Thursday, May 03, 2007

03/05/07 Thurs 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 50; PM Psalm [59, 60] or 114, 115
Wisdom 5:9-23; Col. 2:8-23; Luke 6:39-49

From Forward Day by Day:

Luke 6:39-49. For it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

One of the rules of engagement for an organization in which I am involved is one we call "assumption of positive intent." We are a group of strong women with diverse viewpoints, and while we agree on the overall goals and desired outcome, our decision making about structure and the means to meet our goals is often frustrating. As we map out the job descriptions and tasks, it is a challenge to listen with respect. And it is even more of a challenge to respond to ideas we oppose, assuming they come from a desire for the good of the whole.

Our common mission can only be successful if each of us strives to listen and speak with what Luke calls "the abundance of the heart." This is not an easy discipline, especially when we care deeply about something, especially when we are convinced our point of view is the right one. Yet I find that if I take a moment to look deeply within and ask God's help, the abundance of the heart, a gift of God, can motivate my speaking. In our polarized world, this would seem a good first step in any conversation for those seeking to be faithful to the gospel.

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

Come, then, O beautiful soul. Since you know now that your desired Beloved lives hidden within your heart, strive to be really hidden with Him, and you will embrace Him within you and experience Him with loving affection.
St John of the Cross
Spiritual Canticle, 1.8

Reading from the Desert Christians

Two old men had lived together for many years and they had never fought with one another. The first said to the other, "Let us also have a fight like other men." The other replied, "I do not know how to fight." The first said to him, "Look, I will put a brick between us and I will say: it is mine; and you will reply: no, it is mine; and so the fight will begin." So they put a brick between them and the first said, "No, it is mine", and the other said, "No, it is mine." And the first replied, "If it is yours, take it and go." So they gave it up without being able to find a cause for an argument.

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

R. Shime'on said, There are three crowns: the crown of Thorah, and the crown of Priesthood, and the crown of Royalty (Ex. xxv. 10, 11; xxx. 1, 3; xxv. 23, 24); but the crown of a good name mounts above them (Eccl. vii. 1).

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Mosaic That Shows Us the Face of God

A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones. Some are blue, some are green, some are yellow, some are gold. When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone. But as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us a beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself.

That is what our life in community is about. Each of us is like a little stone, but together we reveal the face of God to the world. Nobody can say: "I make God visible." But others who see us together can say: "They make God visible." Community is where humility and glory touch.

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

Day Three - The Object, cont'd

Jesus calls those who would serve him to follow his example and choose for themselves the same path of renunciation and sacrifice. To those who hear and obey he promises union with God. The object of the Society of Saint Francis is to build a community of those who accept Christ as their Lord and Master and are dedicated to him in body and spirit. They surrender their lives to him and to the service of his people. The Third Order of the Society consists of those who, while following the ordinary professions of life, feel called to dedicate their lives under a definite discipline and vows. They may be female or male, married or single, ordained or lay.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

I BELIEVE that all human beings are artists; we all see the world differently and have different gifts for expressing what we see. Creativity is natural; it doesn’t have to be forced. We are creative because we share God’s Creator nature, made as we are in God’s image. All we have to do is open ourselves to divine creativity, and inspiration comes. … This removes some of the pressure when we want to “be creative”; we don’t have to act as isolated, independent agents, laboriously choosing products to create. We are vehicles, open conduits for God’s creativity naturally flowing through us.

- Sarah Parsons
A Clearing Season

From page 58 of A Clearing Season by Sarah Parsons. Copyright © 2005 by Sarah Parsons.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"Wisdom From St. Bonaventure"

Self-conscious prayer is not necessarily the best or the only form of prayer. To be praying, you don't need to know you are praying! How else could the Apostle Paul tell us to pray without ceasing? Paul was not naive or unaware of practical demands. He was, quite simply, mature in his spirituality. He was a "contemplative charismatic": Life and religion were synthesized; he had the vision of the whole. St. Bonaventure, building on the Franciscan experience of the Incarnation, saw the "traces" or "footprints" of God everywhere. The "journey of the mind to God" was to learn how to see the unity of all being, how to listen to the hidden God and how to read the footprints that were everywhere evident. The result was a life of gratitude and reverence and simple joy - a Franciscan spirituality. Thus Bonaventure, like most great saints, combined a highly contemplative personality with very active and effective ministry in secular and practical affairs.

from Catholic Charismatic, "To Be and to Let Be: The Life of Reverence"

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

Philip and James, apostles

When Philip heard Christ's call he was at once enlightened and he knew who the one calling him really was. But since he was a warm friend of Nathanael, and used to search the law and the prophets with him for sayings about Christ, not to share the treasure he had found with his friend would have been unthinkable. On meeting him, therefore, it was with the greatest joy that he told him of the one they had been looking for. The gospel says: Philip found Nathanael and told him: We have found the one whom Moses wrote about in the law and whom the prophets also wrote about, Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth.

It was as if he had cried out: We need not pore over the sacred books any longer, dear Nathanael, for we have met the one they tell about; we have found him for whom we have so long been searching.

Theophanes Cerameus, (12th century), bishop of Rossano in southern Italy, left outstanding sermons, written in Greek, noted for their simplicity and oratorical skill.

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


"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit." Ephesians 6:18

As we go on in intercession we may find that our obedience to God is going to cost other people more than we thought. The danger then is to begin to intercede in sympathy with those whom God was gradually lifting to a totally different sphere in answer to our prayers. Whenever we step back from identification with God's interest in others into sympathy with them, the vital connection with God has gone, we have put our sympathy, our consideration for them in the way, and this is a deliberate rebuke to God.

It is impossible to intercede vitally unless we are perfectly sure of God, and the greatest dissipator of our relationship to God is personal sympathy and personal prejudice. Identification is the key to intercession, and whenever we stop being identified with God, it is by sympathy, not by sin. It is not likely that sin will interfere with our relationship to God, but sympathy will, sympathy with ourselves or with others which makes us say - "I will not allow that thing to happen." Instantly we are out of vital connection with God.

Intercession leaves you neither time nor inclination to pray for your own "sad sweet self." The thought of yourself is not kept out, because it is not there to keep out; you are completely and entirely identified with God's interests in other lives.

Discernment is God's call to intercession, never to fault finding.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

SINCE it is lawful to pray for the coming of the Kingdom, it is lawful also to pray for the coming of the revolution that shall restore the Kingdom. It is lawful to hope to hear the wind of Heaven in the trees. It is lawful to pray, 'Thine anger come on earth as it is in Heaven.'

'Tremendous Trifles.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Let us arise, then, at last,
for the Scripture stirs us up, saying,
"Now is the hour for us to rise from sleep" (Rom. 13:11).
Let us open our eyes to the deifying light,
let us hear with attentive ears
the warning which the divine voice cries daily to us,
"Today if you hear His voice,
harden not your hearts" (Ps. 94:8).
And again,
"Whoever has ears to hear,
hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Matt. 11-15; Apoc. 2:7).
And what does He say?
"Come, My children, listen to Me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord" (Ps. 33:12).
"Run while you have the light of life,
lest the darkness of death overtake you" (John 12:35).


The paragraph is an insistent one, full of intensity, full of urgency. We put off so much in life--visiting relatives, writing letters, going back to school, finding a new job. But one thing stays with us always, present whether pursued or not, and that is the call to the center of ourselves where the God we are seeking is seeking us. Benedict says, Listen today. Start now. Begin immediately to direct your life to that small, clear voice within.

In this paragraph Benedict makes his first of the multiple allusions to scripture which emerge in the Rule time and time again to the point that a reader gets the idea that the Rule is simply a chain of scriptural quotations. The particular passages cited are important, of course, and give emphasis to the point of the excerpt. In these first references, for instance, Benedict reminds us that life is short, that we don't have time to waste time, that some things are significant in life and some things are not. We all have to ask ourselves what time it is in our own lives. We each have to begin to consider the eternal weight of what we are spending life doing. We have to start someday to wonder if we have spent our lives on gold or dross.

But as important as the content of the scriptural quotations themselves is the very message of their presence: The life laid out in this Rule is a life based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not the prescriptions of a private guru. It is an immersion in the Gospel life so intense that we never forget for a moment what we are really about. We don't just stumble through life from one pious exercise to another, hoping that in the end everything will be all right. We don't surfeit on this life, even the spiritual systems of it, and forget the life to come. No, we run toward the light, not with our hair shirts in hand but with the scriptures in hand, responsible to the presence of God in every moment and sure that life is only beginning when it ends.


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.

Thursday, May 3, 2007 Christ is Risen!
Theodosios, Founder of Russian Monasticism
3rd Vespers Mid-Pentecost: Proverbs 9:1-11
Apostle: Acts 10:34-43 Gospel: St. John 8:12-20

A Dinner Invitation: Proverbs 9:1-11 LXX, especially vs. 5: "Come, eat
of My bread, and drink wine which I have mingled for you." Nikitas
Stithatos teaches us that "we are also in the likeness of God if
we...are conscious of wisdom and spiritual knowledge, for these are
within Him and He is called Wisdom and Logos." So, first thing, we
understand that God the Word, the Logos, being personal Wisdom, is He
Who is issuing the invitation to His banquet.

Second, like all good invitations, this message tell us where to gather
for the banquet - at Wisdom's house set up with seven pillars (vs. 1).
The house of Wisdom has seven pillars and these signal that the house
referred to is the place where God is present personally to "cure our
wounded hearts and give health to our souls that lie in the bed of sin
and death." There He serves all who will accept His invitation, in the
very House of God, the Church (1 Tim. 3:15).

Third, the announcement tells us what will be offered at the feast:
" bread" (Prov. 9:3,5). While milk may satisfy
'babes," Wisdom is offering meat, that is, "solid food," by which "to
discern good and evil" (Heb. 5:13,14). Thus, Wisdom sets before us
bread and wine (Prov. 9:5), the Eucharistic gifts, revealing that the
banquet is none other than the Church's banquet with Christ. So then,
as Christos Yanaras cautions, "The bread and wine of the Eucharist are
not neutral objects which serve for the nourishment and survival of the
mortal individual, but they are the creation which is communicated and
received as a Lifegiving relationship with the Father, they are what is
created in a unity of life with the uncreated, they are the Body and
Blood of Christ."

Fourth, should there be any doubt remaining in our hearts, Wisdom's
invitation clearly reveals the banquet as the Eucharistic meal, by
speaking of that specific location within the Church from which the rich
foods are offered to us - a table is "prepared" (vs. 2), "a table before
[us] in the presence of them that afflict [us]" (Ps. 22:5 LXX). Wisdom
is calling us to the "sacred and spiritual table" from which we receive
"the heavenly and dread mysteries."

Fifth, Wisdom's invitation identifies those to whom it is offered as
well as those for whom it is not appropriate. If you know yourself to
have been attracted to folly but yearn to leave it, then the invitation
is for you, as it plainly states: "Leave folly, that ye may reign for
ever; and seek wisdom, and improve understanding by knowledge" (Prov.
9:6). However, one needs to be clear about what folly is. In Proverbs
it is understood as "lack of understanding... especially in a moral
sense" often including the ideas of wickedness and baseness.

Hence, the invitation gives "an opportunity to a wise man, and he will
be wiser: and [instructs] a just man, and he will receive more
instruction" (vs. 9). For those who are not willing to repent and
change, there is no sense in using this invitation to reprove or rebuke
them. They will only dishonor and disgrace the one who makes such an
invitation (vss. 7,8).

Sixth, the invitation tells us how to gain admission to the Feast that
Wisdom is offering. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom,
and the counsel of saints is understanding" (vs. 10). St. Diadochos of
Photiki guides us on by saying, "when...through great attentiveness the
soul begins to be purified, it also begins to experience the fear of God
as a life-giving medicine."

Finally, the invitation details what benefits follow from being
attentive to one's soul. Very simply: "to know the law is the character
of a sound mind" (vs. 10). Thus, if you seek a pure soul, the promise
is "thou shalt live long and years of thy life shall be added to thee"

O Thou Who willingly dost give Thy flesh to me as food, cleanse my soul,
and hallow Thou my thoughts. Establish me wholly in Thy fear. Cleanse
me, purify and control me.


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