Friday, July 06, 2007

06/07/07 Friday in the week of the 5th 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.


Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; 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 140, 142; PM Psalm 141, 143:1-11(12)
1 Samuel 13:19-14:15; Acts 9:1-9; Luke 23:26-31

From Forward Day by Day:

Luke 23:26-31. As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene...and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus.

Recently my daughter was sick with the flu. She felt so miserable, and I hated to see her suffer. More than anything I wished I could transfer the illness from her to me, that I could take up her burden and carry it for her. I couldn't. I could care for her, love her, do all in my power to comfort her, but the burden was hers alone to carry.

We often find ourselves in such situations. A loved one is suffering, and though we may be able to offer comfort and support, we cannot, in any real way, share the burden. Illness, grief, lossthese are burdens that cannot be transferred to others the way the cross was transferred from Jesus to Simon.

There is a beautiful exception to this rule. There is One who understands human suffering better than anyone and who can share our burdens. Christ suffered on Calvary as a human, and though there was no one there who could share his burden, he can share ours. If you take up a cross and follow him, he will be there even in the darkest of times.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Phulbani (North India)

Speaking to the Soul:

The beliefs of John Adams

Daily Reading for July 6

“The Christian religion, as I understand it,” John Adams declared to Benjamin Rush in 1810, “is the brightness of the glory and the express portrait of the eternal, self-existent independent, benevolent, all-powerful and all-merciful Creator, Preserver and Father of the Universe. . . . Neither savage nor civilized man without a revelation could ever have discovered or invented it.”

Like other Deists, however, Adams substituted a simpler, less mysterious form of Christianity for the Christianity he had inherited. Reading and reflection caused him to discard such beliefs as the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, total depravity, and predestination. God, he declared, “has given us Reason, to find out the Truth, and the real Design and true End of our Existence.” Thus he asserted that humans should study nature and use reason to learn about God and his creation.

Above all, Adams opposed religious oppression and narrow-mindedness. All of this displays the blend of Unitarian Christianity and rational thought that was the religion of John Adams. Like many of his contemporaries, he brought the religion in which he was raised into the court of his reason and common sense and judged it by what he found.

From The Faiths of the Founding Fathers by David L. Holmes (Oxford University Press, 2006).

++++++++++ Reflections

Be not afraid to tell Jesus that you love Him; even though it be without feeling, this is the way to oblige Him to help you, and carry you like a little child too feeble to walk.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba Agathon said, "If I could meet a leper, give him my body and take his, I should be very happy." That is perfect charity. It was also said of him that when he came into the town one day to sell his goods, he met a sick traveller lying in the public place with no one to care for him. The old man rented a room and lived with him there, working with his hands to pay the rent and spending the rest on the sick man's needs. He stayed there four months until the sick man was well again. Then he went back to his cell in peace.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Beyond Jealousy

Jealousy arises easily in our hearts. In the parable of the prodigal son, the elder son is jealous that his younger brother gets such a royal welcome even though he and his loose women swallowed up his father's property (Luke 15:30). And in the parable of the labourers in the vineyard, the workers who worked the whole day are jealous that those who came at the eleventh hour receive the same pay as they did (see Matthew 20:1-16). But the Father says to the older son: "You are with me always and all I have is yours" (Luke 15:31). And the landowner says: "Why should you be envious because I am generous?" (Matthew 20:15).

When we truly enjoy God's unlimited generosity, we will be grateful for what our brothers and sisters receive. Jealous will simply have no place in our hearts.

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

Day Six - The First Aim, cont'd

The primary aim for us as tertiaries is therefore to make Christ known. This shapes our lives and attitudes to reflect the obedience of those whom our Lord chose to be with him and sent out as his witnesses. Like them, by word and example, we bear witness to Christ in our own immediate environment and pray and work for the fulfillment of his command to make disciples of all nations.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

GOD WHO MAKES all things new,
forgive me when I insist
on doing and thinking the same old things.
Open me to hear
all the voices of possibilities
in your creation.

- Alive Now

From page 62 of Alive Now, March/April 2007. Copyright © 2007 by The Upper Room. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"They Still Need Fixing"

After twenty years of counseling, pastoring and clumsy attempts at helping other people, I am coming to a not-so-obvious but compelling conclusion: much of our helping is like hoping for first-class accommodations on the Titanic. It feels good at the moment, but it is going nowhere. The big tear in the hull is not addressed, and we are surprised when people drown, complain or resort to lifeboats. Most of the people I have tried to fix still need fixing. The situation changed, but the core was never touched.Â

What is the core? And how do we touch it? What does it mean to essentially help another person? If we can find the answer to these questions, we are coming close to what the world religions mean by true ministry. It is absolutely unlike any other form of helping. It has many counterfeits and disguises. What Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, and the saints and prophets are talking about is the Absolute Help, which alone is worthy of the name—the radical help that none of us can give to another. We can only point to it and promise that it is there. That is the first and final work of all true religion; all else is secondary.

Call it grace, enlightenment, peak experience, baptism in the Spirit, revelation, consciousness, growth or surrender; but until such a threshold is walked thorough, people are never helped in any true, lasting sense.

from Radical Grace, "How Do We Help?"

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

Strengthened in temptation

How holy and salutary, how loving and gracious, to strengthen and comfort one who is so disturbed and afflicted, so disconsolate and forsaken, and indeed when one is passing through the fire of testing and the water of tribulation to lead him out into the coolness of repose and consolation! Even if one who is so troubled should not immediately obtain this repose and consolation of spirit which he desires, or even is without it for a long time he should nevertheless steadfastly hope that he should possess it in the end, because Many are the tribulations of the just, and from them all the Lord will deliver them.

Marvelous is your kindness, O most high, for you allow us to be tempted, not that we may succumb, but that we may take refuge from our fear in you, our most safe harborage. You act, Lord, like a good mother, who desires to see and embrace her son, removed far from her, and through some fearful happening strikes fear in him and, stretching out her arms, she welcomes her son as he flees, joyfully smiles on him and bestows on him loving kisses; and, for fear he may go off elsewhere, she exhorts him to ensure that nothing evil befalls him; she clasps him to herself, consoling him, and finally offers him her milk. O blessed temptation which compels us to take refuge in God's arms!

William Flete, O.S.A.

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


"And the parched ground shall become a pool." Isaiah 35:7

We always have visions, before a thing is made real. When we realize that although the vision is real, it is not real in us, then is the time that Satan comes in with his temptations, and we are apt to say it is no use to go on. Instead of the vision becoming real, there has come the valley of humiliation.

"Life is not as idle ore,
But iron dug from central gloom,
And batter'd by the shocks of doom
To shape and use."

God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way. Every vision will be made real if we will have patience. Think of the enormous leisure of God! He is never in a hurry. We are always in such a frantic hurry. In the light of the glory of the vision we go forth to do things, but the vision is not real in us yet; and God has to take us into the valley, and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the place where He can trust us with the veritable reality. Ever since we had the vision God has been at work, getting us into the shape of the ideal, and over and over again we escape from His hand and try to batter ourselves into our own shape.

The vision is not a castle in the air, but a vision of what God wants you to be. Let Him put you on His wheel and whirl you as He likes, and as sure as God is God and you are you, you will turn out exactly in accordance with the vision. Don't lose heart in the process. If you have ever had the vision of God, you may try as you like to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never let you.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

IT is the one great weakness of journalism as a picture of our modern existence, that it must be a picture made up entirely of exceptions. We announce on flaring posters that a man has fallen off a scaffolding. We do not announce on flaring posters that a man has not fallen off a scaffolding. Yet this latter fact is fundamentally more exciting, as indicating that the moving tower of terror and mystery, a man, is still abroad upon the earth. That the man has not fallen off a scaffolding is really more sensational; and it is also some thousand times more common. But journalism cannot reasonably be expected thus to insist upon the permanent miracles. Busy editors cannot be expected to put on their posters 'Mr. Wilkinson Still Safe,' or 'Mr. Jones of Worthing, Not Dead Yet.' They cannot announce the happiness of mankind at all. They cannot describe all the forks that are not stolen, or all the marriages that are not dissolved. Hence the complete picture they give of life is of necessity fallacious they can only represent what is unusual. However democratic they may be, they are only concerned with the minority. '

'The Ball and the Cross.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 29: Whether Brethren Who Leave the Monastery Should Be Received Again

If a brother
who through his own fault leaves the monastery
should wish to return,
let him first promise full reparation for his having gone away;
and then let him be received in the lowest place,
as a test of his humility.
And if he should leave again,
let him be taken back again,
and so a third time;
but he should understand that after this
all way of return is denied him.


Life is often a series of false starts while we find out who we are and determine where we really want to go. Benedict understands the struggle of uncertainty and indecision and makes room for it. After all, the giving of oneself to anything is no small thing and should be done with reflection and with peace of mind. So, Benedict allows candidates to the life to try again and again. What he does not permit them to do, however, is to ignore the fact that behavior has consequences or that sometime, somehow they must finally commit to something if they are going to get on with the process of both psychological and spiritual growth. With those two concepts in mind, Benedict allows candidates to enter and leave the monastery no more than three times and then only provided that they realize that every new beginning begins at the beginning again.

There are in this chapter good insights for all of us: eventually we must all settle down and do something serious with our lives and everyday we must make a fresh beginning of it.


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

Friday, July 6, 2007
The Venerable Sisoes the Great of Egypt
Kellia: Job 24:1-4, 12-20 Epistle: 1 Corinthians 4:5-8
Gospel: St. Matthew 13:44-54

Prophetic Declarations II ~ Darkness: Job 24:1-4, 12-20, especially vs.
14: "But having known their works, [God] delivered them into
darkness....for each will be conscious of the terror of the shadow of
death." In this passage, Job looks for recompense from God against the
godless who exploit and plunder: "Why have the seasons been hidden from
the Lord, while the ungodly have passed over the bound carrying off the
flock with the shepherd?" (vss. 1, 2).

God has formed human beings in such a way that we know when we are
straying into evil ways. Yes, there are "sociopathic" personalities,
morally cauterized by repeatedly overriding their consciences.
Formerly, in chapter 21, the Prophet described the good life of the
godless. In this present reading, Job reviews their typical sins that
they commit - preference for darkness and fear of exposure, against
which he pleads for God's judgment on them even in this present life.

Look carefully at Job's survey of the deeds of the ungodly, whereby he
indicates the sort of person he means. Essentially, they have come to
lack respect for the God-ordained boundaries that make life humane and
fulfilling: "the ungodly have passed over the bound" (vs. 2).

Further, such people take the goods of others: "carrying off the flock
with the shepherd" (vs. 2). The petty crook and the white-collar
criminal lack respect for the labor of decent workers and are ever eager
to take, by whatever means, what will enrich them.

The godless prey especially on those who are most vulnerable: "the
fatherless...and...the widow" (vs. 3). There is a profound cowardliness
in the heart of those who 'enjoy' wrongdoing.

These wicked ones lure the weak to turn "aside...from the right way"
(vs. 4). In the drug trade, poor peasants grow illegal crops to survive
and are thus exploited by the drug barons. At the point of sale, the
addict whose body is physically dependent is abused by forced
prostitution, petty theft, or in dealing to other victims - all to the
benefit of the primary traffickers.

Those who disdain God terrorize the gentle and humble of the world: "The
meek of the earth have hidden themselves together" (vs.4). The old, the
frail, the impoverished, and the unsuspecting are targets for criminals
while the wealthy and powerful easily defend themselves.

These cruel ones take advantage of those without means when callously
they "cast forth the poor" (vs. 12). Let the reader also review verses
five through eleven. Here one is reminded of how the evil-doers are
heedless of the pain they inflict: "The soul of the children has
groaned" (vs. 12). May God bless all "victim and witness" programs that
assuage the wounded.

Next, the Prophet Job identifies four growths that fester in and finally
consume the hearts of the ungodly. The wicked are pitiful souls. Their
lives are a witness to those who fear God and long for righteousness.
These sad shells of humanity prefer darkness (vss. 14,15). They avoid
scrutiny, perfect covert ways, and conceal what they do (vs. 16). A
consuming fear for them is exposure (vs. 17). Worst of all, death looms
as an inescapable and final terror (vs. 17).

In concluding, the Prophet turns to imprecatory prayer. He limits his
prayer quite specifically, seeking that only the portion of the ungodly
"be cursed on the earth" (vs.18). He asks that God blight and wither
their success and prospects "on the earth" (vs.19). Perhaps through the
experience of defeat and having their "sin brought to remembrance" (vs.
20), they might turn and mourn for the darkness in their hearts, weep
before God, and seek His forgiveness and thus complete the remaining
time of their life in peace and repentance, even attaining a good
defense before Christ, as did the good thief at the Crucifixion.

O Lord, Who healest every malady and every infirmity, look upon us Thy
children in all the ways we go astray; give us victory over Satan,
making us partakers of Thy Holy Mysteries.



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