Friday, June 08, 2007

08/06/07 Friday in the week fo Trinity Sunday


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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 and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 40, 54; PM Psalm 51
Deut. 26:1-11; 2 Cor. 8:16-24; Luke 18:9-14

From Forward Day by Day:

Deuteronomy 26:1-11. When you have come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground.

My husband remembers a liturgical event in the life of his church, a medieval English custom called "The Beating of the Bounds." He recalls that people joined together in a symbolic march around the property, often in connection with a rogation procession, to acknowledge property lines. Though we know we do not ever really possess the land, we settle in it, as the psalmist says, and we take some of the first fruits of the ground.

When we bless a house, we take part in another form of this ancient custom, for we mark the space in which we live, asking God to bless it. I used to long to beat the bounds of our small farm in Mississippi, ending with a liturgical presentation of our best crop, blueberries. When one lives in the world, it is easy to see why Moses called the children of Israel to stop and thank God for the many gifts they received.

We have all been given the first fruits of the ground. The Beating of the Bounds reminds us of that.

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

The spirit of God, insofar as it is hidden in the veins of the soul, is like soft refreshing water which satisfies the thirst of the spirit.
St John of the Cross
Living Flame, 3.8

Reading from the Desert Christians

It was said of an old man that he dwelt in Syria on the way to the desert. This was his work: whenever a monk came from the desert, he gave him refreshment with all his heart. Now one day a hermit came and he offered him refreshment. The other did not want to accept it, saying he was fasting. Filled with sorrow, the old man said to him, "Do not despise your servant, I beg you, do not despise me, but let us pray together. Look at the tree which is here; we will follow the way of whichever of us causes it to bend when he kneels on the ground and prays." So the hermit knelt down to pray and nothing happened. Then the hospitable one knelt down and at once the tree bent towards him. Taught by this, they gave thanks to God.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Empowered to Speak

The Spirit that Jesus gives us empowers us to speak. Often when we are expected to speak in front of people who intimidate us, we are nervous and self-conscious. But if we live in the Spirit, we don't have to worry about what to say. We will find ourselves ready to speak when the need is there. "When they take you before ... authorities, do not worry about how to defend yourselves or what to say, because when the time comes, the Holy Spirit will teach you what you should say" (Luke 12:11-12).

We waste much of our time in anxious preparation. Let's claim the truth that the Spirit that Jesus gave us will speak in us and speak convincingly.

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

Day Eight - The Second Aim, cont'd

Members of the Third Order fight against all such injustice in the name of Christ, in whom there can be neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female; for in him all are one. Our chief object is to reflect that openness to all which was characteristic of Jesus. This can only be achieved in a spirit of chastity, which sees others as belonging to God and not as a means of self-fulfillment.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

we’re as tightly bound
as Lazarus
in a tomb:

in our bondage
you send
to help free us;
a friend
who believes
and rolls the stone away.

enabled to emerge
from the caves of our making,
our eyes are opened
to see your loving face.

We are released —

- Roberta Porter
Alive Now

From page 45 of Alive Now, March/April 2003. Copyright © 2003 by The Upper Room.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"Freedom to Feel"

Suffering is the necessary feeling of evil. If we don’t feel evil we stand antiseptically apart from it, numb. We can’t understand evil by thinking about it. The sin of much of our world is that we stand apart from pain; we buy our way out of the pain of being human. Jesus did not numb himself or withhold from pain. Suffering is the necessary pain so that we know evil, so that we can name evil and confront it. Otherwise we somehow dance through this world and never really feel what is happening. Brothers and sisters, the irony is not that God should feel so fiercely; it’s that his creatures feel so feebly. If there is nothing in your life to cry about, if there is nothing in your life to complain about, if there is nothing in your life to yell about, you must be out of touch. We must all feel and know the pain of humanity. The free space that God leads us into is to feel the full spectrum, from great exaltation and joy, to the pain of mourning and dying and suffering. It’s called the Paschal Mystery. The totally free person is one who can feel all of it and not be afraid of any of it.

from Days of Renewal

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

Christ descended so we have to ascend

Anyone who aspires to union with Christ must share in his flesh and in his divinity, as also in his death and resurrection. We associate ourselves with his death and resurrection by our baptism, we share in the royal unction he received and in his Godhead by our chrismation, and we have communion with the flesh and blood assumed by the Savior when we eat the consecrated bread and drink the most holy cup. In this way we are united to him who for our sake became flesh, imparted to the flesh his divinity, and who died and rose again.

But why do we reverse the order and begin where he ended and end where he began? It is because the reason for his descent to earth was to make possible our ascent to heaven. We have to go by the same road as he did, and as he descended, so we have to ascend. The very circumstances of the case make this order inevitable. Baptism is a birth, chrism is a source of energy and activity, the bread of life and the cup of the eucharist are real food and drink. To be able to act or receive nourishment one first has to be born. Moreover, the waters of baptism reconcile us to God, chrism endows us with the supernatural gifts, the holy table communicates to the initiated the body and blood of Christ.

Nicolas Cabasilas

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


"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." John 13:17

If you do not cut the moorings, God will have to break them by a storm and send you out. Launch all on God, go out on the great swelling tide of His purpose, and you will get your eyes open. If you believe in Jesus, you are not to spend all your time in the smooth waters just inside the harbour bar, full of delight, but always moored; you have to get out through the harbour bar into the great deeps of God and begin to know for yourself, begin to have spiritual discernment.

When you know you should do a thing, and do it, immediately you know more. Revise where you have become stodgy spiritually, and you will find it goes back to a point where there was something you knew you should do, but you did not do it because there seemed no immediate call to, and now you have no perception, no discernment; at a time of crisis you are spiritually distracted instead of spiritually self-possessed. It is a dangerous thing to refuse to go on knowing.

The counterfeit of obedience is a state of mind in which you work up occasions to sacrifice yourself; ardour is mistaken for discernment. It is easier to sacrifice yourself than to fulfil your spiritual destiny, which is stated in Romans 12:1-2. It is a great deal better to fulfil the purpose of God in your life by discerning His will than to perform great acts of self-sacrifice. "To obey is better than sacrifice." Beware of harking back to what you were once when God wants you to be something you have never been. "If any man will do . . . he shall know."

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

WHEN the old Liberals removed the gags from all the heresies, their idea was that religious and philosophical discoveries might thus be made. Their view was that cosmic truth was so important that everyone ought to bear independent testimony. The modern idea is that cosmic truth is so unimportant that it cannot matter what anyone says. The former freed inquiry as men loose a noble hound; the latter frees inquiry as men fling back into the sea a fish unfit for eating. Never has there been so little discussion about the nature of men as now, when, for the first time, anyone can discuss it.


Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 7: On Humility

The tenth degree of humility
is that he be not ready and quick to laugh,
for it is written,
"The fool lifts up his voice in laughter" (Eccles. 21:23).


Humor and laughter are not necessarily the same thing. Humor permits us to see into life from a fresh and gracious perspective. We learn to take ourselves more lightly in the presence of good humor. Humor gives us the strength to bear what cannot be changed, and the sight to see the human under the pompous. Laughter, on the other hand, is an expression of emotion commonly inveighed against in the best finishing schools and the upper classes of society for centuries. Laughter was considered vulgar, crude, cheap, a loud demonstration of a lack of self-control.

In the tenth degree of humility, Benedict does not forbid humor. On the contrary, Benedict is insisting that we take our humor very seriously. Everything we laugh at is not funny. Some things we laugh at are, in fact, tragic and need to be confronted. Ethnic jokes are not funny. Sexist jokes are not funny. The handicaps of suffering people are not funny. Pornography and pomposity and shrieking, mindless noise is not funny. Derision is not funny, sneers and sarcasm and snide remarks, no matter how witty, how pointed, how clever, how cutting, are not funny. They are cruel. The humble person never uses speech to grind another person to dust. The humble person cultivates a soul in which everyone is safe. A humble person handles the presence of the other with soft hands, a velvet heart and an unveiled mind.

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

Friday, June 8, 2007 Apostles Fast Translation of the Relics
of Theodore the General
Kellia: Deuteronomy 12:1-7 Epistle: Romans 5:17-6:2
Gospel: St. Matthew 9:14-17

Divine Truth: Deuteronomy 12:1-7 LXX, especially vs. 5: "In the place
which the Lord thy God shall shall even seek Him out and go
thither." Our God and Savior Jesus Christ declares that "Every one who
is of the truth hears My voice" (Jn. 18:37). Among Orthodox Christians,
some of us are attuned to Divine Truth, others somewhat so, and still
others barely at all. Our Faith calls us to the urgent struggle to meet
and touch Truth Himself, first in worship, and then in every
circumstance of this life. However, the insensibility of this present
world can seduce us away into negligence and benumbed thought that end,
as St. John of the Ladder says, in "ignorance of compunction, a door to
despair...which give birth to loss of the fear of God."

Living in this day and age we must realize that many truths are
promoted, yea, pressed upon us for unthinking adoption, bullying us with
a welter of competing truths, all demanding unquestioning submission
until we lose our way. Let us not adopt this indifference to Divine
Truth, for the common culture of today, surrounding us on all sides, is
a resurgent paganism akin to the idolatry of the peoples of Canaan who
once occupied the promised land prior to the coming of the ancient
People of God - pagan in heart though different in outward appearance.

Here are the tasks before Christ's People in facing contemporary social
idolatry: to name the idols, identify the shrines where they are honored
(vs. 2), and recognize "the altars, pillars, and graven images"(vs. 3)
raised up by present-day paganism. The key to accomplishing these
spiritual tasks is the upholding of Divine Truth, that true Light that
exposes the debased truths of the priests and devotees of suavely
presented contemporary neo-paganism. Be attentive!

First, let us describe a few of these idols: 1) they reject God's holy
standards of morality in favor of situational ethics. 2) they accept
the invitation of the god of pleasure to his do-it-if-it-feels-good
festal activities. 3)they assume the miraculous is impossible since it
cannot be predicted, controlled, or measured. This assumption is the
by-word of the cult of the type of empty science that favors some sort
of spirituality without God 4) they tolerate all lifestyles equally.

The popular media, most universities, and a host of special interest
groups support the pundits who advance such lies and distortions. They
dismiss the outcries of our clergy, calling their words self-serving
appeals of arcane bigots out of step with the real truths of the world.

How may we, like Moses, proclaim Divine Truth? First, let us "destroy
all the places" of worship, their altars and the "graven images of their
gods, and...abolish their name" out of our souls (vss. 2,3). The modern
situation we face is less focused than was Israel's, for they faced no
insidious idolatry in Canaan. Also, the constraints of law mostly still
protect the Church, so let us be careful how we speak and act. Rather,
pray that we heed St. Augustine who faced a scene like our own in the
dying years of pagan Rome: "They say that we are enemies of their idols
[lies]. So be it; may God give them all into our power, as He has
already given us what we have broken down. For I say this, beloved,
that you may not attempt to overcome those which it is not lawfully in
your power to overcome...When the power has not been given us, do not do
it; when it is given, do not neglect it." "Honor all men...Fear God.
Honor the king" (1 Pet. 2:17).

There is no place for Orthodox Christians to assassinate abortionists,
bomb TV towers and the cables of the stations that send out pornography,
or to put the torch to adult video stores, universities, and schools
where idolatrous lies abound. The primary task before us is to cleanse
our own hearts, minds, and passions, to offer Divine Truth as we can to
our children, families, and friends, and to live Divine Truth so as to
reveal its beauty and Life-giving power.

Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou art God my Savior, on Whom I



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