Tuesday, May 29, 2007

29/05/07 Tuesday after Pentecost


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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.


Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every
race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad
this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it
may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who
lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen.

or this

O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by
sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same
Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice
in his holy comfort; 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 26, 28; PM Psalm 36, 39
Deut. 4:15-24; 2 Cor. 1:12-22; Luke 15:1-10

From Forward Day by Day:

Luke 15:1-10. Which of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of
them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after
the one that is lost until he finds it?

I often find myself spending an inordinate amount of time balancing my
checkbook to the penny, or working overtime to ensure that one
person's confusion and complaints are heard with loving care.

I resent the time spent making things right. Wouldn't it be easier to
hope the bank is correct? To suggest the unhappy member look for
another parish? After all, we wouldn't want to let one bad apple spoil
the bunch. I have often thought my neighbor should just forget the
wayward one and pay attention to the others. I think of the
ninety-nine sheep in Jesus' wilderness and wonder if there is anyone
watching them while the shepherd goes searching for the one.

I suspect my struggle with the text is that I see myself in the pack
of ninety-nine, the coin that stays safely in the purse, the child who
does not run away. And I miss the care of the shepherd who seems
preoccupied with one of the other sheep. Yet, if I go deeper into
myself, I know I too have been lost. And I am glad the shepherd goes

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of
Nyahururu (Kenya)
++++++++++ Reflections

She lived in solitude, and now in Solitude has built her nest; and in
Solitude her beloved alone guides her, who also bears in solitude the
wound of love.
St John of the Cross
Spiritual Canticle, 35.

Reading from the Desert Christians

Amma Matrona said, "There are many in the mountains who behave as if
they were in the town, and they are wasting their time. It is better
to have many people around you and to live the solitary life in your
will than to be alone and always longing to be with a crowd."

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

Five, possessions possessed the Holy One, blessed is He, in his
world, and these are they: THORAH, one possession; HEAVEN AND EARTH,
one possession; Abraham, one possession; ISRAEL, one possession; THE
SANCTUARY, one possession. Thorah, whence? because it is written, The
Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old
(Prov. viii. 22); Heaven and Earth, whence? because it is written,
Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my
footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the
place of my rest (Is. lxvi. 1)? and it saith, O Lord, how manifold are
thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy
possessions (Ps. civ. 24); Abraham, whence? because it is written, And
he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God,
possessor of heaven and earth (Gen. xiv. 19); Israel, whence? because
it is written, Till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass
over, which thou hast possessed (Ex. xv. 16); and it saith, To the
saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my
delight (Ps. xvi. 3); The Sanctuary, whence? because it is written,
The place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, the
sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established (Ex. xv. 17); and
it saith, And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to
this mountain, which his right-hand had possessed (Ps. lxxviii. 54).

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Jesus Is Pure of Heart

Jesus, the Beloved of God, has a pure heart. Having a pure heart means
willing one thing. Jesus wanted only to do the will of his heavenly
Father. Whatever Jesus did or said, he did and said it as the obedient
Son of God: "What I say is what the Father has taught me; he who sent
me is with me, and has not left me to myself, for I always do what
pleases him" (John 8:28-29). There are no divisions in Jesus' heart,
no double motives or secret intentions. In Jesus there is complete
inner unity because of his complete unity with God.

Becoming like Jesus is growing into purity of heart. That purity is
what gave Jesus and will give us true spiritual vision

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

Day Twenty Nine - The Third Note, cont'd

This joy is a divine gift, coming from union with God in Christ. It is
still there even in times of darkness and difficulty, giving cheerful
courage in the face of disappointment, and an inward serenity and
confidence through sickness and suffering. Those who possess it can
rejoice in weakness, insults, hardship, and persecutions for Christ's
sake; for when we are weak, then we are strong.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

THE PURE IN HEART will see God; the peacemakers will become the
children of God; the persecuted will receive the kingdom of God's
heaven; and those who are reviled falsely by their enemies will enter
into the joy of that heaven.

To me, these are not just promises for the future but a present
reality beginning, if we choose, this moment.

- Flora Slosson Wuellner
Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey

From page 142 of Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey by Flora Slosson
Wuellner. Copyright (c) 2001 by Flora Slosson Wuellner.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"We Still Need the Saints"

The saints are our heroes and heroines: It's worth being Catholic
to hope that we might be like them. It's good to stand on the
shoulders of these giants, these free, poor and in-love people.
Catholicism at its best wants to give you the freedom of a saint. It
can lead you on a wisdom journey, a universal tradition that includes
Abraham, Sarah, Moses, the prophets, Jesus, Mary and two thousand
years of saints. Saints, like all of us, are forgiven sinners. But
saints have rejoiced in forgiveness and not been overwhelmed by the
sin. Many of them, frankly, were ignorant, biased, broken and
neurotic. That gives me hope. I've been inspired, motivated and
energized much more in my Catholicism by reading biographies and lives
of saints than any book of theology. They were the heroes and heroines
who formed my ideals as a young man. We still need to read the lives
of the saints, and I think our young people do, too. Every culture I
am aware of forms its next generation by heroic epics and myths.

from Why Be Catholic


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

Pupils in the school of Christ

Our Lord Jesus Christ wished us to understand that what he did for
people's bodies he also did for their souls. He did not work miracles
merely for miracles' sake; his object was that his deeds might arouse
wonder in the beholders and reveal the truth to those capable of

A person who sees the letters in a beautifully written book without
being able to read them will praise the skill of the copyist because
he admires the graceful shape of the letters, but the purpose and
meaning of these letters he does not grasp. What he sees with his eyes
prompts him to praise, but his mind is not enriched with knowledge.
Another, praising the artistry, will also grasp the meaning; one, that
is, who is able not only to see what everyone else sees but also to
read it, which is a skill that has to be learned. So too, those who
observed Christ's miracles without grasping their purpose and the
meaning they had for those able to understand simply admired the
deeds. Others went further: they admired the deeds and also grasped
the meaning. As pupils in the school of Christ, we must be such as

Augustine of Hippo

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


"At that day ye shall ask in My name . . ." "The Father Himself loveth
you." John 16:26, 27

"At that day ye shall ask in My name," i.e., in My nature. Not - "You
shall use My name as a magic word," but - "You will be so intimate
with Me that you will be one with Me." "That day" is not a day
hereafter, but a day meant for here and now. "The Father Himself
loveth you" - the union is so complete and absolute. Our Lord does not
mean that life will be free from external perplexities, but that just
as He knew the Father's heart and mind, so by the baptism of the Holy
Ghost He can lift us into the heavenly places where He can reveal the
counsels of God to us.

"Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name. . . ." "That day" is a
day of undisturbed relationship between God and the saint. Just as
Jesus stood unsullied in the presence of His Father, so by the mighty
efficacy of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, we can be lifted into that
relationship - "that they may be one, even as We are One."

"He will give it you." Jesus says that God will recognize our prayers.
What a challenge! By the Resurrection and Ascension power of Jesus, by
the sent-down Holy Ghost, we can be lifted into such a relationship
with the Father that we are at one with the perfect sovereign will of
God by our free choice even as Jesus was. In that wonderful position,
placed there by Jesus Christ, we can pray to God in His name, in His
nature, which is gifted to us by the Holy Ghost, and Jesus says -
"What soever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you."
- The sovereign character of Jesus Christ is tested by His own

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day


IT is a commonplace that the Restoration Movement can only be
understood when considered as a reaction against Puritanism. But it is
insufficiently realized that the tyranny which half frustrated all the
good work of Puritanism was of a very peculiar kind. It was not the
fire of Puritanism, the exultation in sobriety, the frenzy of
restraint, which passed away: that still burns in the heart of
England, only to be quenched by the final overwhelming sea. But it is
seldom remembered that the Puritans were in their day emphatically
intellectual bullies, that they relied swaggeringly on the logical
necessity of Calvinism, that they bound omnipotence itself in the
chains of syllogism. The Puritans fell, through the damning fact that
they had a complete theory of life, through the eternal paradox that a
satisfactory explanation can never satisfy.

'Twelve Types.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 7: On Humility

As for self-will,
we are forbidden to do our own will
by the Scripture, which says to us,
"Turn away from your own will" (Eccles. 18:30),
and likewise by the prayer in which we ask God
that His will be done in us.
And rightly are we taught not to do our own will
when we take heed to the warning of Scripture:
"There are ways which seem right,
but the ends of them plunge into the depths of hell" (Prov. 16:25);
and also when we tremble at what is said of the careless:
"They are corrupt and have become abominable in their will."

And as for the desires of the flesh,
let us believe with the Prophet that God is ever present to us,
when he says to the Lord,
"Every desire of mine is before You" (Ps. 37:10).


Benedict makes two points clearly: First, we are capable of choosing
for God in life. We are not trapped by an essential weakness that
makes God knowable but not possible. Second, we are more than the
body. Choosing God means having to concentrate on nourishing the soul
rather than on sating the flesh, not because the flesh is bad but
because the flesh is not enough to make the human fully human. To give
ourselves entirely to the pleasures of the body may close us to
beauties known only to the soul.

Humility lies in knowing who we are and what our lives are meant to
garner. The irony of humility is that, if we have it, we know we are
made for greatness, we are made for God.

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 Hieromartyr Luke, Surgeon of Simferopol
Kellia: Deuteronomy 7:1-2, 16-26 Epistle: Romans
1:1-7, 13-17
Gospel: St. Matthew 4:25-5:3

Precept and Promise: Deuteronomy 7:1-2, 16-26, especially vss. 1-2: "And
when the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land, into which thou
goest to possess it....and shall remove seven nations more numerous and
stronger than you, and...deliver them into thy hands, then thou shalt
smite them: thou shalt utterly destroy them: thou shalt not make a
covenant with them, neither shall ye pity them." In light of this
passage, we ought to be moved to enlarge the petition of Vespers to
read: "O Holy One; enlighten me with thy precepts and promises." For
even as the Lord our God obligates us with precepts, expecting us, as
His covenant People, to act upon that which He commands, even so He
promises to give us "all the spoils of the nations" (Deut 7:16).

In this present age, stained with the blood and cruel horror of genocide
across the globe, this portion of Moses' last will and testament
conjures up images that make us hesitate to read these Divine words and
seek from them any foreshadowing of the glorious Gospel of Christ our
God. Still, the pattern of Divine precept and promise that dominates
these verses indeed will rally the careful reader to obedient action as
a true partner with God in the salvation of the world. After all, the
land, into which we are going to possess, is the vast battlefield of our
hearts, where God has promised to "remove great nations from before
thee" (vs. 1).

For all who have ever seriously delved into this danger zone of battle
and promise, know that the inner space of "great temptations which thine
eyes have seen," is likewise filled with "those signs and great wonders,
the strong hand, and the high arm" of "the Lord thy God" (vs. 19).
Yes, there are deadly foes within us, but more important is the living,
present God Who promises His Faithful that He "shall consume these
nations before [His People] by little and little" (vs. 22). Be not
dismayed, O People of God, for steadfast and able is He Who has laid
these precepts upon us and made us unchangeable promises that He will

What does He promise? He assures us, His People, that He will bring His
Church "into the land" and remove great nations of enemies "from before
thee" (vs. 1), and "deliver them into thy hands" (vss. 2,23). Where is
this promised land? As He has said, "the Kingdom of God is within you"
(Lk. 17:21). Well we ought to recoil at the enemies that we encounter
within us, fiends who tear us every way possible from the Lord; but let
us heed His promises: "the Lord thy God shall send against them the
hornets, until they that are left and they that are hidden from thee be
utterly destroyed" (Deut 7:20). The nests of evils within us must be

Of course we hesitate to do battle because we fear the wounds of
combat. We know our frailty, for we have been stricken in previous
skirmishes. We have seen comrades and loved ones fall. God understands
this, but He assures us: "thou shalt not be wounded before them, because
the Lord thy God in the midst of thee is a great and powerful God" (vs.
21). God is with us! Yes, we would prefer a quick victory, but, in
promising us that we shall prevail, the Lord also tells us honestly that
He will consume these seemingly invincible enemies before us, but only
"by little and little; thou shalt not be able to consume them speedily"
(vs. 22). No quick fixes!

God's precepts are the key to victory. As we turn inward in prayer, let
us smite our foes (vs. 2). Let us "not make a covenant with them" nor
"pity them" (vs. 2). Rather let us "destroy them utterly" (vs. 24),
burn up every image of them that intrudes into our hearts and minds (vs.
25). Let us resist every temptation to give the abominations of the
enemy a place in our inner life. Dethrone these kings, refuse their
sovereignty over the soul (vs. 26). Christ is Victor!

Be Thou exalted above the heavens, O God, and Thy glory above all the
earth. That Thy beloved ones may be delivered, save Thou with Thy right
hand and hearken unto us.



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