Wednesday, June 13, 2007

13/06/07 Wed 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 72; PM Psalm 119:73-96
Deut. 31:30-32:14; 2 Cor. 11:21b-33; Luke 19:11-27

From Forward Day by Day:

Psalm 72. In his time shall the righteous flourish; there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.

We had a stile on our farm, a set of steps which passed over a fence and joined two pieces of pasture. Some nights we sat on it and watched the rising moon. We built it together as an anniversary present to mark our forty-five years together. Soon, God willing, we will celebrate our fiftieth. Yet there will be many changes ahead. Already the stile is gone and we have left the pasture behind in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Life as we once knew it is gone.

Like the king in this psalm, we had counted on the presence of the sun and moon as God's promise of permanence. Loss of the stile is a reminder that we have a fragile hold on this life. Forgotten will be the games the neighbors' children once played on its steps. Nothing material lasts.

Peace and righteousness will outlast the moon. But God has made us the promise: there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more. The moon is, as the psalmist says, the abiding witness in the sky. It reminds us of the eternity of God.

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

Speaking to the Soul:

Poverty is not sanctity

Daily Reading for June 13

Two final points need to be made to counter a sentimental understanding of poverty to which people sometimes appeal. First, poverty is not sanctity. It goes along with all moods. Depravity and viciousness are found among all; so too gentleness and prayerfulness. Second, extreme poverty is distinct from the elegant simplicity of life that many seek. It is harsh, burdensome, and not generally desirable. Yet those who live in these conditions at times flourish with amazing generosity, hospitality, and faith, and challenge our own overdependence upon material comforts and our own fear of material impoverishment. We have much to learn from them. As the theologian Dorothee Soelle writes, “From the poor of Latin America I learn their hope, their toughness, their anger, and their patience. I learn a better theology in which God is not Lord-over-us but Strength-in-us.”

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

What is there to desire but to walk along the straight path of the law of God and of the Church, and to live only in true and obscure faith, in certain hope, and in the fullness of love. Rejoice, therefore, and have confidence in God.
St John of the Cross
Letter 19

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba Xanthios said, "A dog is better than I am, for he has love and he does not judge."

The Merton Reflection for the Week of June 11, 2007

"Give me the strength that waits upon You in silence and peace. Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens. And possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love. Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for You alone.

For there is only one thing that can satisfy love and reward it, and that is You alone."

Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation. New York: New Directions Press, 1961: 45.

Thought to Remember

"Let my eyes see nothing in the world but Your glory, and let my hands touch nothing that is not for Your service."

Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation. New York: New Directions Press, 1961: 44.

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

Day Thirteen - The Three Ways of Service

Tertiaries desire to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, whom we serve in the three ways of Prayer, Study, and Work. In the life of the Order as a whole these three ways must each find full and balanced expression, but it is not to be expected that all members devote themselves equally to each of them. Each individual's service varies according to his/her abilities and circumstances, yet the member's personal rule of life includes each of the three ways.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

GOD PROMISES a new covenant so that those who have lost their way of loving will have a new heart. This new heart brings with it the capacity to have God’s own communication, the law, written on it.

- Elizabeth Nordquist
The Upper Room Disciplines 1997

From page 76 of The Upper Room Disciplines 1997. Copyright © 1996 by The Upper Room.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"The Navajo Rug"

In a Navajo rug, there is always an imperfection woven into the corner. And interestingly enough, it’s where “the Spirit moves in and out of the rug.” The pattern is perfect and then there’s one part of it that clearly looks like a mistake. The Semitic mind, the Eastern mind(which, by the way, Jesus would have been much closer to) understands perfection in precisely that way. Perfection is not the elimination of imperfection. That’s our Western either/or, need-to-control thinking. Perfection, rather, is the ability to incorporate imperfection! There’s no other way to live: You either incorporate imperfection, or you fall into denial. That’s how the Spirit moves in or out of our lives.

From Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the 12 Steps

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

Actions speak louder than words

The man who is filled with the Holy Spirit speaks in different languages. These different languages are different ways of witnessing to Christ, such as humility, poverty, patience and obedience; we speak in those languages when we reveal in ourselves these virtues to others. Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak. We are full of words but empty of actions, and therefore are cursed by the Lord, since he himself cursed the fig tree when he found not fruit but only leaves.

We should speak, then, as the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of speech. Our humble and sincere request to the Spirit for ourselves should be that we may bring the day of Pentecost to fulfillment, insofar as he infuses us with his grace, by using our bodily senses in a perfect manner and by keeping the commandments. Likewise we should request that we may be filled with a keen sense of sorrow and with fiery tongues for confessing the faith, so that our deserved reward may be to stand in the blazing splendor of the saints and to look upon the triune God.

Anthony of Padua

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


"Come ye after Me." Mark 1:17

One of the greatest hindrances in coming to Jesus is the excuse of temperament. We make our temperament and our natural affinities barriers to coming to Jesus. The first thing we realize when we come to Jesus is that He pays no attention whatever to our natural affinities. We have the notion that we can consecrate our gifts to God. You cannot consecrate what is not yours; there is only one thing you can consecrate to God, and that is your right to yourself (Romans 12:1). If you will give God your right to yourself, He will make a holy experiment out of you. God's experiments always succeed. The one mark of a saint is the moral originality which springs from abandonment to Jesus Christ. In the life of a saint there is this amazing wellspring of original life all the time; the Spirit of God is a well of water springing up, perennially fresh. The saint realizes that it is God Who engineers circumstances, consequently there is no whine, but a reckless abandon to Jesus. Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you.

If you abandon to Jesus, and come when He says "Come," He will continue to say "Come" through you; you will go out into life reproducing the echo of Christ's "Come." That is the result in every soul who has abandoned and come to Jesus.

Have I come to Jesus? Will I come now?

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 10: How the Night Office Is to Be Said in Summer Time

From Easter until the Calends of November
let the same number of Psalms be kept as prescribed above;
but no lessons are to be read from the book,
on account of the shortness of the nights.
Instead of those three lessons
let one lesson from the Old Testament be said by heart
and followed by a short responsory.
But all the rest should be done as has been said;
that is to say that never fewer than twelve Psalms
should be said at the Night Office,
not counting Psalm 3 and Psalm 94.

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 Apostles
Fast All Saints of North America
Kellia: Deuteronomy 19:11-21 Epistle: Romans 8:2-13
Gospel: St. Matthew 10:16-22

But I Say Unto You: Deuteronomy 19:11-21, especially vs. 13: "Thou
(shalt) purge innocent blood...and it shall be well with thee."
Christians, attending to the word of God in this passage, receive a
twofold blessing: first, it reminds us to be grateful to God, for in the
age of His Holy Prophet Moses, He revealed the importance of just law
and order in removing "evil from yourselves" (vs. 19). Second, and more
important, these verses remind us of the profound inward change of heart
to which the Gospel calls Christ's own in relation to God's laws. As we
endeavor to walk in His Way, both Covenants - the Old and the New -
serve us better than we sinners deserve, thus giving us the potential to
make life truly fruitful in this fallen world.

How grateful we should be to God for revealing the great value of fair,
impartial justice systems founded on retributive justice through
criminal and civil codes that seek to dispense reasonable punishment in
recompense of crimes and offenses. Living under such a system, we
should be grateful to God for having forebears who struggled to
structure and found such a judicious order for decent social life, the
making of just laws, and the honest administration of decent, godly
standards for society. Compare ours with other legal systems!

Read accounts of the perverse, corrupt justice that operated under the
Nazi Reich or the the Soviet courts and gulag. Then, one appreciates
our heritage of just law traceable to the Mosaic foundations. Let us
never slack our efforts to sustain such justice in our courts and laws
and keep them established on God's revealed foundations, truly ever fair
and just for all.

Even more, Beloved of the Lord, let us be grateful to our great God and
Savior, Jesus Christ, Who has shown us "a more excellent way" (1
Cor12:31). Through rebirth in the Spirit, He gives us grace to do the
truth before Him, the Light, that our "deeds may be clearly seen that
they have been done in God" (Jn. 3:6,21). The Lord Jesus' higher way
leads each one who is united to Him far beyond mere outward obedience to
the law. He enables us to fulfill the law (Mt. 5:17) with a
righteousness that exceeds exterior compliance to God, for He calls us
to an inner change of heart in regard to obedience to law, justice, and
equity that is based on His will.

For instance, the Law of God rightly opposes ambush with intent either
to assault or to murder (Deut. 19:11), but the Lord Jesus reveals a more
profound, saving solution to the uprising of hate within us: "You have
heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not murder....But I
say to you that whoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of
the judgment" and what is more, "whoever [even] says 'You fool' shall be
in danger of hell fire" (Mt. 5:21,22). Christ's way of justice requires
more than not murdering. He would restore our humanity within us and
have us cleanse our hearts and souls of hate - the inward sin that wells
up and seethes within us.

The Law of God commands us not to covet (Deut. 5:21), and, therefore,
expressly forbids us to turn our cravings into actions - such as
removing "a neighbor's landmark, which the men of old have set" (Deut.
19:14) so as to make others' property our own. Again, the Lord reveals
the highest way, teaches us not to lay up "treasures on earth" for
ourselves (Mt. 6:19), but to "seek first the Kingdom of God and His
righteousness." He assures us that "all these things shall be added to
you" (Mt. 6:33). May we take Christ's high path of salvation, never
violating justice.

Divine justice forbids the giving of false testimony (Deut. 19:16-19),
and the Lord Jesus commands all who would enter His Kingdom not to look
at the speck in our brother's eye but to "consider the plank" in our own
eye (Mt. 7:3). In Christ it always is a matter of our heart.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and with Thy governing Spirit
establish me. (Ps. 50:10,12 LXX).


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