Friday, May 25, 2007

25/05/07 Friday, week of 7th Sunday 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, 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 102; PM Psalm 107:1-32
Ezek. 34:17-31; Heb. 8:1-13; Luke 10:38-42

From Forward Day by Day:

Luke 10:38-42. Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.

My house is often a gathering place for friends and colleagues--for a meeting, a party, a discussion of recent events. I love providing the space, the food, the warmth for such a gathering. The conversation is always stimulating and the bonds of friendship and faith are deepened. Too often I find myself anxious about whether everything is perfectly in place before friends arrive. Jesus' words to Martha echo in my ears: "You are distracted by many things."

The key, of course, is to find the balance. Hospitality and welcome do require preparation. The host does need to be attentive to guests. But to engage people deeply, I must go beyond the superficial need for the perfect setting. That could mean sitting with friends, not worrying about perfection, letting go of the hustle, and allowing the bonds of companionship and conversation to grow without control or distraction. When Jesus chided Martha, perhaps he was inviting both sisters to sit with him at his side. The dishes could be done later.

Today we remember:

Psalm 78:1-4 or 19:7-11(12-14)
Wisdom 7:15-22; Matthew 13:47-52

Heavenly Father, who called your servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to your service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of your truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make you known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Norwich (Canterbury, England)

++++++++++ Reflections

Prayer of a soul enkindled with love. My Way is the way of trust and love.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

A brother in scetis went to ask for a word from abba Moses and the old man said to him, "Go and sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything."

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

Greater is Thorah than the priesthood, and than the kingdom; for the kingdom is acquired by thirty degrees, and the priesthood by four and twenty, and the Thorah is acquired by forty and eight things. And these are they, by learning, by a listening ear, by ordered speech, by discernment of heart, by dread, by fear, by meekness, by cheerfulness, by pureness, by attendance upon the wise, by discussion with associates, by the argumentation of disciples, by sedateness; by Scripture, by Mishnah; by little traffic, by little intercourse, by little luxury, by little sleep, by little converse, by little merriment; by long-suffering, by a good heart, by faith in the wise, by acceptance of chastisements; he that knows his place, and that rejoices in his portion, and that makes a fence to his words, and does not claim merit to himself; he is loved, loves God, loves mankind, loves righteousnesses, loves uprightness, loves reproofs; and retires from honour, and puffs not up his heart with his learning, and is not forward in decision; bears the yoke with his associate, and inclines him to the scale of merit, and grounds him upon the truth, and grounds him upon peace; and settles his heart to his study; asks and answers, hears and adds thereto; he that learns in order to teach, and that learns in order to practise; that makes his master wiser, and that considers what he has heard, and that tells a thing in the name of him that said it. Lo, thou hast learned that whosoever tells a thing in the name of him that said it, brings redemption to the world, for it is said, And Esther told it to the king in the name of Mordekai (Esth. ii. 22).

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Jesus is Gentle

Jesus, the Blessed One, is gentle. Even though he speaks with great fervor and biting criticism against all forms of hypocrisy and is not afraid to attack deception, vanity, manipulation and oppression, his heart is a gentle heart. He won't break the crushed reed or snuff the faltering wick (see Matthew 12:20). He responds to people's suffering, heals their wounds, and offers courage to the fainthearted.

Jesus came to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind, and freedom to prisoners (see Luke 4:18-19) in all he says, and thus he reveals God's immense compassion. As his followers, we are called to that same gentleness.

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

Day Twenty Five - The Second Note -


Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35) Love is the distinguishing feature of all true disciples of Christ who wish to dedicate themselves to him as his servants.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

WITHIN US ALL is a slumbering miracle, a latent Christ, a Light, a Power, and immediacy with God. To find this “indwelling Christ” actively, dynamically working within us, is to find the secret that Jesus wanted to give people. It isn’t a matter of believing in the Inner Light; it is a matter of yielding your lives to Him. … It is having a Center of creative power and joy and creation within you.

- Thomas Kelly
The Sanctuary of the Soul

From page 24 of The Sanctuary of the Soul: Selected Writings of Thomas Kelly edited by Keith Beasley-Topliffe. Copyright © 1997 by Upper Room Books.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Find the Great Love"

When you can trust, as Gerald May says, that “there is a part of you that has always said yes to God,” then you can trust your soul, even if you’ve gone down a lot of dead ends. Even those dead ends will be turned around. That’s the providence of God. Trust that even your dead ends, your mistakes, your sins were still misguided attempts to find love. Don’t hate yourself, just be honest with yourself! Even your sexual forays, your drug problems, your alcoholism – they were all misguided attempts to find the Great Love. Your heart of hearts says, I know the foundation of reality is love. You already know that! It’s written in your soul! You came forth from it! It’s what you can’t forget! Religion reminds us what we’ve all forgotten and what our soul already knows. When we see God, it will not be a new discovery. It will be a profound recognition of that heart and soul of yourself that is already in union with God. All contemplation, all true prayer, is an attempt to go back to that place. My hope in giving the Enneagram is that it will be an aid on that journey toward the great compassion: toward yourself and toward all the other eight – and eight hundred – types of sisters and brothers the Enneagram describes.

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.

The Father will give the good Spirit

To ask God for the justice of his kingdom is to ask principally for faith, hope, and love. These virtues above all we should strive to obtain. The Lord graciously promises that the Father will give the good Spirit to those who ask him, in order to show that those who of themselves are evil can become good by receiving the grace of the Spirit. He promises the good Spirit will be given by the Father because whether it is faith, hope, or any other virtue we desire to obtain, we shall do so only through the grace of the Holy Spirit.

As we do our best, then, to follow in our Lord's footsteps, let us ask God the Father for the grace of his Spirit to lead us along the path of that true faith which works through love. And that we may deserve to obtain our desire, let us strive to live in a way that will make us not unworthy of so great a Father; let us preserve inviolate in body and soul the sacramental rebirth of our baptism which made us children of God. Then, if we keep the almighty Father's commandments, he will certainly reward us with the eternal blessing which from the beginning he prepared as our heritage through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with the Holy Spirit lives and reigns with him, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Bede the Venerable, (673 - 735), called the Venerable, devoted his life to the study of scripture and left many commentaries on it. He is known also for his historical works.

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


"If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." Genesis 13:9

As soon as you begin to live the life of faith in God, fascinating and luxurious prospects will open up before you, and these things are yours by right; but if you are living the life of faith you will exercise your right to waive your rights, and let God choose for you. God sometimes allows you to get into a place of testing where your own welfare would be the right and proper thing to consider if you were not living a life of faith; but if you are, you will joyfully waive your right and leave God to choose for you. This is the discipline by means of which the natural is transformed into the spiritual by obedience to the voice of God.

Whenever right is made the guidance in the life, it will blunt the spiritual insight. The great enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but the good which is not good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best. It would seem the wisest thing in the world for Abraham to choose, it was his right, and the people around would consider him a fool for not choosing. Many of us do not go on spiritually because we prefer to choose what is right instead of relying on God to choose for us. We have to learn to walk according to the standard which has its eye on God. "Walk before Me."

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

THERE is no hope for men who do not boast that their wives bully them.

'Alarms and Discursions.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 6: On the Spirit of Silence

Let us do what the Prophet says:
"I said, 'I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue.
I have set a guard to my mouth.'
I was mute and was humbled,
and kept silence even from good things" (Ps. 38:2-3).
Here the Prophet shows
that if the spirit of silence ought to lead us at times
to refrain even from good speech,
so much the more ought the punishment for sin
make us avoid evil words.

Therefore, since the spirit of silence is so important,
permission to speak should rarely be granted
even to perfect disciples,
even though it be for good, holy edifying conversation;
for it is written,
"In much speaking you will not escape sin" (Prov. 10:19),
and in another place,
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21).

For speaking and teaching belong to the mistress;
the disciple's part is to be silent and to listen.
And for that reason
if anything has to be asked of the Superior,
it should be asked
with all the humility and submission inspired by reverence.

But as for coarse jests and idle words
or words that move to laughter,
these we condemn everywhere with a perpetual ban,
and for such conversation
we do not permit a disciple to open her mouth.


Silence is a cornerstone of Benedictine life and spiritual development but the goal of monastic silence is not non-talking. The goal of monastic silence, and monastic speech, is respect for others, a sense of place, a spirit of peace. The Rule does not call for absolute silence; it calls for thoughtful talk. This chapter provides the principles upon which this "guard upon the tongue" is based. Silence for its own selfish, insulating sake; silence that is passive-aggressive; silence that is insensitive to the present needs of the other is not Benedictine silence.

Benedictine spirituality forms us to listen always for the voice of God. When my own noise is what drowns that word out, the spiritual life becomes a sham. Benedictine spirituality forms us to know our place in the world. When we refuse to give place to others, when we consume all the space of our worlds with our own sounds and our own truths and our own wisdom and our own ideas, there is no room for anyone else's ideas. When a person debates contentiously with anyone, let alone with the teachers and the guides of their life, the ego becomes a majority of one and there is no one left from whom to learn. But Benedictine spirituality is a builder of human community. When talk is unrestrained, when gossip becomes the food of the soul, then the destruction of others can't be far behind. When talk is loud and boisterous, when we make light of everything, when nothing is spared the raillery of a joke, the seriousness of all of life is at stake and our spirits wither from a lack of beauty and substance.

Make no doubt about it, the ability to listen to another, to sit silently in the presence of God, to give sober heed and to ponder is the nucleus of Benedictine spirituality. It may, in fact, be what is most missing in a century saturated with information but short on gospel reflection. The Word we seek is speaking in the silence within us. Blocking it out with the static of nonsense day in and day out, relinquishing the spirit of silence, numbs the Benedictine heart in a noise-polluted world.

The ancients wrote:
Once upon a time a disciple asked the elder, "How shall I experience my oneness with creation?"
And the elder answered, "By listening."
The disciple pressed the point: "But how am I to listen?"
And the elder taught, "Become an ear that pays attention to every single thing the universe is saying. The moment you hear something you yourself are saying, stop."

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

The Third Discovery of the Honorable Head of the Forerunner
Kellia: Deuteronomy 7:6-13 Apostle: Acts
Gospel: St. John 17:18-26

God's Love: Deuteronomy 7:6-13 LXX, especially vs. 9: "Thou shalt know
therefore, that the Lord thy God, He is God, a faithful God, who keeps
covenant and mercy for them that love Him, and for those that keep His
commandments to a thousand generations." The Gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ reveals that God amazes our bewildered hearts always and lovingly
by offering us freedom from the darkness of human religious thought,.
Listen to St. Gregory the Great: "Our Creator hints to us how great is
His love with which He awaits us when He says through the Prophet: 'I
have given heed and listened, but no one speaks what is good: there is
no one who thinks again in his heart and says, What have I done?' We
ought never to have thought of evil. But since we refused to think as
we should, you see how He bears with us in order that we may think
again. Look into His great well of kindness, think of His merciful
heart open wide to us." Yes, He wants us to think again, but in the
right way, a way we lost by thinking wrongly in sin.

The present passage from Deuteronomy reveals the care that God took to
lay a rich foundation so that His People might receive His love when He
came to them Incarnate. We see here already that the Prophet Moses
discerned and taught that God's love is freely given, not being bound by
our worthiness nor by any claim we might think to make upon the Lord.
Further, Moses identifies a number of ways by which, for many
generations, God specifically manifested His love to Israel. The
Prophet also made clear that while God is loving to those who "keep His
commandments" (vs. 9), He likewise is "not...slack with them that hate
Him" (vs. 10).

Here Moses plainly states: "the Lord thy God chose thee to be to Him a
peculiar people beyond all nations" (vs. 6). Lest any of God's ancient
People should think that their numeric size would command God's love,
the Prophet declares that nothing about their size caught the eye of the
Lord. After all, "the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the
whole earth" (2 Chron. 16:9), and Israel was "fewer in number than all
other nations" (Deut. 7:7). Very simply Moses says, "the Lord preferred
you, and the Lord made choice of you," a declaration that applies to the
Church as well as the present-day People of God. Why does God set His
love upon us? Simply "the Lord loved you" (vs. 8). As the Lord Jesus
says, "freely ye have received" (Mt. 10:8).

See how Moses recalls the long history of evidence by which God's love
was manifest before the eyes of ancient Israel: the Lord swore to
Abraham that in time to come He would bring his descendants out of
bondage (vs. 8; Gen. 15:13-16), and He did. Israel was redeemed from
slavery under Pharaoh (Deut. 7:8). The love of God always is coupled
with Divine faithfulness; God keeps the vows He makes in covenant with
His People (vs. 9). More significantly for the Church, God also
promised a Savior (Is. 53:4-5): the Suffering Servant came and dwelt
among us and covered our sins with His precious Blood.

Finally, the Prophet reveals that while God always loves His People and
is ready to forgive them, yet His steadfast love comes only to "them
that love Him, and for those that keep His commandments" (Deut. 7:9).
The love of God never is detached from an expectation of obedience.
Hence, "when [we] shall have heard [His] ordinances, and shall have kept
and done them" (vs. 12), we shall know His mercy. On the other hand,
God "recompenses them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them
utterly" (vs. 10); but the "faithful God...keeps covenant and mercy for
them that love Him" (vs. 9). He will love [them], and bless [them], and
multiply [them]; and He will bless the off-spring of [their] body, and
the fruit of [their] land" (vs. 13).

O Lord, save Thy People, and bless Thine inheritance, granting to Thy
People victory over all their enemies, and by the power of Thy Cross
preserving Thy Kingdom.


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