Monday, June 25, 2007

25/06/07 Monday in the week of the 4th Sunday after Pentecost


If you would like these meditations to come directly to your in box, please click here:

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 God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and, following his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 89:1-18; PM Psalm 89:19-52
1 Samuel 5:1-12; Acts 5:12-26; Luke 21:29-36

From Forward Day by Day:

Luke 1: 57-80. But his mother said, "No; he is to be called John."

Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, chooses a new name for him though the child would ordinarily be called Zechariah after his father. Mothers named children then, but the name John was unknown in her family. Luke calls attention to this in this passage. Elizabeth moved to respond to God's special promises for this child. What if she had said no?

There is much name-changing in the Old Testament where Abram and Sarai became Abraham and Sarah and where Jacob, after wrestling with God, became Israel, the father of nations. What a turn-around when Joseph was charged by an angel to call Mary's child Jesus! Later Simon would become Peter and Saul become Paul. Names were the expression of the essential nature of the bearer. Once one encountered the divine, he was changed-a new person given a new name.

John was to be the baptizer. John was the one who would prepare the way of the Lord.

By whatever name we are known, we are to prepare the way as well.

Today we remember:

Nativity of St. John the Baptist: (transferred)
AM Psalm 82, 98; Malachi 3:1-5; John 3:22-30
PM Psalm 80; Malachi 4:1-6; Matthew 11:2-19


Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Panama (Central America)

Speaking to the Soul:

Arriving in the desert

Daily Reading for June 25 • The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

To the biblical mind the wilderness is a holy place in which one may enter into communion with God. It is a place where one can clearly sense God’s sustenance, and, more importantly, it is a place where one learns to turn habitually toward God. We may arrive in the desert by different paths. We may journey there of our own accord, or we may be led there by the hidden work of the Holy Spirit. Once we arrive, however, the geography is the same. The clear and penetrating light of the desert requires that we remove the layers of fear and pretense we thought we needed in the land of unlikeness and recognize these as the unnecessary baggage they are. Now is the time for honesty. The desert demands that we discover who we really are and that we persevere in this knowledge. There is, in short, only one rule for the desert pilgrim: God created you in his image, seek his likeness.

From From Image to Likeness: The Christian Journey into God by William A. Simpson (Continuum, 1997).
++++++++++ Reflections

A novice was grieving about her numerous distractions during prayer: "I too, have many," replied St. Therese of the Child Jesus, "but I accept all for love of the good God, even the most extravagant thoughts that come into my head."
St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

One of the beloved of Christ who had the gift of mercy used to say, "The one who is filled with mercy ought to offer it in the same manner in which he has received it, for such is the mercy of God."

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Words That Create Community

The word is always a word for others. Words need to be heard. When we give words to what we are living, these words need to be received and responded to. A speaker needs a listener. A writer needs a reader.

When the flesh - the lived human experience - becomes word, community can develop. When we say, "Let me tell you what we saw. Come and listen to what we did. Sit down and let me explain to you what happened to us. Wait until you hear whom we met," we call people together and make our lives into lives for others. The word brings us together and calls us into community. When the flesh becomes word, our bodies become part of a body of people.

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

Day Twenty Five - The Second Note -


Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35) Love is the distinguishing feature of all true disciples of Christ who wish to dedicate themselves to him as his servants.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

SECOND CORINTHIANS TELLS US that “the God of all comfort … comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Cor. 1:3-4, NIV, italics added). As with all the other good gifts that flow into our lives, God’s comfort comes to us to be shared and multiplied so that, in this new community that Christ brings, no one will be left uncomforted.

- Mary Lou Redding
The Power of a Focused Heart

From page 34 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

"Five Great Gifts: Apostleship"

St. Paul enumerates five great gifts. I like to picture these as a fence. If the five great gifts are operative, the rodeo is able to go on in the middle. The growth of the people of God is protected. The first is apostleship. An apostle is one who is sent. In Paul’s sense and apostle is one who has the vision of the whole, of how all the gifts operate together. Apostles know the risen Lord. On this ground, Mary Magdalene is the first apostle and the one sent by Jesus to convince the other twelve. She can rightly be called the “apostle to the apostles”. Apostles are rooted in the Lord and tied into the whole tradition. The apostle speaks for the whole. Apostles aren’t unaccountable; they’re under authority. So apostles can be sent away from their community, almost appearing to be lone rangers, and because they’re under authority, they can go out and call other people under authority. We have today a lot of roving evangelists and prophets who are in no way accountable. They’re not being sent from any spot. The private self decides everything. No community sends them; they just “go”. But an apostle is always sent. Apostles are free to go because they are not their own center, the gospel is.

from The Price of Peoplehood

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

Imitating the Creator's goodness

In the love of God there can be no excess, but the love of the world is harmful in every way. We must therefore cling inseparably to the good things that are eternal but make use of those that are temporal like passers-by; then, as pilgrims hastening to our homeland, we shall use any worldly good fortune that comes to us as a means to further our journey, not as an enticement to detain us.

Because the world attracts us by its beauty, abundance, and variety, it is not easy to turn away from it unless in the beauty of visible things one loves the Creator rather than the creature; for when the Creator says: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength, he shows that it is not his will for us to loosen the bonds of our love for him in any respect whatever. And by joining to this precept love of our neighbor, he commands us to imitate his own goodness, loving what he loves and doing what he does.

Leo the Great

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


"What shall I say? Father, save me, from this hour? But for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy name." John 12:27-29 (R.V.)

My attitude as a saint to sorrow and difficulty is not to ask that they may be prevented, but to ask that I may preserve the self God created me to be through every fire of sorrow. Our Lord received Himself in the fire of sorrow, He was saved not from the hour, but out of the hour.

We say that there ought to be no sorrow, but there is sorrow, and we have to receive ourselves in its fires. If we try and evade sorrow, refuse to lay our account with it, we are foolish. Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life; it is no use saying sorrow ought not to be. Sin and sorrow and suffering are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.

Sorrow burns up a great amount of shallowness, but it does not always make a man better. Suffering either gives me my self or it destroys my self. You cannot receive your self in success, you lose your head; you cannot receive your self in monotony, you grouse. The way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow. Why it should be so is another matter, but that it is so is true in the Scriptures and in human experience. You always know the man who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, you are certain you can go to him in trouble and find that he has ample leisure for you. If a man has not been through the fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, he has no time for you. If you receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

A MAN'S good work is effected by doing what he does: a woman's by being what she is.

'Robert Browning.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said

The order of psalmody for the day Hours being thus arranged,
let all the remaining Psalms be equally distributed
among the seven Night Offices
by dividing the longer Psalms among them
and assigning twelve Psalms to each night.

We strongly recommend, however,
that if this distribution of the Psalms is displeasing to anyone,
she should arrange them otherwise,
in whatever way she considers better,
but taking care in any case
that the Psalter with its full number of 150 Psalms
be chanted every week
and begun again every Sunday at the Night Office.
For those monastics show themselves too lazy
in the service to which they are vowed,
who chant less than the Psalter with the customary canticles
in the course of a week,
whereas we read that our holy Fathers
strenuously fulfilled that task in a single day.
May we, lukewarm that we are, perform it at least in a whole week!

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

Monday, June 25, 2007 Apostles Fast After-feast
of the Forerunner's Nativity
3 Vespers of the Forerunner John: Isaiah 40:1-3, 9; 41:17-18; 45:8;
48:20-21; 54:1
Epistle: Romans 12:4-5,
15-21 Gospel:
St. Matthew 12:9-13

Doing Our Part: Isaiah 40:1-3, 9; 41:17-18; 45:8; 48:20-21; 54:1 LXX,
especially vs. 48:20: "Go forth of Babylon, you that flee from the
Chaldeans...." Reflecting on this set of verses, Theodoret of Cyrus,
notes that "it is worthwhile to admire the kindness of the
Master...because He is good and His compassion is unfathomable,
and....because He tempers His justice with infinite mercy." The
collection of verses is rich with imagery reminding us of God's love in
action for His People - comforting, bringing glad tidings, hearing and
not forsaking, slaking thirst, pouring out righteousness, and showering
with fruitfulness. These blessings all come from God's goodness upon
His Zion, His Israel, His People - upon us, His Church!

Meditate on this passage and notice three layers in God's blessings: 1)
His love in action reaches into our benighted condition, 2) He puts away
our sins despite the array of shameful deeds unworthy in His eyes, (vs.
40:2), 3) He permits our sad degradation even as He responds with mercy
and forgiveness. Still He requires us to do our part in making His
abundant love actual within us and through us. These Divine acts are
very remarkable and encouraging, especially when we heed them and
respond diligently to Him!

Our many sins, as well as the dreadful consequences that follow them,
surely impoverish our hearts. Observe, however, that God Who loves us,
also promises that "the poor and needy shall exult" (vs. 41:17). Are we
surprised? Did not Jesus our Savior teach us that the poor in spirit
are blessed, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs (Mt. 5:3)? Isaiah
understands that God provides what His People need and supplies them
lavishly (vss. 41:17,18). Do look deeper; for God expects that those
whose sins have left them thirsting and parched "shall seek water" even
when none is apparent (vs. 41:17). The Lord Jesus teaches us to seek
until we find (Mt. 7:7). St. Seraphim tells us that "to receive and
behold in the heart the light of Christ, [we] must, as far as possible,
divert [our] attention away from visible objects" and repent.

Are we not captive in our passions, in "bondage to the elements of the
world" (Gal.4:3), and in exile from paradise? These are the Babylon and
the Chaldeans of our lives, for "while we were yet sinners Christ died
for us" (Rom. 5:8). The Prophet prepares us for this truth finally
realized in Christ: "The Lord has delivered His servant Jacob" (Is. 48:20).

"[We] are baptized. [We] are illumined. [We] have received anointment
with Holy Chrism. [We] are sanctified. [We] are "washed: in the Name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Let us "utter
aloud a voice of joy, and let this be made known, proclaim it to the end
of the earth" (vs. 48:20). Along with His encouragement, God also
commands: "Go forth of Babylon, you that flee from the Chaldeans" (vs.
48:20). We must leave slavery, as St. Antioch says, "If we live in an
alien city and our city is far from this city, and if we know our city:
then why do we tarry in an alien city?" Definitely, let us turn and
seek what is above (Col. 3:1)!

Barrenness, infertility, and sterility of body, soul, and spirit are the
results of sin. However, God took our flesh upon Himself to defeat
death with Life. Theodoret of Cyrus says it plainly: "the true
consolation, the genuine comfort, and the real deliverance from the
iniquities of men is the Incarnation of our God and Savior." Let us
"break forth and cry" (vs. 54:1). In addition, as God aids us in
Christ, let us also heed His command and "spread forth [our] tent yet to
the right and to the left: for [our] seed shall inherit the [nations]"
(Is. 54:3).

I am encompassed in the deep of sins, O Savior, and drowned in the
tempest of this life. But as Thou raised Jonah from the belly of the
whale, so draw me out of passion and save me.



Post a Comment

<< Home