Monday, May 21, 2007

21/05/07 Monday in the 7th week 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.


O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 89:1-18; PM Psalm 89:19-52
Ezek. 4:1-17; Heb. 6:1-12; Luke 9:51-62

From Forward Day by Day:

Luke 9:51-62. I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.

When I was twenty-five, I attended a speech by a Guatemalan nun working with families whose loved ones had "disappeared" in rebel warfare. Even as she lamented the violence, she was hopeful about her work and the possibility of peace. At the end she invited us to join in her efforts. I was so inspired by her words, her commitment, and her faith that I was ready to sign up. My heart was ready to "leave everything" to join in her peace-building efforts. But then my brain overruled my heart, and I decided a return to graduate school would be a more sensible choice. I trust good work has been done in the interim.

In Jesus' invitation to discipleship, he did not suggest the sensible choice, that we weigh the pros and cons of the journey and then decide. Rather, his was an invitation to conversion now, to throw caution to the wind, to live in a new way. I heard the call to discipleship in the words of the nun, and while I did not quite have the courage to leave everything and work in Guatemala, her call has stayed with me. I treasure the moment I considered it. Perhaps a similar invitation is still to come and this time I will say yes!

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Northern Uganda (Uganda)
++++++++++ Reflections

Let us remember our holy Fathers of past days, the hermits whose lives we attempt to imitate. What sufferings they bore, what solitude, cold and hunger, what burning sun and heat! … Do you suppose they were made of iron? No, they were as frail as we are.
St Teresa of Jesus
Way, 11.4

Reading from the Desert Christians

A brother asked, "I have found a place where my peace is not disturbed by the brethren; do you advise me to live there?" Abba Poemen replied, "The place for you is where you will not harm the brothers."

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

Said Rabbi Jehoshua' ben Levi, Every day Bath Qol goes forth from Mount Choreb, and makes proclamation and says, Woe to the creatures for contempt of Thorah, for whosoever does not occupy himself in Thorah is called "blameworthy," for it is said, As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion (Prov. xi. 22). And it saith, And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables (Ex. xxxii. 16); read not CHARUTH, graven, but CHERUTH, freedom, for thou wilt find no freeman but him who is occupied in learning of Thorah; and whosoever is occupied in learning of Thorah, behold he exalts himself, for it is said, And from Matthanah to Nachaliel: and from Nachaliel to Bamoth (Numb. xxi. 19).

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Jesus' Compassion

Jesus is called Emmanuel which means "God-with-us" (see Matthew 1: 22-23). The great paradox of Jesus' life is that he, whose words and actions are in no way influenced by human blame or praise but are completely dependent on God's will, is more "with" us than any other human being.

Jesus' compassion, his deep feeling-with us, is possible because his life is guided not by human respect but only by the love of his heavenly Father. Indeed, Jesus is free to love us because he is not dependent on our love.

The Merton Reflection for the Week of May 21, 2007

"The person is defined in terms of freedom, hence in terms of responsibility also: responsibility to other persons, responsibility for other persons. To put it in concrete terms, the Christian is not only one who seeks the expansion and development of his own individuality and the satisfaction of his most legitimate natural needs but one who recognizes himself responsible for the good of others, for their own temporal fulfillment, and ultimately for their eternal salvation. Hence, the Christian person reaches maturity with the realization that each one of us is indeed his "brother's keeper," and that if men are suffering and dying in Asia or Africa, other men in Europe and America are summoned to self-judgment before the bar of conscience to see whether, in fact, some choice or neglect on their own part has had a part in this suffering and this dying, which otherwise may seem so strange and remote. For today the whole world is bound tightly together by economic, cultural and sociological ties which make us all, to some extent, responsible for what happens to others on the far side of the earth. Man is now not only a social being; his social nature transcends national and regional limits, and whether we like it or not, we must think in terms of one human family, one world."

Thomas Merton. Love and Living. Naomi Burton Stone and Brother Patrick Hart, editors. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979: 152-153

Thought to Remember

"The center of Christian humanism is the idea that God is love, not infinite power."

Love and Living: 149

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

Day Twenty One - The Three Notes of the Order

Humility, love, and joy are the three notes which mark the lives of Tertiaries. When these characteristics are evident throughout the Order, its work will be fruitful. Without them, all that it attempts will be in vain.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

MAKE US LIKE THE WIND — ever-moving and ever moving others. And with joy we will dance with the leaves. In submission we will linger in the shade, cooling the skin of those scorched by the sun’s heat. In awe we will pause and be still enough to hover over creation, admiring your world and waiting for your command. And when you move us, we will fly with more strength, reminding people that you are present even in times you may seem invisible. Breathe into our souls, Lord, and make us like the wind, like your Holy Spirit — in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

- Ciona D. Rouse
The Africana Worship Book: Year A

From page 31 of The Africana Worship Book: Year Aedited by Valerie Bridgeman Davis and Safiyah Fosua. Copyright © 2006 by Discipleship Resources.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"The Providence of God"

“God cooperates with those who love by turning everything to their own good.” (Romans 8:28) St. Paul says that God both initiates and cooperates in all human growth. God “works together with” us, which means both our workings are crucial. Every moment, God is trying to expand your freedom. Can you imagine that? God is trying to make this choice more alive, more vital, more clear, more true. God even uses your mistakes and your sin in that regard. Nothing at all is wasted. I believe that’s profoundly true. If that’s not the providence of God, what else would be “providential”? The provident care of God is that God is working for our wholeness, for our liberation, probably more than we are. We can only keep our desire awakened, and keep ourselves out of the way so we can work together. It’s co-creation spirituality. “With such a God on our side, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

from Enneagram II: Tool for Conversion

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

A marvelous mix-up!

In this life there is within us who are to be saved a surprising mixture of good and bad. We have our risen Lord; we have the wretchedness and mischief done by Adam's fall and death. Kept secure by Christ we are assured, by his touch of grace, of salvation; broken by Adam's fall, and in many ways by our own sins and sorrows, we are so darkened and blinded that we can hardly find any comfort. But in our heart we abide in God, and confidently trust to his mercy and grace—and this is his working in us. And of his goodness he opens the eye of our understanding so that we can see; sometimes it is less, sometimes more, according to our God-given ability to receive it. Now we are uplifted by the one; now we are allowed to fall into the other. And this fluctuating is so baffling that we are hard put to know where we stand, whether we are thinking of ourselves or of our fellow believers. It certainly is a marvelous mix-up! But the one thing that matters is that we always say "Yes" to God whenever we experience him, and really do will to be with him, with all our heart and soul and strength.

Julian of Norwich, (1342 - 1423), an anchoress who lived in solitude in Norwich, England, received the sixteen "showings" or revelations of God's love in a series of experience visions.

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


"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

Immediately we look at these words of Jesus, we find them the most revolutionary statement human ears ever listened to. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God." We argue in exactly the opposite way, even the most spiritually-minded of us - "But I must live; I must make so much money; I must be clothed; I must be fed." The great concern of our lives is not the kingdom of God, but how we are to fit ourselves to live. Jesus reverses the order: Get rightly related to God first, maintain that as the great care of your life, and never put the concern of your care on the other things.

"Take no thought for your life. . . ." Our Lord points out the utter unreasonableness from His standpoint of being so anxious over the means of living. Jesus is not saying that the man who takes thought for nothing is blessed - that man is a fool. Jesus taught that a disciple has to make his relationship to God the dominating concentration of his life, and to be carefully careless about every thing else in comparison to that. Jesus is saying - "Don't make the ruling factor of your life what you shall eat and what you shall drink, but be concentrated absolutely on God." Some people are careless over what they eat and drink, and they suffer for it; they are careless about what they wear, and they look as they have no business to look; they are careless about their earthly affairs, and God holds them responsible. Jesus is saying that the great care of the life is to put the relationship to God first, and everything else second.

It is one of the severest disciplines of the Christian life to allow the Holy Spirit to bring us into harmony with the teaching of Jesus in these verses.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day


Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict
Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

44. To fear the Day of Judgment.
45. To be in dread of hell.
46. To desire eternal life with all the passion of the spirit.
47. To keep death daily before one's eyes.
48. To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life.
49. To know for certain that God sees one everywhere.
50. When evil thoughts come into one's heart, to dash them against Christ immediately.
51. And to manifest them to one's spiritual mother.
52. To guard one's tongue against evil and depraved speech.
53. Not to love much talking.
54. Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.
55. Not to love much or boisterous laughter.
56. To listen willingly to holy reading.
57. To devote oneself frequently to prayer.
58. Daily in one's prayers, with tears and sighs, to confess one's past sins to God, and to amend them for the future.
59. Not to fulfill the desires of the flesh; to hate one's own will.
60. To obey in all things the commands of the Abbess, even though she herself (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the Lord's precept, "Do what they say, but not what they do."
61. Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy; but first to be holy, that one may be truly so called.


Place your hope in God alone. If you notice something good in yourself, give credit to God, not to yourself, but be certain that the evil you commit is always your own and yours to acknowledge.

Grace and goodness come from God, the Rule insists. We are not the sole authors of our own story. What does come from us, though, are the decisions we make in the face of the graces we receive. We can either respond to each life grace and become what we might be in every situation, whatever the effort, or we can reject the impulses that the magnate in us called goodness brings in favor of being less than we ought to be.

It is those decisions that we must bend our lives to better.

Live in fear of the day of judgment and have a great horror of hell. Yearn for everlasting life with holy desire. Day by day remind yourself that you are going to die. Hour by hour keep careful watch over all you do, aware that God's gaze is upon you, wherever you may be. As soon as wrongful thoughts come into your heart, dash them against Christ and disclose them to your spiritual guide. Guard your lips from harmful or deceptive speech.

Motives for the spiritual life change as we change, grow as we grow. At earlier stages it is the fear of punishment that controls passions not yet spent. At a more developed stage, it is the desire for ceaseless life that impels us. At another point, it is the shattering awareness of our own mortality that brings us to brave the thought of a life beyond life and its claim on us.

Whatever the motive, Benedict reminds us that the consciousness of God's presence, behind us, within us, in front of us demands a change of heart, a change of attention from us. From now on we must think differently and tell a different truth.

Prefer moderation in speech and speak no foolish chatter, nothing just to provoke laughter; do not love immoderate or boisterous laughter.

A Jewish proverb reads: "Not every heart that laughs is cheerful" and Ben Sirach taught in Ecclesiasticus,21:20 "Fools raise their voices when they laugh, but the wise smile quietly."

Unlike a culture that passionately pursues unmitigated and undisciplined bliss, Benedict wants moderation, balance, control in everything. Life, he knows, is more than one long party. He wants a spirituality in which people are happy but not boisterously unaware of life in all its aspects, responsive but thoughtful, personable but serious. He wants us to keep everything in perspective. Benedict warns us over and over again in the Rule not to be overtaken, consumed, swept up, swallowed by anything because, no matter how good the thing that absorbs us, we lose other goods in life because of our total lack of discipline about a single part of it.

The Talmud writes: The Torah may be likened to two paths, one of fire, the other of snow. Turn in one direction,and you die of heat; turn to the other and you die of the cold. What should you do? Walk in the middle. (Hagigah, 2:1

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

Mon., May 21, 2007
Equals-to-the-Apostles Emperor Constantine & his Mother Helena
1st Vespers Constantine & Helena:
3 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30 LXX (1 Kings MT)
Apostle: Acts 26:1, 12-20 Gospel: St.
John 10:1-9

Prayers Old and New: 3 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30 LXX, especially vs 30: "And
Thou shalt hearken to the prayer of Thy servant and of Thy people
Israel, which they shall pray toward this place; and Thou shalt hear in
Thy dwelling-place in heaven, and Thou shalt do and be gracious." In
959 BC, during the reign of King Solomon, the dynasty of the Davidic
kings reached a zenith with the construction of the first permanent
Temple where the People of God might pray and hearken to God with

After completion of a twenty year building program, grand ceremonies
were arranged to dedicate the House of the Lord, the foremost ritual
being the settling of the Ark of the Presence within the Most Holy Place
- the inner sanctuary of the Temple. A procession brought the Ark into
Jerusalem, up to Mount Zion, and into the sacred and Most Holy Oracle
within the Temple, accompanied by offerings of countless sacrifices from
all present (3 Kngs 5:1-8:9). In response, God filled the Temple with a
powerful cloud of His glory so that the priests "could not stand to
minister" (3 Kngs 8:11). Then, King Solomon addressed the nation and
led them in a dedicatory prayer, the introduction of which is the
present reading. It includes seven elements worthy of any petition to
God seeking His blessing and aid, and is reminiscent of many Orthodox

The first of Solomon's petitions glorifies the "Lord God of Israel" in
His uniqueness "in heaven above and on the earth beneath" (vs. 23). It
is similar to the address to God in our Liturgy as "ineffable,
inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever-existing and eternally
the same."

Next, Israel's King speaks of God's faithfulness in "keeping covenant
and mercy" with the nation and its royal house, a promise out of God's
mouth and fulfilled with His hands (vs. 23) - like our recognition of
His creating and endowing of us with His "Kingdom which is to come."

Third, Solomon recalls specifics in God's promises kept toward His
"servant David my father" and " at this day" (vs. 24), in
form much like the words of remembrance in our Liturgy recalling God's
saving acts in "the cross, the grave, [and] the third day resurrection."

Recognizing the temerity of his request of God, King Solomon next faces
the question of whether God can be said "indeed [to] dwell with men upon
the earth" (vs. 27), which certainly parallels the Divine mystery of the
Holy Spirit making "this bread the precious Body of...Christ."

Thus, Solomon refers again to God's faithfulness (from vs. 23) and
recognizes that God will hear his prayer (vs. 28) even as we acknowledge
that He will help us and "all mankind."

King Solomon's sixth point is of special importance within the ageless
tradition of God's people of making thanksgiving for everything that God
wills and faithfully fulfills. Especially we are grateful for God's
care for temples dedicated to Him, both "day and night, even toward the
place which [He] saidst, My Name shall be there" (vs. 29). Thus,
Orthodox Christians pray for our houses of worship "and those who with
faith, reverence and fear of God enter therein."

And last, in the preface to his prayer, Solomon once again humbly admits
to God that he knows that He will "hearken to the prayer of Thy servant
and of Thy people Israel, which they shall pray toward this place; and
Thou shalt hear in Thy dwelling-place in heaven, and Thou shalt do and
be gracious" (vs. 30). And how do we conclude the Divine Liturgy? Is
it not by freely acknowledging that God blesses "those who bless [Him}
and sanctifiest those who put their trust in [Him]," preserving "the
fulness of [His] Church."

How shall I, the unworthy, dare to enter Thy holy place, for my garment
will denounce me, and I shall be cast out. Cleanse, O Lord my soul and
save me, Thou Lover of mankind!



Post a Comment

<< Home