Saturday, June 09, 2007

09/06/07 Saturday after 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 55; PM Psalm 138, 139:1-17(18-23)
Deut. 29:2-15; 2 Cor. 9:1-15; Luke 18:15-30

From Forward Day by Day:

Deuteronomy 29:2-15. I am making this covenant, sworn by an oath, not only with you who stand here with us today before the LORD our God, but also with those who are not here with us today.

Daily we pray for those who are not with us. This reminds us that as we grow older our friends are not necessarily close by. It is electronic devices which bring them into proximity--the phone or the computer. We now call our stamped letters "snail mail" and expect that this kind of communication will someday vanish altogether. Our grandmothers would sigh over how things have changed.

In our family there is a crosshatch letter from Civil War days which reminds us that relatives have needed paper so badly they wrote in two different directions on the same tiny sheet. The Deuteronomy passage here recalls people who were far away. We are all wanderers who yearn to establish communication with God. The death of Jesus on the cross is a new covenant, a promise of life after death. It comes not via e-mail or snail mail, but with the immediacy of God's grace, every moment of the day.

Today we remember:

Psalm 97:1-2,7-12 or 98:1-4
1 Corinthians 3:11-23; Luke 10:17-20

O God, who by the preaching of your blessed servant Columba caused the light of the Gospel to shine in Scotland: Grant, we pray, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show our thankfulness to you by following the example of his zeal and patience; 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 Okrika (Niger Delta, Nigeria)
++++++++++ Reflections

There are times when we are wearied with travelling, and the Lord grants our faculties tranquillity and our soul quiet, and while they are in that state, He gives us a clear understanding of the nature of the gifts he bestows on those whom He brings to His kingdom.
St Teresa of Jesus
Way, 30.6

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba Nilus said, "Prayer is the seed of gentleness and the absence of anger."

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Empowered to Pray

Prayer is the gift of the Spirit. Often we wonder how to pray, when to pray, and what to pray. We can become very concerned about methods and techniques of prayer. But finally it is not we who pray but the Spirit who prays in us.

Paul says: "The Spirit ... comes to help us in our weakness, for, when we do not know how to pray properly, then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put into words; and he who can see into all hearts knows what the Spirit means because the prayers that the Spirit makes for God's holy people are always in accordance with the mind of God" (Romans 8:26-27). These words explain why the Spirit is called "the Consoler."

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

Day Nine - The Second Aim, cont'd

As Tertiaries, we are prepared not only to speak out for social justice and international peace, but to put these principles into practice in our own lives, cheerfully facing any scorn or persecution to which this may lead.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

is nothing less
than a new beginning
for all of creation.

- J. Paul Womack
The Upper Room Disciplines 2000

From page 345 of The Upper Room Disciplines 2000. Copyright © 1999 by The Upper Room.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection


Thomas Merton continues to fascinate much of the Catholic world. I think part of the reason for that is because he symbolizes a man of the world, well educated, who understood what he was leaving, who understood the costs. He was not running and yet he was willing to chuck it all for an ultimate truth. If you’ve read his writings, you know he remains very current, very aware. In fact, many of his writings were twenty years ahead of his time. He was dealing with the nuclear arms questions in the early 60’s with an understanding that many others only came to in the early 80’s. He was saying things that our bishops said just recently in the pastoral The Challenge of Peace. Merton had enough freedom from the system to be able to understand the system and creatively critique it. He was enough apart from it to, in fact, enter back into it with insight, knowing what the questions are and often having the correct responses. That’s the simple definition of a prophet.

from Why Be Catholic?

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

The cross, a bridge

He who was also the carpenter's glorious son set up his cross above death's all-consuming maw, and led the human race into the dwelling place of life. Since a tree had brought about the downfall of our race, it was upon a tree that we crossed over to the realm of life. Bitter was the branch that had once been grafted upon that ancient tree, but sweet the young shoot that has now been grafted in, the shoot in which we are meant to recognize the Lord whom no creature can resist.

We give glory to you, Lord, who raised up your cross to span the jaws of death like a bridge by which souls might pass from the region of the dead to the land of the living. We give glory to you who put on the body of a single mortal man and made it the source of life for every other mortal man, woman, and child. You are incontestably alive. Your murderers sowed your living body in the earth as farmers sow grain, but it sprang up and yielded an abundant harvest of human beings raised from the dead.

Come then, let us offer our Lord the great and all-embracing sacrifice of our love, pouring out our treasury of hymns and prayers before him who offered his cross in sacrifice to God for the enrichment of us all.

Ephrem of Edessa, (306 - 373), deacon of Edessa, was a great poet who used his talent to write about the Christian mysteries in poetic form.

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


"For every one that asketh receiveth." Luke 11:10

There is nothing more difficult than to ask. We will long and desire and crave and suffer, but not until we are at the extreme limit will we ask. A sense of unreality makes us ask. Have you ever asked out of the depths of moral poverty? "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God . . . but be sure that you do lack wisdom. You cannot bring yourself up against Reality when you like. The next best thing to do if you are not spiritually real, is to ask God for the Holy Spirit on the word of Jesus Christ (see Luke 11:13). The Holy Spirit is the One Who makes real in you all that Jesus did for you.

"For every one that asketh receiveth." This does not mean you will not get if you do not ask (cf. Matt. 5:45), but until you get to the point of asking you won't receive from God. To receive means you have come into the relationship of a child of God, and now you perceive with intelligent and moral appreciation and spiritual understanding that these things come from God.

"If any of you lack wisdom . . ." If you realize you are lacking, it is because you have come in contact with spiritual reality; do not put your reasonable blinkers on again. People say - Preach us the simple gospel: don't tell us we have to be holy, because that produces a sense of abject poverty, and it is not nice to feel abjectly poor. "Ask" means beg. Some people are poor enough to be interested in their poverty, and some of us are like that spiritually. We will never receive if we ask with an end in view; if we ask, not out of our poverty but out of our lust. A pauper does not ask from any other reason than the abject panging condition of his poverty, he is not ashamed to beg. - Blessed are the paupers in spirit.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day


THE hour of absinthe is over. We shall not be much further troubled with the little artists who found Dickens too sane for their sorrows and too clean for their delights. But we have a long way to travel before we get back to what Dickens meant; and the passage is along an English rambling road -- a twisting road such as Mr. Pickwick travelled. But this at least is part of what he meant: that comradeship and serious joy are not interludes in our travel, but that rather our travels are interludes in comradeship and joy, which, through God, shall endure for ever. The inn does not point to the road: the road points to the inn. And all roads point at last to an ultimate inn, where we shall meet Dickens and all his characters. And when we drink again it shall be from the great flagons in the tavern at the end of the world.

'Charles Dickens.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 7: On Humility

The eleventh degree of humility
is that when a monk speaks
he do so gently and without laughter,
humbly and seriously,
in few and sensible words,
and that he be not noisy in his speech.
It is written,
"A wise man is known by the fewness of his words"(Sextus, Enchidirion, 134 or 145).


Humility, Benedict teaches, treads tenderly upon the life around it. When we know our place in the universe, we can afford to value the place of others. We need them, in fact, to make up what is wanting in us. We stand in the face of others without having to take up all the space. We don't have to dominate conversations or consume all the time or call all the attention to ourselves. There is room, humility knows, for all of us in life. We are each an ember of the mind of God and we are each sent to illumine the other through the dark places of life to sanctuaries of truth and peace where God can be God for us because we have relieved ourselves of the ordeal of being god ourselves. We can simply unfold ourselves and become.

The Tao teaches:

"The best people are like water

They benefit all things,

And do not compete with them.

They settle in low places,

One with nature, one with Tao."

"Settling in low places," being gentle with others and soft in our comments and kind in our hearts and calm in our responses, never heckling, never smothering the other with noise or derision is an aspect of Benedictine spirituality that the world might well afford to revisit.

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

Saturday, June 9, 2007 Fish, Wine, & Oil Venerable Columba,
Enlightener of Scotland
Kellia: Deuteronomy 13:1-4 Epistle: Romans
3:19-26 Gospel: St. Matthew 7:1-8

Under God I ~ Prophets: Deuteronomy 13:1-4 LXX, especially vs. 4: "Ye
shall follow the Lord your God, and fear Him, and ye shall hear His
voice, and attach yourselves to Him." The pledge of allegiance to the
flag of the United States, commonly used in schools and public
assemblies throughout this country, speaks of "one nation, under God."
Present public debates, protests, and court trials concerning prayer in
schools, displaying the Ten Commandments in public buildings, Nativity
scenes in public parks and the like, are symptoms of a growing
repudiation of what the phrase under God in the American pledge was
meant to convey.

Beloved of the Lord, let us as Orthodox Christians be clear: the
militant opponents of religious expression are raising determined
dissent against the expression of faith in God. They are not a
harmless, eccentric minority caught up in their own ideologies and
fantasies. They are kin to "that prophet, or the dreamer of that
dream" (vs. 3) who today, in this land, and with avid conviction are
inviting the populace to "go and serve other gods" (Deut. 13:2). These
activists are themselves religious devotees, for they have supreme faith
in the control of powers within the natural order. They are prophets of
the secular management of Nature as the sole path to the good life.
They acclaim rational technology as the holy, sacred Authority - higher
than God.

For the next three days, we will be reflecting on three basic portions
of the Mosaic teaching concerned with life, society, and culture, which,
when subsumed under God, contribute to healthy and enduring national
life: 1) sanctified Prophets, 2) wealth rightly used , and 3)
God-fearing officials. The first of the readings - the one for today -
focuses on prophets. The passage is a warning against false prophets
who produce signs and wonders, exhibit wondrous insights, and are often
able to lead men "after other [secular] gods" (vs. 2). God's standard
is revealed for measuring a sanctified, true, and godly prophet - one
anointed of God Himself.

Moses, a true Prophet, discloses that there are those who can produce
signs and wonders and even predict the future, but he warns against
using such skills as reliable criteria for deciding whether a prophet is
true or false (vss. 1-3). Given the complex, enormous forces that the
Lord God has woven into His creation, it is not surprising that through
study and practice people can learn to harness and manipulate powers
with amazing and even clairvoyant insight.

It is also evident that the Creator of the universe is quite capable of
producing mighty signs and wonders, either Himself or through His
People. The historical evidence that God does so extends over centuries
and centuries including the present scientific age. The Lord Jesus'
clairvoyance moved Nathanael to call Him "the Son of God" and "King of
Israel" (Jn. 1:49). To this acclamation, the Lord simply replied, "You
will see greater things than these" (Jn. 1:50). Every one of the
miracles that the Lord performed, either out of Divine compassion or to
reveal to His chosen disciples, manifested the truth concerning Himself
and Divine salvation.

Let us not be dazzled by some people's capacities, but learn that true
Prophets "love the Lord God" heart and soul, "walk after Him," fear
Him...hear His voice, and attach [themselves] to Him (Deut. 13:4). In
1937, when Stalin purged the top leaders of the Communist Party, it was
more than the loyal party members could bear; but, as Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn observed, "that is the price a man pays for entrusting his
God-given soul to human dogma." Beloved, let us trust above all in
Christ and His Church and fiercely hold on to our unity to Him.

O holy Prophets of God, as ye did bind the heavens by your pure words,
and teach us to love and fear God, loosen our iniquities by your
intercessions before the Lord, to save our souls.



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