Thursday, June 21, 2007

21/06/07 Thurs in the week of the 3rd Sunday 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.

Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm [83] or 34; PM Psalm 85, 86
1 Samuel 2:27-36; Acts 2:22-36; Luke 20:41-21:4

From Forward Day by Day:

Psalm 34. Proclaim with me the greatness of the LORD; let us exalt his Name together.

Seeing a butterfly and a hummingbird drinking together at my feeder reminds me that togetherness in worship is also possible. What is church? It is the gathering of Christians exalting God's name. This psalm was a favorite of the early church. Martyrs sang it on the way to execution knowing they would gain courage from fellow sufferers--and from God.

Henry David Thoreau lived at Walden Pond more than a year in solitude, yet he went into town to hear the news that he sorely missed. Near the end of Walden Thoreau admits this, for like the hummingbird and the butterfly he wanted community.

Jesus said that when two or three are gathered in his name, he is present. Sam Potaro in Sheer Christianity says the stories of Pentecost and Babel point to the dangers of exclusive views of God. God is both what you and I think he is plus much more. Christians do not exist, he says, in isolation. More than ever we need unity. We need to admit our oneness in Christ. We need to exalt his Name together.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Owerri (Owerri, Nigeria)
++++++++++ Reflections

Though we are always in the presence of God, it seems to me that the manner is different for those who practice prayer, for they are aware that he is looking at them.
St Teresa of Jesus
Book of Her Life, ch. 8

Reading from the Desert Christians

When abba Apollo heard the sound of singing from the monks who welcomed us, he greeted us according to the custom which all monks folow... He first lay prostrate on the ground, then got up and kissed us and having brought us in he prayed for us; then, after washing our feet with his own hands, he invited us to partake of some refreshment...

One could see his monks were filled with joy and a bodily contentment such as one cannot see on earth. For nobody among them was gloomy or downcast.

If anyone did appear a little downcast, abba Apollo at once asked him the reason and told each one what was the secret recesses of his heart. He used to say, "Those who are going to inherit the Kingdom of heaven must not be depondent about their salvation... we who have been considered worthy of so great a hope, how shall we not rejoice without ceasing, since the Apostle urges us always, "Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks"?"

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Growing into the Truth We Speak

Can we only speak when we are fully living what we are saying? If all our words had to cover all our actions, we would be doomed to permanent silence! Sometimes we are called to proclaim God's love even when we are not yet fully able to live it. Does that mean we are hypocrites? Only when our own words no longer call us to conversion. Nobody completely lives up to his or her own ideals and visions. But by proclaiming our ideals and visions with great conviction and great humility, we may gradually grow into the truth we speak. As long as we know that our lives always will speak louder than our words, we can trust that our words will remain humble.

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

Day Twenty One - The Three Notes of the Order

Humility, love, and joy are the three notes which mark the lives of Tertiaries. When these characteristics are evident throughout the Order, its work will be fruitful. Without them, all that it attempts will be in vain.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

who dwells at the center of our kinship with others.
Christ is the one who invited us
into deeper communion with the Divine
through the common experience of human encounter.

- Stephanie Ford
Kindred Souls

From page 17 of Kindred Souls: Connecting through Spiritual Friendship by Stephanie Ford. Copyright © 2006 by Stephanie Ford.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection


Shared life is a way of being present to another person so that another person can be present to you. It’s a quality of being, of living. A sharing attitude makes room inside of you so that others can crawl in and you can crawl out into them. You become touched and touchable, supporting and supportable. A Christian home is one with the doors open, and a Christian community of any form has doors open and swinging both ways. There’s life moving in and life moving out. I could summarize Jesus’ most radical teaching as a call to “universal table fellowship” (see with whom he eats, whom he invites to the banquet, and then you will know why they killed him!). Don’t tell people to come to our church or to come to hear Father preach. Ask them to come over for supper. That’s more real and natural. Talk to them over the back fence. We hope our life is good news. When out neighbors see our unity and our good news, maybe then they’ll say, I’d like to come celebrate and worship with you.

From The Spiritual Family and the Natural Family

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

God's union with the beloved

Anyone who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. As God's kindness is beyond all telling, as his love for our race defies human utterance and is commensurate with the divine goodness alone, so it follows that his union with his beloved ones is closer than any other conceivable union and admits of no comparison. Scripture of necessity has recourse to many models in order to describe that intimacy, for one alone is insufficient. Sometimes it takes a dweller and his house as an example, sometimes a vine and its branch, sometimes marriage, sometimes members and head; but none of these is adequate to express it or bring us to the complete truth. Friendship and love tend necessarily to unite, but what human friendship can compare with the love of God? The models which seem best fitted to connote intimacy and oneness are marriage and the harmonious subordination of the members of a body to its head.

Nicolas Cabasilas

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


"But ye are . . . a royal priesthood." 1 Peter 2:9

By what right do we become "a royal priesthood"? By the right of the Atonement. Are we prepared to leave ourselves resolutely alone and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual grubbing on the inside to see whether we are what we ought to be generates a self-centred, morbid type of Christianity, not the robust, simple life of the child of God. Until we get into a right relationship to God, it is a case of hanging on by the skin of our teeth, and we say - What a wonderful victory I have got. There is nothing indicative of the miracle of Redemption in that. Launch out in reckless belief that the Redemption is complete, and then bother no more about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ said - pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints, pray for all men. Pray on the realization that you are only perfect in Christ Jesus, not on this plea - "O Lord, I have done my best, please hear me."

How long is it going to take God to free us from the morbid habit of thinking about ourselves? We must get sick unto death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God can tell us about ourselves. We cannot touch the depths of meanness in ourselves. There is only one place where we are right, and that is in Christ Jesus. When we are there, then we have to pour out for all we are worth in this ministry of the interior.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 17: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at These Hours

We have already arranged the order of the psalmody
for the Night and Morning Offices;
let us now provide for the remaining Hours.

At Prime let three Psalms be said,
separately and not under one "Glory be to the Father."
The hymn of that Hour
is to follow the verse "Incline unto my aid, O God,"
before the Psalms begin.
Upon completion of the three Psalms
let one lesson be recited,
then a verse,
the "Lord, have mercy on us" and the concluding prayers.

The Offices of Terce, Sext and None
are to be celebrated in the same order,
that is:
the "Incline unto my aid, O God," the hymn proper to each Hour,
three Psalms, lesson and verse,
"Lord, have mercy on us" and concluding prayers.

If the community is a large one,
let the Psalms be sung with antiphons;
but if small,
let them be sung straight through.

Let the Psalms of the Vesper Office be limited to four,
with antiphons.
After these Psalms the lesson is to be recited,
then the responsory, the Te Deum, the verse,
the canticle from the Gospel book,
the litany, the Lord's Prayer and the concluding prayers.

Let Compline be limited to the saying of three Psalms,
which are to be said straight through without antiphon,
and after them the hymn of that Hour,
one lesson, a verse, the "Lord, have mercy on us,"
the blessing and the concluding prayers.


Perhaps the most important point to be made about the structure of prayer during the day hours, during the periods of distraction and the times of work is simply this. Even then, prayer is to be prayer, not a glancing thought, not a shrug or a gesture or a mindless moment of empty daydreaming. It is to be brief, yes. It is not, however, to be superficial. Benedict wants us to pray the psalms. His own monks, many of them illiterate and all of them without manuscripts, memorized the psalms of the day hours so that they could be prayed in the fields as well as in the prayer place.

This chapter, consequently, of all the chapters in the Rule on prayer is a real challenge to a modern society. What psalm prayers can we say without reading? What prayers ring in our hearts? What do we think about when we're not thinking about anything special? Do we ever simply stop the work we are doing during the day, look straight ahead and pray? What memorized material does run through our minds and why do we memorize what we do but not our prayers?

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

Thursday, June 21, 2007 Apostles Fast Martyr Julian of Tarsus
Kellia: Deuteronomy 33:1-29 Epistle: Romans 11:13-24 Gospel: St. Matthew

Blessings: Deuteronomy 33:1-29 LXX, especially vs. 29: “Blessed art
thou, O Israel; who is like to thee, O people saved by the Lord? Thy
helper shall hold His shield over thee, and His sword is thy boast” Two
words express ‘blessing’ in Scripture, in Hebrew, barak and esher. The
parallels in Greek are, evlogetos and makarios. Both Hebrew words are
used in the present passage, the first in the opening verse (vs.1) and
the latter in the final verse (vs.29). Biblical writers use evlogetos or
barak to address God or to acclaim His initiative (Lk.1:68 or
Deut.33:1). esher and makarios describe those who are blessed. Makarios
is used in the Beatitudes (Mt. 5:3-11) to refer to the felicity of the
godly (Lk. 1:48), while evlogetos most often is used when addressing God
or to describe graces that He pours out on men (see Eph.1:3 where both
uses occur).

In the present passage, although it is Moses, “the man of God” (Deut.
33:1), who blesses the Lord’s People, in fact it is God blessing His
People through His Prophet. The prophecies in this passage (vss. 6-25)
are set in a larger context of God’s unending blessing upon His People
(vss.1-5,26-29). Orthodox Christians should recognize this context since
it includes us. Moses reveals what the Apostle means when he declares
that “God...has blessed us with every spiritual Christ”
(Eph.1:3). The Prophet unveils the depth of St. Paul’s words in ten
phrases that capture the rich, vivid portrait of the felicitous
blessings of God upon His People.

“The Lord...has appeared from Seir to us” (Deut. 33: 2). Orthodox
Christian, recall the words at Orthros: “God is the Lord which hath
shown us light (or appeared to us) (Ps.117:26 LXX). God “hath appeared
to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26).

Saying that “the Lord...has hasted out of the mount of Paran, with the
ten thousands of holy ones” (Deut. 33:2), prefigures St. Paul’s promise
of Christ’s majestic return: “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from
heaven with his mighty angels” (2 Thess. 1:7).

“He spared His people” (Deut.33:3) as He saves us by grace through faith
(Eph. 2:8).
God’s People in every generation “are under...the law which Moses
charged us” (Deut. 33:3,4), and Christ teaches us that He did “not come
to destroy (the Law) but to fulfill” it (Mt. 5:17). Thus, we, too, are
to perfect the intent of the Law, even as our Father does (Mt. 5:48).

The Lord God was “prince with the beloved one” for old Israel (Deut.
33:5), while the Lord Jesus is King over Israel, as the Church, His
People today, is called. When Pilate asked, “Art thou the King of the
Jews?” Jesus agreed, “Thou sayest” (Mt. 27:11). And Who is the King in
His parable Who says, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the
Kingdom” (Mt. 25:34)?

As “There is not any such as the God” (Deut. 33:26), so also who can
compare with Jesus our God and Savior? As the Apostle points out: in old
times God spoke through the prophets in diverse ways, but in these last
days He has “spoken unto us in His Son” (Heb.1:8).

Ancient Israel was “under the strength of the everlasting arms”
(Deut.33:27), while we have “the whole armour of God, that [we] may be
able to withstand in the evil day” (Eph. 6:13).

God “cast forth the enemy” (Deut.33:27) of old, and still, in the
Church, no power can separate us “from the love of God, which is in
Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:39).

God promised that “Israel shall dwell in confidence” (Deut. 33:28) -
both ancient Israel and the Church today. Likewise, all who enter into
Christ “shall be saved” (Jn.10:9).

Yes, Israel, ancient or new, is“a people saved by the Lord” (Dt.33:29),
for, as the Lord Jesus promised: “lo, I Am with you always, even to the
end of the age. Amen” (Mt. 28:20).

We give thanks unto Thee, O King invisible, Who by Thy boundless power
hast blessed us with Thy grace and compassions and love toward mankind,
O Thou good and dread Master.



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