Saturday, July 14, 2007

14/07/07 Saturday in the week of the 6th 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.


O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; 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 20, 21:1-7(8-14); PM Psalm 110:1-5(6-7), 116, 117
1 Samuel 17:31-49; Acts 11:1-18; Mark 1:14-28

From Forward Day by Day:

1 Samuel 17:31-49. David put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead.

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? It's not a new question, but it's one that bears repeating. There are two types of people in the world: those who believe they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to, and those who see only impediments to success.

No one believed that David could defeat Goliath--not Saul, not the forces of Israel, and certainly not Goliath, the Philistine. But David believed. "The Lord will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine," he said. David had self-confidence, that trait that helps us believe we can accomplish anything, but he had something more important. David had faith.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Perhaps we should reword the question. What will you do when you know that you are on God's side?

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Pretoria (South Africa)

Speaking to the Soul:

With empty hands

Daily Reading for July 14

There can be no more role-playing for those who attempt to follow the rule of St Benedict, no more hiding behind a mask. We stand daily before God with empty hands, just like the publican. “Suspice me, accept me O Lord as you have promised and I shall live; do not disappoint me in my hope.” These are the words the novice says on entering the community. They are words that I come back to, time and again, as a prayer for myself. They mean more now that I have learnt that the Latin words comes from the verb sub-capere, to take underneath and so with the idea of supporting, raising, and that in Roman usage it was the word for a father taking up a new-born infant from the ground and thus recognizing it as his own. The implication here then becomes one of acceptance and thus of survival.

So when I say suspice me it conveys the full depth and warmth of that word. Accept me, receive me, support me, raise me up—wonderful singing words that say everything that I want to say as a prayer for myself. They are words that I understand at one level today, as I say them now, and as I present myself today before God. But they are also like some Eastern koan in which the full mystery of what I am saying will only gradually unfold and grow as my own fortune opens up before me.

For the self that I present full face to God is not anything static. If I ask God to accept me as I am now, in the present, I am also able to receive whatever he has in store for me in the future. If I really hand myself over, making an act of personal surrender, asking God to accept me just as I am now, open, vulnerable, powerless, then I shall also be able to receive whatever he has in store for me in the future.

From Living With Contradiction: Reflections on the Rule of St. Benedict by Esther de Waal (Harper and Row, 1989).
++++++++++ Reflections

For me, prayer means launching out of the heart towards God; it means lifting up ones' eyes, quite simply, to heaven, a cry of grateful love, from the crest of joy or the trough of despair.
St Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba Paul said, "Keep close to Jesus."

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Being Blessed

Jesus is the Blessed One. When Jesus was baptised in the Jordan river a voice came from heaven saying: "You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you" (Mark 1:11). This was the blessing that sustained Jesus during his life. Whatever happened to him - praise or blame - he clung to his blessing; he always remembered that he was the favourite child of God.

Jesus came into the world to share that blessing with us. He came to open our ears to the voice that also says to us, "You are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter, my favour rests on you ." When we can hear that voice, trust in it, and always remember it, especially during dark times, we can live our lives as God's blessed children and find the strength to share that blessing with others.

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

Day Fourteen - The First Way of Service -


Tertiaries seek to live in an atmosphere of praise and prayer. We aim to be constantly aware of God's presence, so that we may indeed pray without ceasing. Our ever deepening devotion to the indwelling Christ is a source of strength and joy. It is Christ's love that inspires us to service, and strengthens us for sacrifice.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

FAITH IS NOT merely a belief in ideas or concepts but a belief that moves us to action. … A significant part of our faith is how we live it out daily, for our actions and our lifestyles witness to the true faith we hold. Somehow in our upbringing, many Western Christians have missed the critical link between faith and lifestyle. Faith should expres itself in what we eat, how we spend our time, how we entertain ourselves, and how we spend our money. …

For faith to grow, we must be open and listening to God through scripture, prayer, worship, music, nature, people, and the circumstances of our lives. Then we must be obedient to God’s will and direction for us as we discern them. True Christian faith leads us to involvement with others and sensitivity to their needs.

- Ann Hagmann
Climbing the Sycamore Tree

From pages 73-74 of Climbing the Sycamore Tree by Ann Hagmann. Copyright © 2001 by Ann Hagmann. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"Standing In-Between"

Thanks be to God, the Catholic Church has produced more martyrs in the last twenty years than we did in the first two hundred years of the Church. Wherever I go on this earth, there are the Catholic missionaries, standing between left and right, standing between communism and capitalism, simply trying to be faithful to Jesus and the gospel. They spill their blood, invariably, because both the right and the left hate them. They're not playing either side's games. They are building bridges, but you can't build a bridge from the middle. You have to start on one side, and for Christians that starting place is on the side of the poor and powerless. That pleases no one, really – not even liberals.

That's the position we're in today. I call it the naked position of the gospel: where you don't please the liberals or conservatives, you simply are faithful to the gospel. It is asking more of our minds and our hearts than any of us are prepared for.

from Letting Go: A Spirituality of Subtraction

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

In charity there is everything

What is faith but the carriage that bears us to our native land? What is hope but the food we take for our journey through life's hardships? And those other virtues of temperance, prudence, fortitude and justice — what are they but the weapons given us for the struggle? But when death has been swallowed up by that perfection of charity which is achieved in the vision of God there will be no more faith, because faith was the preparation for that vision, and there will be no need to believe what we see and love. And when we embrace God with the arms of our charity, there will be no more hope, for there will be nothing left to hope for. And as for the other virtues, temperance is our weapon against lust, prudence against error, fortitude against adversity, justice against injustice. But in charity there is also perfect chastity, and so no lust for temperance to combat; in charity there is the fullness of knowledge, and so no error for prudence to guard against; in charity there is true blessedness, and so no adversity for fortitude to overcome; in charity all is peace, and so there is no injustice for justice to withstand.

Aelred of Rievaulx

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


But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Matthew 5:39, etc

These verses reveal the humiliation of being a Christian. Naturally, if a man does not hit back, it is because he is a coward; but spiritually if a man does not hit back, it is a manifestation of the Son of God in him. When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but make it an occasion to exhibit the Son of God. You cannot imitate the disposition of Jesus; it is either there or it is not. To the saint personal insult becomes the occasion of revealing the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus.

The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is not - Do your duty, but - Do what is not your duty. It is not your duty to go the second mile, to turn the other cheek, but Jesus says if we are His disciples we shall always do these things. There will be no spirit of - "Oh, well, I cannot do any more, I have been so misrepresented and misunderstood." Every time I insist upon my rights, I hurt the Son of God; whereas I can prevent Jesus from being hurt if I take the blow myself. That is the meaning of filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. The disciple realizes that it is his Lord's honour that is at stake in his life, not his own honour.

Never look for right in the other man, but never cease to be right yourself. We are always looking for justice; the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is - Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day


THE destruction of the Bastille was not a reform it was something more important than a reform. It was an iconoclasm; it was the breaking of a stone image. The people saw the building like a giant looking at them with a score of eyes, and they struck at it as at a carved face. For of all the shapes in which that immense illusion called Materialism can terrify the soul, perhaps the most oppressive is that of the big building. Man feels like a fly, an accident in the thing he has himself made. It requires a violent effort of the spirit to remember that man made this confounding thing and man could unmake it. Therefore the mere act of the ragged people in the street taking and destroying a huge public building has a spiritual, and a ritual, meaning far beyond its immediate political results. It is a religious service. If, for instance, the Socialists were numerous or courageous enough to capture and smash up the Bank of England you might argue for ever about the inutility of the act, and how it really did not touch the root of the economic problem in the correct manner. But mankind would never forget it. It would change the world.

'Tremendous Trifles.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen

An hour before the meal
let the weekly servers each receive a drink and some bread
over and above the appointed allowance,
in order that at the meal time they may serve their brethren
without murmuring and without excessive fatigue.
On solemn days, however, let them wait until after Mass.

Immediately after the Morning Office on Sunday,
the incoming and outgoing servers
shall prostrate themselves before all the brethren in the oratory
and ask their prayers.
Let the server who is ending his week say this verse:
"Blessed are You, O Lord God,
who have helped me and consoled me."
When this has been said three times
and the outgoing server has received his blessing,
then let the incoming server follow and say,
"Incline unto my aid, O God;
O Lord, make haste to help me."
Let this also be repeated three times by all,
and having received his blessing
let him enter his service.


Work done in the Benedictine tradition is supposed to be regular, it is supposed to be productive, it is supposed to be worthwhile but it is not supposed to be impossible. Give help where it is needed, the Rule says. Give whatever it takes to make it possible, the Rule says. Give people whatever they need to do it without grumbling. The servers are to serve, not starve. They are to eat before the others so that they don't wind up resenting the fact that others are eating and become bitter or reluctant in their service. It is a salutary and sobering thought in an age that exploits the poor and the illiterate with impunity for the sake of the comfort of the rich, paying workers too little to live on and working them too hard to live, and then calling it "working your way up" or the "plight" of the unskilled laborer.

|Benedictine spirituality does not set out to burden some for the sake of the others in the name of community. It sets out to make work possible for all so that the community can thrive in joy. Any group, any family, that makes life wonderful for some of its members at the expense of the others, no matter how good the work or how satisfied the group, is not operating in a Benedictine spirituality. It is, at best, simply dealing in some kind of holy exploitation, but it is exploitation nevertheless.

In "The Sayings of the Jewish Fathers" it is written: "It is wise to work as well as to study the Torah: between the two you will forget to sin." To make sure we do not forget that humble work is as sacred and sanctifying as prayer, Benedict blesses the kitchen servers of the week in the middle of the chapel. With that simple but powerful gesture all of life begins to look different for everyone. Suddenly it is not made up of "higher" and "lower" activities anymore. It is all--manual labor and mystical meditation--one straight beam of light on the road to fullness of humanity. One activity without the other, prayer without the creative and compassionate potential of work or work without the transcending quality of prayer, lists heavily to the empty side of life. The blessing prayer for the weekly servers in the midst of the community not only ordains the monastic to serve the community but it also brings together both dimensions of life, the transcendent and the transforming, in one clear arc: Prayer is not for its own sake and the world of manual work is not a lesser world than chapel.

We are all meant both to pray and work, each of them influencing and fulfilling the other.

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

Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain (Hagiorite)
Kellia: Micah 1:1-16 Epistle: Romans
12:1-3 Gospel: St. Matthew10:37-11:1

Christ Jesus as Testimony: Micah 1:1-16 LXX, especially vs. 2: "Hear
these words, ye people; and let the earth give heed, and all that are in
it: and the Lord God shall be among you for a testimony, the Lord out of
His holy habitation." Why does God's Prophet announce that "the
Lord...shall be among" us? Take care not to answer hastily because of
having perspective over two millennia, back to the coming into the world
of our Lord Jesus Christ. Take note then to look back further to the
era of Micah in the Eighth and Seventh Centuries before Christ was
born. Then, ponder on the question and mull it over well until awe
springs up in the heart. Realize that all those centuries, God had His
plan in place for us. He intended to "come down and...go upon the high
places of the earth" (vs. 3). One feels very small, humble, and
insignificant knowing that God planed for thousands of years, even from
eternity to come among us - and He actually did it as recorded! Christ
is among us! Do you not hear it and know it in every Liturgy?

Micah the Prophet, whose name means "one who is from God" by his very
name intimates the Divine plan of the coming of Christ from God. While
Micah himself was sent by God as a Prophet, yet he, along with other of
the Prophets of old, only prepared the way for the Son of God. Christ
Jesus is the heir of God, for a key portion of the Lord Jesus' testimony
is the declaration that "All things have been delivered to Me by the
Father" (Mt. 11:27).

Origen, a Christian scholar during the second and third centuries after
Christ the Lord's Incarnation, challenges us with a similar thought:
"consider Jesus' statement, 'I have proceeded and come from God' (Jn.
8:42). It seems useful to me to juxtapose to these words the following
words from Micah: "Hear my words, you people, and let the earth and all
who are in it pay attention; and the Lord shall be among you for a
witness, the Lord from His holy house. Therefore behold, the Lord
proceeds from His place and will come down and tread upon the high
places of the earth, and the mountains will be shaken under Him, and the
valley will be dissolved like wax before fire and like water tumbling
down in a waterfall" To say, 'I have proceeded from God,' is equivalent
to the statement, 'The Lord proceeds from His place,' for when the Son
is in the Father, being in the form of God before He empties Himself,
God is His place, as it were."

What testimony does Christ bring among us in His coming? Anticipating
His departure from this world, when His Passion and Resurrection were
imminent, He says, "It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do
not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will
send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of
sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not
believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see
Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged" (Jn.
16:7-11). These matters Micah clearly foreshadows.

The bulk of this reading from Micah describes why the Lord comes,
including the implications of His arrival. The Prophet warns of
calamities that are coming "for the transgression of Jacob, and for the
sin of the house of Israel" (Micah 1:5). Mankind's sins, past and
present, do not go unnoticed by the Lord. Micah warned Israel and
Judah, the two ancient Kingdoms of God's People. Likewise, the Spirit,
sent by the Lord Jesus, continues warning mankind of the sin of not
believing in Christ, but also of the possibility of righteousness
through repentance and grace, and of judgment against the ruler of this
world, for the "calamities...come down from the Lord (vs. 11). Let us
heed the testimony of Christ, His Spirit, and His Prophet!

Let Thy compassions quickly go before us, O Lord, for we are become
exceedingly poor. Help us, O God our Savior; deliver us, and be
gracious unto our sins, for Thy Name's sake.



Post a Comment

<< Home