I am sitting in the desert and a barbarian comes to kill me and if I am stronger than he, shall I kill him?" The old man said to him, 'No, leave him to God. In fact whatever the trial is which comes to a person, let them say,"This has happened to me because of my sins," and if something good comes say, "This has happened to me because of the providence of God."

Life is not perfect; some of life just is. A great deal of mental, psychological and spiritual health comes from learning to endure the average heat of the average day and to wear both its banes and its blessings with a tempered heart. No warfare. No armies mobilized on the plain. No identification of enemies. Just life.


Dynamis is a daily Bible meditation based upon the lectionary of the Holy Orthodox Church. Dynamis is a project of the Education Committee of St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas.

Friday, April 27, 2007 Christ is Risen!
Hieromartyr Simeon, the Kinsman of the Lord
15th Vigil of Pascha - I: Daniel 3:1-23 Apostle: Acts 8:40-9:19
Gospel: St. John 6:48-54

Foreshadows: Daniel 3:1-23 LXX, especially vs. 23: "Then these three
men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the midst of the
burning furnace, and walked in the midst of the flame, singing praise to
God and blessing the Lord." Among the hymns of the Church are a large
set of Canons, which regularly are offered at Orthros after the
intercessions that follow the reading of Psalm 50 LXX.

Musical Canons are divided into nine odes, eight of which are taken from
the Old Testament. The Seventh and Eighth odes are the two songs that
the three righteous youths sang in the burning fiery furnace (Song of
the Three vss. 3-22 and 29-68 - RSV versification. These are found in
Chapter 3 of Daniel in the Septuagint, LXX). Further, because of the
great length of the odes when sung with all their katabasia
(accompanying songs of descent), usually one hears a Canon in
abbreviated form only - restricted to the irmoi (leading or first verses).

The present reading from Daniel actually omits the Seventh Ode as found
in the Septuagint, recording only the events prior to the casting of the
three youths into the furnace. The odes, in the various irmoi, contain,
in rich typology, a great deal of the Church's teaching - especially as
these relate to the Gospel message. Hence, the initial irmoi of the
Seventh and Eighth odes from the various Canons foreshadow our knowledge
of the Holy Trinity, the Lord's Nativity, His Baptism in the Jordan, the
calling upon us as Christians to repent and purify our lives, the fervor
of true worship, the Lord's Passion and Burial, and His glorious

The Canons, both for the Elevation of the Holy Cross and the Feast of
the Ascension, eloquently draw our hearts and minds to the Holy Trinity:
"O ye youths, equal in number to the Trinity, bless the Father, the God
Creator; praise the Word which did condescend and turn the fire to a
dewy breeze; and exalt more and more the all-holy Spirit, Who giveth
life to all for evermore," for the three serve as types of the
"tri-radiant sign of divine headship...."

At the Nativity we learn that "the youths who were cast of old into the
fire and remained unburned, were a sign of the womb of the Maiden who
gave birth supernaturally...."

The Theophany Canon reveals that "the furnace of Babylon [held] a
strange secret when it overflowed with dew....Jordan was about to
receive in its courses the immaterial Fire, and was to contain the
Creator baptized in the flesh...."

In preparing for the Great Fast, the Canon of Sunday of the Pharisee and
the Publican points us toward deeper repentance just as Nebuchadnezzar
was constrained by the miracle of the Three Youths "to shout, crying,
Blessed art Thou, God" (see Dan. 3:28 RSV).

Later, by God's grace, on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the First in Great
Lent, the vision of the flames "in the land of Persia" should ignite a
"fervor of true worship" in us to join with the Abrahamite youths to
sing, "Blessed art Thou in the temple of Thy holiness, O Lord."

Each year, as we enter into the events of the Lord's Passion, may the
Eighth irmoi of Great and Holy Friday give us a valor like that of
Joseph of Ramah who "beholding the God of all dead and naked...sought
Him and arrayed Him, shouting, O ye youths, bless Him. Praise Him ye
Priests; and ye nations, exalt Him more and more unto the end of ages."

Our Lord Jesus Who saved "the children from the furnace, when He became
Man, suffered like unto a mortal, and, with His sufferings, invested the
mortal with the beauty of incorruption, Who is the God of our fathers.
To [the risen Lord] alone be blessing and glory."

Glory to Thee, Who hast shown us the Light. We worship Thee O Lord,
heavenly King, God the Father Almighty; O Lord the Only-begotten Son,
Jesus Christ; and the Holy Spirit.


Post a Comment

<< Home