Tuesday, June 12, 2007

12/06/07 Tues in the week of the 2nd Sunday in 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.


O God, from whom all good proceeds: Grant that by your inspiration we may think those things that are right, and by your merciful guiding may do them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 61, 62; PM Psalm 68:1-20(21-23)24-36
Deut. 30:11-20; 2 Cor. 11:1-21a; Luke 19:1-10

From Forward Day by Day:

Psalm 61. I will dwell in your house for ever; I will take refuge under the cover of your wings.

A family of field sparrows nested in a hanging basket so close to our porch chairs that for several weeks the mother bird would eye us intimately from her nest. When the babies were old enough to fly, she sat patiently on a nearby tree limb, did her grooming, and waited for us to leave. When we continued to sit, she turned a deaf ear to the birds' thin cries and ordered them to fly. The order came; they simply obeyed.

I often think of the certainty shown by the little birds who knew without a doubt they could trust her judgment. They had enjoyed security and food in the first days of their lives, so a sense of trust was there. Like David, they knew they would continue to be safe in whatever she decided.

Can you believe that God has promised the same security to those who follow his commandments? In a life filled with dangers and sadness, the psalmist sought shelter through prayer. He prayed for the warmth of that same shelter beneath the wings of God.

Today we remember:

Psalm 29
Isaiah 52:7-10 or1 Peter 5:1-4; Luke 6:17-23

Almighty God, you led your pilgrim people of old with fire and cloud; grant that the ministers of your church, following the example of blessed Enmegahbowh, may stand before your holy people, leading them with fiery zeal and gentle humility. This we ask through Jesus, the Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of On the Niger (Niger, Nigeria)

Speaking to the Soul:

Voluntary and involuntary poverty are interconnected. On the one hand, true “liberation” is found by voluntarily renouncing the things of this world, by accepting real suffering and utter dependence on God. For instance, Christians have often chosen to give up their possessions and to embrace poverty as a path to spiritual intimacy. The voluntary poverty of monks, nuns, and other Christians remains a powerful reminder of the spiritual liberation this state of life can bring.

Yet, on the other hand, liberation is also to be found in the good things of this life, in being freed from poverty, oppression, and disease; in becoming educated and empowered and fulfilled; in working alongside God for the coming of God’s reign.

Wealthy Christians (among others) are obliged to enable others to avoid involuntary extreme poverty. All persons, rich and poor, must also consider whether or not to seek out and embrace poverty voluntarily at a personal level. Finally all persons, including the impoverished, are to seek spiritual blessedness and union with God in any state of life—and in this regard the materially poor may be ahead of others.

From What Can One Person Do? Faith to Heal a Broken World by Sabina Alkire and Edmund Newell. © 2005 by Church Publishing, Inc. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.
++++++++++ Reflections

We must have no confidence whatever in our own strength, but trust in His mercy - and until we do this all is weakness.
St. Teresa of Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

Once when a hippopotamus was ravaging the neighbouring countryside the fathers called on abba Bes to help them. He stood at the place and waited and when he saw the beast, which was of enormous size, he commanded it not to ravage the countryside any more, saying, "In the name of Jesus Christ, I order you not to ravage this countryside anymore." The hippopotamus vanished completely from that district as if driven away by an angel.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Power of the Spirit

In and through Jesus we come to know God as a powerless God, who becomes dependent on us. But it is precisely in this powerlessness that God's power reveals itself. This is not the power that controls, dictates, and commands. It is the power that heals, reconciles, and unites. It is the power of the Spirit. When Jesus appeared people wanted to be close to him and touch him because "power came out of him" (Luke 6:19).

It is this power of the divine Spirit that Jesus wants to give us. The Spirit indeed empowers us and allows us to be healing presences. When we are filled with that Spirit, we cannot be other than healers.

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

Day Twelve - The Third Aim, cont'd

Personal spending is limited to what is necessary for our health and well-being and that of our dependents. We aim to stay free from all attachment to wealth, keeping ourselves constantly aware of the poverty in the world and its claim on us. We are concerned more for the generosity that gives all, rather than the value of poverty in itself. In this way we reflect in spirit the acceptance of Jesus' challenge to sell all, give to the poor, and follow him.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

OUR HOPE to have our yearnings satisfied rests on the faithfulness of God whom we hunger to know, the One who has been seeking us all our lives. God designed our spiritual hunger and thirst into us; they are a part of the original specifications for being fully human. We are created for relationship with God, and nothing else can satisfy that longing.

- Mary Lou Redding
The Power of a Focused Heart

From page 58 of The Power of a Focused Heart: 8 Life Lessons from the Beatitudes by Mary Lou Redding. Copyright © 2006 by Mary Lou Redding.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"Standing Together"

If the gospel has taken on a kind of enigmatic quality in some places or cases, I think part of the problem is that we’ve tried to live the gospel alone. The gospel was meant to be lived by the Church, by people of God, where there is a support system that says you can ask new questions. I think of the people in the New Jerusalem Community and at the Center in New Mexico who have, at great risks to themselves and their families, given up jobs building military hardware. They would never have been able to do it if there weren’t a support system saying, That’s an appropriate gospel question, and we support the risks you take in asking that question. I don’t think we can carry the cross alone. I’m not going to get to real questions of solidarity with the poor unless I know I’m not just standing out there naked and alone. I’m not just one silly, stupid person; there is a whole faith vision calling me to do it. That is the meaning of the Body of Christ and should be the meaning of the parish. Our parishes have become so large and so anonymous, and we’ve been allowed to attend them instead of participate in them. Today people don’t drop out of Church as much as drop in- occasionally! My hope is that little faith-sharing groups will continue to emerge, connected to parishes. The “base community” and the institutional parish need one another. The parish needs the small fervent group to keep it honest, to allow and encourage those who want to ask the deeper questions, those who want to go further, those who want to learn to pray, to minister, to study, advocate and lay down their lives for the poor. And the small group needs the parish to avoid becoming sectarian, narrow, or lost in personality and trendiness. They must regulate, balance and challenge one another.

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 desire of the heart

The desire of your heart is itself your prayer. And if the desire is constant, so is your prayer. Not for nothing did the apostle tell us to pray without ceasing. But did he mean that we were to be perpetually on our knees, lying prostrate, or raising our hands? Is this what is meant by praying without ceasing? Even if we admit that we pray in this fashion, I do not believe that we can do so all the time.

Yet there is another, interior kind of prayer without ceasing, namely the desire of the heart. Whatever else you may be doing, if you but fix your desire on God's sabbath rest, your prayer will be ceaseless. Therefore, if you wish to pray without ceasing, do not cease to desire. The constancy of your desire will itself be the ceaseless voice of your prayer. And that voice of your prayer will be silent only when your love ceases. For who are silent if not those of whom it is said: Because evil has abounded, the love of many will grow cold?

The chilling of love means that the heart is silent. If your love is without ceasing, you are always crying out; if you are always crying out, you are always desiring; and if you desire, you are calling to mind your eternal rest in the Lord.

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


"Master, where dwellest Thou? . . Come and see." "Come with Me." John 1:39

"They abode with Him that day." That is about all some of us ever do, then we wake up to actualities, self-interest arises and the abiding is passed. There is no condition of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus.

"Thou art Simon, thou shalt be called Cephas." God writes the new name on those places only in our lives where He has erased the pride and self-sufficiency and self-interest. Some of us have the new name in spots only, like spiritual measles. In sections we look all right. When we have our best spiritual mood on, you would think we were very high-toned saints; but don't look at us when we are not in that mood. The disciple is one who has the new name written all over him; self-interest and pride and self-sufficiency have been completely erased.

Pride is the deification of self, and this to-day in some of us is not of the order of the Pharisee, but of the publican. To say "Oh, I'm no saint," is acceptable to human pride, but it is unconscious blasphemy against God. It literally means that you defy God to make you a saint, "I am much too weak and hopeless, I am outside the reach of the Atonement." Humility before men may be unconscious blasphemy before God. Why are you not a saint? It is either that you do not want to be a saint, or that you do not believe God can make you one. It would be all right, you say, if God saved you and took you straight to heaven. That is just what He will do! "We will come unto him, and make our abode with him." Make no conditions, let Jesus be everything, and He will take you home with Him not only for a day, but for ever.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

THERE is more of the song and music of mankind in a clerk putting on his Sunday clothes than in a fanatic running naked down Cheapside.

'William Blake.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 9: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at the Night Office

In winter time as defined above,
there is first this verse to be said three times:
"O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall declare Your praise."
To it is added Psalm 3 and the "Glory be to the Father,"
and after that Psalm 94 to be chanted with an antiphon
or even chanted simply.
Let the Ambrosian hymn follow next,
and then six Psalms with antiphons.
When these are finished and the verse said,
let the Abbot give a blessing;
then, all being seated on the benches,
let three lessons be read from the book on the lectern
by the brethren in their turns,
and after each lesson let a responsory be chanted.
Two of the responsories are to be said
without a "Glory be to the Father"
but after the third lesson
let the chanter say the "Glory be to the Father,"
and as soon as he begins it let all rise from their seats
out of honor and reverence to the Holy Trinity.

The books to be read at the Night Office
shall be those of divine authorship,
of both the Old and the New Testament,
and also the explanations of them which have been made
by well known and orthodox Catholic Fathers.

After these three lessons with their responsories
let the remaining six Psalms follow,
to be chanted with "Alleluia."
After these shall follow the lesson from the Apostle,
to be recited by heart,
the verse
and the petition of the litany, that is "Lord, have mercy on us."
And so let the Night Office come to an end.

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 Apostles Fast
Venerable Onouphrios the Great
Kellia: Deuteronomy 18:15-22 Epistle: Romans 7:14-8:2
Gospel: St. Matthew 10:9-15

Moses' Prophecy of Christ: Deuteronomy 18:15-22 LXX, especially vs.18:
"I will raise up to them a Prophet of their brethren, like thee; and I
will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them as I shall
command him." In this passage only among Moses' five books does the
great Prophet refer to himself as a Prophet (vs. 15); and it is exactly
in this same passage that he proclaims the advent of Christ - "a me" (vs. 15). Notice in the passage, 1) the standards
that God requires of a true Prophet (Deut. 18:22) 2) and 2) how this
prophecy of the Lord Jesus fulfills those standards. Moses was a true
Prophet of God who perceived the coming Christ, the "Prophet that should
come into the world" (Jn. 6:14).

Through Moses, God foretold the coming of the Lord Jesus (Deut. 18:18),
for what Christ prophesied either did "come true, and...come to pass"
(vs. 22), or shall be fulfilled in the end-time (vs. 19). God raised up
Christ for His People (Deut. 18; Mt. 15:24). According to the flesh,
the Lord is one of the People of Israel, that is, He is "of their
brethren" (Deut. 18:18; Jn. 1:11). The words of God the Father are in
His mouth, and nothing else (Deut. 18:18; Jn. 8:26). All that He speaks
is not "of Himself" but "as My Father taught Me" (Deut. 18:18; Jn. 8:28).

Moses foretold that God would raise up "a me" (Deut.
18:15), and our Savior, despite being the preexistent Word of God, Who
was with God and was God in the beginning (Jn. 1:1,2), "made Himself of
no reputation" and came in the likeness of men (Phil. 2:7,8). Hence,
like the man Moses, the Lord Jesus was among His brethren, the People of
Israel, as a man and a Jew. The Lord Jesus served as Moses did, to
mediate between the God and all men, for a purpose of God in the
Incarnation was to avoid speaking in His overwhelming Voice and from
"this great fire" (Deut. 18:16). Thus, He came in the same tolerable
form as Moses - as a man, humbling Himself and being "obedient to the
point of death" (Phil. 2:8).

As God declared through Moses, the Lord Jesus is Himself a great
Prophet, for all His words, like those of Moses, came to pass - proved
true (Duet. 18:22). When He met Nathanael, He said of him, "Behold, an
Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" (Jn. 1:47), which amazed
Nathanael, prompting him to ask, "How do You know me?" (Jn. 1:48). To
this the Lord replied that He had seen him "under the fig tree" (Jn.
1:48) - prophetic clairvoyance. Furthermore, He predicted to Nathanael
"You will see greater things than these" (Jn. 1:50), which was fulfilled
in the many miracles Nathanael witnessed subsequently, and above all in
the Lord's Resurrection.

The encounter with Nathanael was only the beginning, for the Lord
prophesied much more: that some of His disciples would not believe in
Him (Jn. 6:64), and "from that time many of His disciples went back and
walked with Him no more" (Jn. 6:66). He knew Judas would betray Him
(Jn. 6:64; Luke 22:21); indeed, Judas led "the officers from the chief
priest and Pharisees" to the garden (Jn. 18:3). Again, long before that
night in which He "gave Himself up for the life of the world," He
predicted that the Son of Man would "suffer many things, and be
rejected...and be killed, and after three days rise again" (Mk. 8:31) -
all of which happened.

Above all, recognize that Christ was like Moses in another significant
way: only the words of God were in His mouth. As He said to His fellow
Jews, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will
do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or
whether I speak of Myself" ( Jn. 7:16,17). Although He is God, He spoke
in parables knowing that many were not prepared "to know the mystery of
the Kingdom of God" (Mk. 4:11).

O Thou Who didst raise Moses as a witness of Thy Divinity, making him a
precursor of the Gospel of emancipation through the Cross and the
Resurrection, O Lord, Glory to Thee.



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