Tuesday, May 01, 2007

01/05/07 Tues in the week of the 4th Sun 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.


O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 45; PM Psalm 47, 48
Wisdom 3:1-9; Col 1:15-23; Luke 6:12-26

From Forward Day by Day:

ohn 12:20-26*. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

John's text reminds me of the science projects my elementary age children undertook. Green beans, limas, and alfalfa seeds were planted in different levels of dirt. One or two remained on top of the soil, never undergoing the "burial" process of planting and watering and growing toward the sun. The seeds planted too deep did not emerge. Those on the ground shriveled in the sun. The ones planted with care yielded enough for a meal. The seeds' "death" in the ground allowed nourishment for a family.

We are a culture afraid of death, engaged incessantly in the denial of its existence. Yet as the saying goes, along with taxes, death is the one sure thing for all. Death is in fact a gospel thing. Not just that final one, but also the deaths each of us face as we accept and engage in what life has to offer. Unless we let some dying things go, the new life cannot emerge. And when we do, the promise of much fruit remains.

*The author is writing on the gospel appointed for morning prayer on this feast.

Today we remember:

St. Philip & St. James
AM: Psalm 119:137-160; Job 23:1-12; John 1:43-51
PM: Psalm 139; Proverbs 4:7-18; John 12:20-26

Almighty God, who gave to your apostles Philip and James grace and strength to bear witness to the truth: Grant that we, being mindful of their victory of faith, may glorify in life and death the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of North Carolina
++++++++++ Reflections

Be sure that the Lord will never forsake those who love Him when they run risks solely for His sake.
St Teresa of Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

One of the brothers asked abba Isidore, a priest of scetis, "Why are the demons so terrified of you?" And the old man said, "Ever since I became a monk I have tried never to let anger rise as far as my mouth."

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Friends and Their Limitations

We need friends. Friends guide us, care for us, confront us in love, console us in times of pain. Although we speak of "making friends," friends cannot be made. Friends are free gifts from God. But God gives us the friends we need when we need them if we fully trust in God's love.

Friends cannot replace God. They have limitations and weaknesses like we have. Their love is never faultless, never complete. But in their limitations they can be signposts on our journey towards the unlimited and unconditional love of God. Let's enjoy the friends whom God has sent on our way.

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

Day One - The Object

Jesus said, "Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor." (John 12:24-26)

Upper Room Daily Reflection

R. La'zar said, Let the honour of thy disciple be dear unto thee as the honour of thine associate; and the honour of thine associate as the fear of thy master; and the fear of thy master as the fear of Heaven.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"Jesus' Attack on the Temple"

Pyramids are always pyramids of sacrifice. Whether it is the hundreds of thousands of slaves creating monuments to Egyptian kings, the sacrificial victims offering their hearts to Aztec gods, or the underpaid maids and janitors in the tourist hotels of the world, someone always has to give his life or her life so that someone else can be "special". When that elitism is idealized and protected, instead of avoided and made unnecessary as Jesus taught, we have the destructive and dark side of power. Jesus struck at the nerve center of all of these when he empowered honest human relationships instead of degrees of religious worthiness. Jesus built circles of disciples instead of pyramids. What they could not forgive him for, even on the cross, was that he announced the necessary destruction of the holy temple. "Not a stone will stand on a stone. Everything will be destroyed" (Mark 13:2). He knew that the temple, now divided into courts of worthiness, was not a place where God was first, as much as a place that kept the central storehouse economy in control and the widow with her mite outside. Thus he revealingly called it "the treasury" (Mark 12:41) and committed the unforgivable sin of overturning the tables of "those who were selling and buying there" (Matthew 21:12). In attacking the temple, Jesus attacked Judaism's final tower, and he democratized religion once and for all. But like Aaron, the first priest, we priests have been building golden calves and golden temples ever since. With priests and ministers, the assumption is that if it is good for religion, it is good for God. "False!" said Jesus.

from Radical Grace, "Is This 'Women-Stuff' Important?"

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

Cold love

Anyone whose love has grown cold is surely an unhealthy member of Christ's body. However, he who has already raised our head from the dead has the power to heal his members also, so long as extreme wickedness does not cut them off completely and they remain united to the body until they are restored to health. A limb attached to the body always has hope of recovery, but one which has been severed can be neither revived nor healed. Now since Christ is head of the Church and the Church is his body, the whole Christ is head and body together. As he has already risen from the dead, we have a head who intercedes for us in heaven. This sinless, immortal head of ours is even now offering himself in atonement for our sins before God, so that, at the end of time, we too may rise from the dead and be transformed. Then we shall follow him to heavenly glory, for where the head is, there will the members be. Even here on earth we are his members. Let us never give up hope, then; where our head has gone, we shall indeed follow.

Augustine of Hippo

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


"I have to lead my life in faith, without seeing Him." 2 Corinthians 5:7 (MOFFATT)

For a time we are conscious of God's attentions, then, when God begins to use us in His enterprises, we take on a pathetic look and talk of the trials and the difficulties, and all the time God is trying to make us do our duty as obscure people. None of us would be obscure spiritually if we could help it. Can we do our duty when God has shut up heaven? Some of us always want to be illuminated saints with golden babes and the flush of inspiration, and to have the saints of God dealing with us all the time. A gilt-edged saint is no good, he is abnormal, unfit for daily life, and altogether unlike God. We are here as men and women, not as half-fledged angels, to do the work of the world, and to do it with an infinitely greater power to stand the turmoil because we have been born from above.

If we try to re-introduce the rare moments of inspiration, it is a sign that it is not God we want. We are making a fetish of the moments when God did come and speak, and insisting that He must do it again; whereas what God wants us to do is to "walk by faith." How many of us have laid ourselves by, as it were, and said - "I cannot do any more until God appears to me." He never will, and without any inspiration, without any sudden touch of God, we will have to get up. Then comes the surprise - "Why, He was there all the time, and I never knew it!" Never live for the rare moments, they are surprises. God will give us touches of inspiration when He sees we are not in danger of being led away by them. We must never make our moments of inspiration our standard; our standard is our duty.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day


Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 73: On the Fact That the Full Observance of Justice Is Not Established in This Rule

Now we have written this Rule
in order that by its observance in monasteries
we may show that we have attained some degree of virtue
and the rudiments of the religious life.

But for those who would hasten to the perfection of that life
there are the teaching of the holy Fathers,
the observance of which leads to the height of perfection.
For what page or what utterance
of the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments
is not a most unerring rule for human life?
Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers
does not loudly proclaim
how we may come by a straight course to our Creator?
Then the Conferences and the Institutes
and the Lives of the Fathers,
as also the Rule of our holy Father Basil --
what else are they but tools of virtue
for right-living and obedient monks?
But for us who are lazy and ill-living and negligent
they are a source of shame and confusion.

Whoever you are, therefore,
who are hastening to the heavenly homeland,
fulfill with the help of Christ
this minimum Rule which we have written for beginners;
and then at length under God's protection
you will attain to the loftier heights of doctrine and virtue
which we have mentioned above.


This last chapter of the rule leaves us with a reading list for future spiritual development: the Bible, the Mothers and Fathers of the Church and their commentaries on scripture, and the classic contributions of other writers on the monastic life. But Benedict does not believe that the simple reading or study of spiritual literature is sufficient. He tells us to keep this rule, its values, its concepts, its insights. It is not what we read, he implies, it is what we become that counts. Every major religious tradition, in fact, has called for a change of heart, a change of life rather than for simply an analysis of its literature. The Hasidim, for instance, tell the story of the disciple who said to the teacher, "Teacher, I have gone completely through the Torah? What must I do now?"

And the teacher said, "Oh, my friend, the question is not, have you gone through the Torah. The question is, has the Torah gone through you?"

Even at the end of his rule, Benedict does not promise that we will be perfect for having lived it. What Benedict does promise is that we will be disposed to the will of God, attuned to the presence of God, committed to the search for God and just beginning to understand the power of God in our lives. Why? Because Benedictine simplicity gentles us into the arms of God. Benedictine community supports us on the way to God. Benedictine balance makes a wholesome journey possible. Monastic prayer, rooted in scripture lights the way. It is a way of life, a spirituality that makes the humdrum holy and the daily the stuff of high happiness. It is a way of life that lives life to the fullest offering, as this final chapter promises, that even more of the meaning of life is there for our taking if we will only follow this simple but profoundly life-altering way.


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.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 Christ is
The Holy Prophet Jeremiah
1 Vespers Mid Pentecost: Micah 4:2-3, 5:5:2-5, 8 Apostle: Acts
Gospel: St. John 7:1-13

Ruler of Israel: Micah 4:2-3,5; 5:2-5,8 LXX, especially vs. 4:2: "Out of
Zion shall go forth a law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
The Prophet Micah, in mystic harmony with God's Prophet Isaiah
(Is.2:3-4), prophesied to all mankind a future, world-changing era
during which many nations and peoples of the earth would come to the
House of the Lord, learn His ways, receive His judgment, and find the
way to peace among themselves. Ah, what a wonder for a blighted
planet! Yet, we have seen the fulfillment of the Prophets' words.
Blessed Micah of Moresheth was a contemporary of Isaiah. Hence, the
words of both men were penned eight centuries before the Incarnation of
the Son of God. To Isaiah's similar message, Micah added a unique
prediction of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus: "and thou, Bethlehem,
house of Ephrathah, art few in number to be reckoned among the thousands
of Judah; yet out of thee shall One come forth to Me, to be a ruler of
Israel" (Mic. 5:2).
Indeed, Christ our God has come forth out of eternity, "a Governor of
Nations, from the Virgin Maiden Incarnate...Who shall govern His people,
the new Israel. Let us, therefore, raise unto Him magnification!" This
we sing at the Feast of the Lord's Nativity. Now, at the Feast of
Mid-Pentecost, let us meditate on Micah's word as we stand within the
light of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord that our praise may be
the greater and more joyous.
Christ is risen! Thus, today many nations are singing exultantly, "Come
let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of
Jacob" (vs. 4:2). Notice how mankind's understanding of these words is
transformed by Christ's Nativity and Resurrection. Now we know that
Mount Zion refers to the Church of God, as does the phrase "the house of
the God of Jacob;" now even the city of Jerusalem also is perceived to
have a double designation (vs. 4:2): "Shine, shine, O new Jerusalem;
for the glory of the Lord hath risen upon Thee. Rejoice and exult now,
O Zion, and thou, O pure one, Theotokos, rejoice at the Resurrection of
Thy Son."
Today, Christ Jesus judges among peoples on every continent across the
face of the earth. A new Gospel Law is revealed in and through the
Church. Now, those who are hungry to learn the truth, "walk in the Name
of the Lord our God, for the age and beyond" (vs. 4:5). They are being
fed. Even, strong nations have been rebuked and brought into His courts
in praise. Militantly savage peoples have been healed and formed anew
by the healing power of His truth.
The Prophet Micah's words addressed to Bethlehem confirm to the Faithful
that the Holy Infant in the manger is He Who came forth to God, to "be a
ruler of Israel," for His going forth into His creation was "from the
beginning, even from the days of the age" (vs. 5:2). He, the Eternal
One, humbled Himself for our salvation. Men under the Old Covenant
waited for His coming, as the Prophet directed: "till the time of her
that travails," and, indeed, the Virgin gave birth, so that "the remnant
of their brethren" could "return to the children of Israel" (vs. 5:3).
Now, two thousand years later, the Lord stands as ever He has, and
beholds and feeds "His flock with power," again, as He has through all
time and shall forever. "They shall dwell in the glory of the Name of
the Lord their God, for now shall they be magnified to the ends of the
earth" (vs. 5:4). Let us be assured that no foe, world power, or
ideology - not even the gates of hell - shall prevail against His Church
(Mt. 16:18). Against all such "Assyrians," the Lord, as He always has,
shall raise up faithful shepherds to thwart the "attacks of men" (vs.
5:6). Christ's Church, as the true Remnant of Jacob, remains to this
day "as a lion in the forest" (vs. 5:8).
In the midst of the Mosaic Feast, O Christ God, Master and Maker of all,
Thou didst say, Come ye, and receive the water of immortality.
Wherefore we cry, Grant us Thy great mercy.


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