Saturday, May 12, 2007

12/05/07 Sat week of 5th Sunday in 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.

Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 75, 76; PM Psalm 23, 27
Wisdom 19:1-8,18-22; Rom. 15:1-13; Luke 9:1-17

From Forward Day by Day:

Luke 9:1-17. Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money-not even an extra tunic.

Traveling light is a spiritual discipline. Jesus knew that as he sent the disciples out to surrounding cities. Theirs was gospel work: healing, peacemaking, proclaiming good news. We want a hotel room. But Jesus tells the disciples to rely on the kindness of those they meet.

I travel in my work. My attempts to travel light have often been thwarted by the need to have the right clothes to wear, the right book to get me through the plane delay, a quote for my talk, or the proper cosmetic for any unplanned event. I am reluctant to strip to the bare essentials--to myself and the message I might bring. I "need" what I think will keep me safe.

Recent airline security rules have helped. As I watch strangers disrobe before me, as I too am removing belt, sweater and shoes, I am aware of our common vulnerability. This stripping, coming through with nothing, this moment before I pick up the bags, safely x-rayed, donning sweater, belt, shoes, I am reminded of Jesus' instructions to take nothing for the journey, except, of course, good news and the healing hands filled with Holy Spirit power.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Northern California
++++++++++ Reflections

I understood that love comprised all vocations, that love was everything, that it embraced all times and places, in a word, that it was eternal! ... O Jesus, my Love ... my vocation, at last I have found it, my vocation is love! the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall be Love.
St Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

An old man said, "Every time a thought of superiority or vanity moves you, examine your conscience to see if you have kept all the commandments, whether you love your enemies, whether you consider yourself to be an unprofitable servant and the greatest sinner of all. Even so, do not pretend to great ideas as though you were perfectly right, for that thought destroys everything."

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

By ten Sayings the world was created. And what is learned therefrom? for could it not have been created by one Saying? But it was that vengeance might be taken on the wicked, who destroy the world that was created by ten Sayings; and to give a goodly reward to the righteous, who maintain the world that was created by ten Sayings.

2. Ten generations were there from Adam to Noach, to shew how great was His longsuffering; for all the generations were provoking Him, till He brought the deluge upon them.

3. Ten generations were there from Noach to Abraham, to shew how great was His longsuffering; for all the generations were provoking Him, till Abraham our father came, and received the reward of them all.

4. With ten temptations was Abraham our father tempted, and he withstood them all; to shew how great was the love of Abraham our father.

5. Ten miracles were wrought for our fathers in Egypt; and ten by the sea.

6. Ten plagues brought the Holy One, blessed is He, upon the Egyptians in Egypt; and ten by the Sea.

7. With ten temptations did our fathers tempt God in the wilderness, for it is said, And they have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice (Numb. xiv. 22).

8. Ten miracles were wrought in the Sanctuary. No woman miscarried from the scent of the holy meat; and the holy meat never stank; and an uncleanness befel not the highpriest on the day of the Atonement; and a fly was not seen in the slaughterhouse; and a defect was not found in the sheaf; nor in the two loaves; nor in the shewbread; and rains quenched not the pile; and the wind prevailed not against the pillar of smoke; they stood serried, and bowed down at ease; and serpent and scorpion harmed not in Jerusalem; and a man said not to his fellow, The place is too strait for me (Is. xlix. 20) to lodge in Jerusalem.

9. Ten things were created between the suns. The mouth of the earth; and the mouth of the well; and the mouth of the ass; and the bow (Gen. lx. 13); and the manna; and the rod (a rod of power given to Adam, passed down to Joseph and eventually to Pharaoh; Moses alone could read the letters on it); and the shamir-worm (a magical worm Moses used to engrave the tablets of the law and split stones); and the character; and the writing; and the tables. And some say, the spirits also; and the sepulchre of Moses (Deut. xxxiv. 6); and the ram of Abraham our father (Gen. xxii. 13). And some say, tongs also, made with tongs.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Drinking the Cup

After firmly holding the cups of our lives and lifting them up as signs of hope for others, we have to drink them. Drinking our cups means fully appropriating and interiorizing what each of has acknowledged as our life, with all its unique sorrows and joys.

How do we drink our cups? We drink them as we listen in silence to the truth of our lives, as we speak in trust with friends about ways we want to grow, and as we act in deeds of service. Drinking our cups is following freely and courageously God's call and staying faithfully on the path that is ours. Thus our life cups become the cups of salvation. When we have emptied them to the bottom, God will fill them with "water" for eternal life.

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

Day Twelve - The Third Aim, cont'd

Personal spending is limited to what is necessary for our health and well-being and that of our dependents. We aim to stay free from all attachment to wealth, keeping ourselves constantly aware of the poverty in the world and its claim on us. We are concerned more for the generosity that gives all, rather than the value of poverty in itself. In this way we reflect in spirit the acceptance of Jesus' challenge to sell all, give to the poor, and follow him.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

GOD WILL BRING PEACE. … And if God chooses to fulfill promises by an incarnate Messiah, who is to say that God will not bring the promised peace, not by manipulating history at a distance but by acting today through persons and institutions of faith? …

When the day of God’s shalom does dawn, may it be said that the Child of Bethlehem, the Prince of Peace, was alive and well in our shalom-bringing, peace-making lives — even on the West Bank, even in all the other places where peace remains far more promise than fulfillment. For there, God’s shalom awaits our trust, our hope, and our making of peace with one another as God has made peace with us in Jesus Christ.

- John Indermark
Setting the Christmas Stage

From pages 19-20 of Setting the Christmas Stage by John Indermark. Copyright © 2001 by John Indermark.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"Prayer Is a Place"

Prayer is a psychological place, a spiritual place, a place where we go to get out of ourselves, a place created and inhabited by God. Whatever disciplines can help us to get to where reality can get at us (the Real in its ultimate sense being God) I would call prayer. That opens up many possibilities and styles. Prayer is whatever calls us to detach from our own self, from our own compulsions and addictions, from our own ego, from our own "place." We are all too trapped in our own places by virtue of the egocentricity of the human person. In prayer the Spirit entices us outside of our narrow comfort zone. No wonder we avoid prayer: We have to change place.

from Catholic Agitator, "Finding a Place for Prayer"

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

The bread of life

Jesus said to the people: "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall never hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." He did not say "the bread of bodily nourishment," but "the bread of life." For when everything had been reduced to a condition of spiritual death, the Lord gave us life through himself, who is bread because, as we believe, the leaven in the dough of our humanity was baked through and through by the fire of his divinity. He is the bread not of this ordinary life, but of a very different kind of life which death will never cut short.

Whoever believes in this bread will never hunger, will never be famished for want of hearing the word of God; nor will such a person be parched by spiritual thirst through lack of the waters of baptism and the consecration imparted by the Spirit. The unbaptized, deprived of the refreshment afforded by the sacred water, suffer thirst and great aridity. The baptized, on the other hand, being possessed of the Spirit, enjoy its continual consolation.

Theophylact of Ochrida, (1050 - 1109), archbishop of Ochrida, theologian and language scholar, taught rhethoric and was tutor to the imperial heir presumptive. He wrote commentaries on many books of the bible.

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


"For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful." 2 Peter 1:8 (R.V.)

When we begin to form a habit we are conscious of it. There are times when we are conscious of becoming virtuous and patient and godly, but it is only a stage; if we stop there we shall get the strut of the spiritual prig. The right thing to do with habits is to lose them in the life of the Lord, until every habit is so practised that there is no conscious habit at all. Our spiritual life continually resolves into introspection because there are some qualities we have not added as yet. Ultimately the relationship is to be a completely simple one.

Your god may be your little Christian habit, the habit of prayer at stated times, or the habit of Bible reading. Watch how your Father will upset those times if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes - I can't do that just now, I am praying; it is my hour with God. No, it is your hour with your habit. There is a quality that is lacking in you. Recognize the defect and then look for the opportunity of exercising yourself along the line of the quality to be added.

Love means that there is no habit visible, you have come to the place where the habit is lost, and by practice you do the thing unconsciously. If you are consciously holy, there are certain things you imagine you cannot do, certain relationships in which you are far from simple; that means there is something to be added. The only supernatural life is the life the Lord Jesus lived, and He was at home with God anywhere. Is there anywhere where you are not at home with God? Let God press through in that particular circumstance until you gain Him, and life becomes the simple life of a child.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be

Therefore, when anyone receives the name of Abbess,
she ought to govern her disciples with a twofold teaching.
That is to say,
she should show them all that is good and holy
by her deeds even more than by her words,
expounding the Lord's commandments in words
to the intelligent among her disciples,
but demonstrating the divine precepts by her actions
for those of harder hearts and ruder minds.
And whatever she has taught her disciples
to be contrary to God's law,
let her indicate by her example that it is not to be done,
lest, while preaching to others, she herself be found reprobate (1 Cor. 9:27),
and lest God one day say to her in her sin,
"Why do you declare My statutes
and profess My covenant with your lips,
whereas you hate discipline
and have cast My words behind you" (Ps. 49:16-17)?
And again,
"You were looking at the speck in your brother's eye,
and did not see the beam in your own" (Matt. 7:3).


The Tao says,

"We join spokes together in a wheel
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move."

Benedict says that those who hold authority in a community are not to be above the group, they are to be the centers of it, the norm of it, the movers of it. They themselves are to mirror its values. Their job is not simply to give orders. Their job is to live out the ideals. It is an authority far removed from office elitism or pompous hierarchy or highhanded parenting.

Benedict calls a community to obedience, yes, but he does not call it to servitude. He does not call people to conformity for the sake of conformity. That's where modern concepts of blind obedience and the monastic concept of cenobitic obedience are so distinct from one another. Blind obedience demands that underlings comply with authority without thought of consequences. Cenobitic obedience insists that equals must bring a thoughtful concern for what is best for everyone before they ask anything of consequence.

Autocrats and militarists and spiritual charlatans and abusive parents and corporate moguls want the people under them to obey laws from which their exalted positions hold them exempt. Benedict says that the only authentic call for obedience comes from those who themselves demonstrate the value of the law.

The point is that what we do not live we do not have a right to require, and that for two reasons: first, because it is a hollow call to insist that others do what we do not do ourselves and secondly, because it requires for the sake of requiring something rather than for the merit of the requirement itself. To hold people under us to a law which we ourselves have no intention of respecting is to make a mockery of what we ask. Employees whom we require to work because we will not; children who are told to avoid what they see us doing with impunity; citizens who must do what they see us declaring exempt for ourselves, do learn from us. They learn that law is useless and that we are frauds and that power protects only the powerful. Benedict is saying that if the laws are good, then people will be able to see that in the lawgiver.

But Benedict is saying even more than this. Benedict is saying that the function of spiritual leadership is not to intimidate people into submission by fear or guilt. The function of spiritual leadership is to show in our own lives the beauty that oozes out of those who live the spiritual life to its fullness. The function of spiritual leadership is to enshrine what a good life can be.

The abbot and prioress are to make of themselves the light that guides and the crystal that rings true. Otherwise, why should anyone else attempt the Way at all. "Love work and hate lordship," the Hasidim teach their rabbis. It is Benedict's teaching, too.

Dynamis is a daily Bible meditation based upon the lectionary of the Holy Orthodox Church.

Saturday, May 12, 2007 Christ is Risen!
Germanos, Patriarch of Constantinople
Kellia: Deuteronomy 4:1-9 Apostle: Acts 15:35-41
Gospel: St. John 10:27-38

Finding Life: Deuteronomy 4:1-9, especially vs. 1: “And now, Israel,
hear the ordinances and judgments, all that I teach you this day to do:
that ye may live.” Before an Orthodox Christian receives the Christian
Mystery, the Church prays that he may be inscribed in God’s “Book of
Life.” She begs God to remove all delusion from the catechumen that he
might know the Lord as “the only true God,” and that by His grace he
might “walk in all [His] commandments.” Notice the correspondence
between the latter phrases of this prayer and the language of the
passage before us from Deuteronomy. The truth shared by the prayer and
the reading is that, “if a man do these things, he shall find life in
them.” The issue is to find life, is truly to live.

In the present passage from Deuteronomy, the Holy Prophet Moses strives
to impress on God’s People to find life in practicing the Faith. His
teaching is true for Orthodox Christians today just as it was for God’s
People of the Old Covenant. Spiritual death and destruction are possible
always. However, to live, to “go in and inherit the land, which the Lord
God of your fathers gives you ” (vs. 1), requires us not to “add to the
word which I command you, and ye shall not take from it” (vs. 2). The
Holy Faith delivered to us by the Prophets and Apostles demands a choice
from us between life or death. Finding life, very plainly, demands
obedience, constancy in prayer and worship, and, above all, watchfulness
over our hearts and souls.

Notice how Moses stresses the need for obedience as the way to life. God
has revealed how we are to walk - how we are to live. In turn, we are to
“hear the ordinances and judgments” of God (vs. 1). Obedience begins
with attention to what God requires. There is no adjusting or
accommodating to fads, opinions, or moral trends in society. God’s
revelation is not subject to tampering to suit ourselves. Let us be like
those of old who “kept close to the Lord” (vs. 3) and remained alive
with true hope of the Promised Land before them.

The Prophet reveals that participation by a significant number of
Israelites in the pagan worship of the Moabite idol - the “Baal of Peor”
- was tantamount to adding to God’s statutes and ordinances (Nu. 25:3).
The People were invited to the idolatrous sacrifices which included
cultic “whoring after the daughters of Moab” (Nu. 25:1), attending their
sacrifices, eating at the feasts, and worshiping their idols (Nu. 25:2).
To succumb to the allure of those debased fertility rites brought the
sure doom of death by execution and the plague (Nu. 25:8-9). We find
life not by adding forbidden activities to our lives when they attract
us, but by obeying the word of God.

Moses reminded the Israelites that those who “kept close to the Lord
your God are all alive to-day” (Deut. 4:4). God nourishes the obedient
at Orthodox prayer and worship. This is why the Church cautions us about
frequenting “the meetings of heretics and schismatics,” or “forsaking
the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some” (Heb.
10:25). There is blessing promised in regular prayer and worship: “
everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your
requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all
understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”
(Phil. 4:6,7).

Finally, the Prophet teaches us to attend to our souls and “forget not
any of the things, which thine eyes have seen, and let them not depart
from thine heart” (Deut. 4:9). “Without watchfulness...ignorance is not
recognized, it is camouflaged, it hides, it is full of conceit,
especially in the contemporary technological, conceited, and arrogant
man,” as Archimandrite Ioannikios Kotsanis says. So, post a guard within
that the Lord of Life may abide in your heart.

From my youth up many passions have warred against me. But do Thou help
and save me, O my Savior. Yea, let my humble heart be lighted by Thy
fear, lest it rise and fall from Thee


Post a Comment

<< Home