Sunday, July 15, 2007

15/07/07 7th 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.


O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 148, 149, 150; PM Psalm 114, 115
1 Samuel 17:50-18:4; Rom. 10:4-17; Matt. 23:29-39

From Forward Day by Day:

Luke 10:25-37. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity.

I saw a TV show in which a character was inundated by requests from charities. Give money, volunteer your time, help us! This character felt helpless in the face of so much need. What could one person do when so many in the world were suffering? He asked a friend for advice and the friend was blunt: "It doesn't matter," he said, "but do something."

Christ does not ask us to save the world--that's his job. But he does ask us to do something. In a world of twenty-four hour news, and endless charities seeking support, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the needs of others. Sometimes we feel the only solution is to withdraw into ourselves, to ignore all those needs so their sheer volume doesn't destroy us.

In the story of the Good Samaritan, Christ shows how we can resist that urge. We don't have to help everybody, but we do have to help somebody. Being Christian is a team effort. No one is asked to go it alone. What should you do to respond to the needs of your fellow human beings? It doesn't matter, but do something.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Episcopal Church in the Philippines

Speaking to the Soul:

Daily Reading for July 15 • The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

It is a quotidian mystery that dailiness can lead to despair and yet also be at the core of our salvation. We express this every time we utter the Lord’s Prayer. As Simone Weil so eloquently stated it in her essay, “Concerning the Our Father,” the “bread of this world” is all that nourishes and energizes us, not only food but the love of friends and family, “money, ambition, consideration...power...everything that puts into us the capacity for action.” She reminds us that we need to keep praying for this food, acknowledging our needs as daily, because in the act of asking, the prayer awakens in us the trust that God will provide. But, like the manna that God provided to Israel in the desert, this “bread” cannot be stored. Each day brings with it not only the necessity of eating but the renewal of our love of and in God. This may sound like a simple thing, but it is not easy to maintain faith, hope or love in the everyday. I wonder if this is because human pride, and particularly a preoccupation with intellectual, artistic or spiritual matters, can provide a convenient way to ignore our ordinary, daily, bodily needs.

From The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work” by Kathleen Norris (Paulist Press, 1998).
++++++++++ Reflections

He is within me at each moment; He is guiding and inspiring me with what I must say and do.
St Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba Ammonas was asked, 'What is the "narrow and hard way?" (mt. 7.14) He replied, 'The "narrow and hard way" is this, to control your thoughts, and to strip yourself of your own will, for the sake of God. This is also the meaning of the sentence, "Lo, we have left everything and followed you." (Mt. 19.27)

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Being Broken

Jesus was broken on the cross. He lived his suffering and death not as an evil to avoid at all costs, but as a mission to embrace. We too are broken. We live with broken bodies, broken hearts, broken minds or broken spirits. We suffer from broken relationships.

How can we live our brokenness? Jesus invites us to embrace our brokenness as he embraced the cross and live it as part of our mission. He asks us not to reject our brokenness as a curse from God that reminds us of our sinfulness but to accept it and put it under God's blessing for our purification and sanctification. Thus our brokenness can become a gateway to new life.

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

Day Fifteen - The First Way of Service, cont'd

The heart of our prayer is the Eucharist, in which we share with other Christians the renewal of our union with our Lord and Savior in his sacrifice, remembering his death and receiving his spiritual food.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

IN OUR shepherding role to others — as parent, teacher, caregiver, counselor, listening friend — we begin to guide as we have been guided. Our faces and voices will change. The way we listen and respond will change, not through imitation but spontaneously through deep love. “When he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

A powerful way to pray when we find ourselves in a shepherding role would be something like this: “Living Christ, Shepherd of our lives, enfold me in your spirit, speak through my voice, touch through my hands. Give me your listening heart, the power of your silences, the compassion of your words. Let me be transformed and guided by you, even as I am helping to guide others.”

- Flora Slosson Wuellner
Enter by the Gate

From page 33 of Enter by the Gate: Jesus’ 7 Guidelines When Making Hard Choices by Flora Slosson Wuellner. Copyright © 2004 by Flora Slosson Wuellner. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"God Isn't a Twosome Off in a Corner"

A relationship between two people, a true giving and receiving, becomes something that almost stands apart from the persons themselves. They can talk about their relationship. They can let other people in on their relationship and give their relationship to other people. That's precisely what a mother and father should do for their child. Children who receive that gift are the healthiest and most secure children.

I tell young people who are considering life together, "I want you not to hoard your relationship. Give it to the community. Draw others into that space between you, into the way you relate, the enjoyment you have, the experiences you have." Don't always just be a twosome off in the corner.

God isn't a twosome off in the corner. There is enough space between the giving of the Creator and the Redeemer to let all of the cosmos in between, and that's us, the Church. The Church is what's created in the give and take between the Father and the Son. That's the first creed of the Church: The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and we exist in the passion of that exchange. Think about that—forever.

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.

The fountain of life

Osoul devoted to God, whoever you may be, fly with eager longing to this fountain of life and light. With all the strength of your heart cry out to him: "O inexpressible beauty of God most high, pure radiance of eternal life! O light that illumines every other light, and preserves in undying splendor the manifold flames that have shone before the throne of your divinity ever since the primal dawn! O stream eternal and inaccessible, flowing clear and sweet from a spring concealed from mortal eyes. None can sound your abyss nor fathom your depths; your breadth cannot be measured; your purity cannot be sullied. From this spring flows the river which gladdens the city of God, so that with cries of joy and thanksgiving we sing you hymns of praise, and learn by experience that with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we shall see light."

Bonaventure of Bagnoregio

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


"I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians." Romans 1:14

Paul was overwhelmed with the sense of his indebtedness to Jesus Christ, and he spent himself to express it. The great inspiration in Paul's life was his view of Jesus Christ as his spiritual creditor. Do I feel that sense of indebtedness to Christ in regard to every unsaved soul? The spiritual honour of my life as a saint is to fulfil my debt to Christ in relation to them. Every bit of my life that is of value I owe to the Redemption of Jesus Christ; am I doing anything to enable Him to bring His Redemption into actual manifestation in other lives? I can only do it as the Spirit of God works in me this sense of indebtedness.

I am not to be a superior person amongst men, but a bondslave of the Lord Jesus. "Ye are not your own." Paul sold himself to Jesus Christ. He says - I am a debtor to everyone on the face of the earth because of the Gospel of Jesus; I am free to be an absolute slave only. That is the characteristic of the life when once this point of spiritual honour is realized. Quit praying about yourself and be spent for others as the bondslave of Jesus. That is the meaning of being made broken bread and poured out wine in reality.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day


ONLY in our romantic country do you have the romantic thing called weather -- beautiful and changeable as a woman. The great English landscape painters (neglected now, like everything that is English) have this salient distinction, that the weather is not the atmosphere of their pictures it is the subject of their pictures. They paint portraits of the weather. The weather sat to Constable; the weather posed for Turner -- and the deuce of a pose it was. In the English painters the climate is the hero; in the case of Turner a swaggering and fighting hero, melodramatic but magnificent. The tall and terrible protagonist robed in rain, thunder, and sunlight, fills the whole canvas and the whole foreground. Rich colours actually look more luminous on a grey day, because they are seen against a dark background, and seem to be burning with a lustre of their own. Against a dim sky all flowers look like fireworks. There is something strange about them at once vivid and secret, like flowers traced in fire in the grim garden of a witch. A bright blue sky is necessarily the high light in the picture, and its brightness kills all the bright blue flowers. But on a grey day the larkspur looks like fallen heaven; the red daisies are really the lost-red eyes of day, and the sun-flower is the vice-regent of the sun. Lastly, there is this value about the colour that men call colourless that it suggests in some way the mixed and troubled average of existence, especially in its quality of strife and expectation and promise. Grey is a colour that always seems on the eve of changing to some other colour; of brightening into blue, or blanching into white or breaking into green or gold. So we may be perpetually reminded of the indefinite hope that is in doubt itself; and when there is grey weather on our hills or grey hair on our heads perhaps they may still remind us of the morning.

'Daily News.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 36: On the Sick

Before all things and above all things,
care must be taken of the sick,
so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person;
for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me" (Matt 25:36),
and, "What you did for one of these least ones, you did for Me" (Matt.25:40).
But let the sick on their part consider
that they are being served for the honor of God,
and let them not annoy their sisters who are serving them
by their unnecessary demands.
Yet they should be patiently borne with,
because from such as these is gained a more abundant reward.
Therefore the Abbess shall take the greatest care
that they suffer no neglect.

For these sick let there be assigned a special room
and an attendant who is God-fearing, diligent and solicitous.
Let the use of baths be afforded the sick
as often as may be expedient;
but to the healthy, and especially to the young,
let them be granted more rarely.
let the use of meat be granted to the sick who are very weak,
for the restoration of their strength;
but when they are convalescent,
let all abstain from meat as usual.

The Abbess shall take the greatest care
that the sick be not neglected by the cellarers or the attendants;
for she also is responsible for what is done wrongly by her disciples.


The rabbis say, "The purpose of maintaining the body in good health is to make it possible for you to acquire wisdom." Benedictine spirituality is about coming to a sense of the fullness of life. It is not about being self-destructive or living sour lives or dropping down pits of privacy so deep that no other ever dare intrude. Benedictine spirituality never gives up on life even though death is known to be the entry to its everlasting joy. Why? Because, the rabbi shows us, every day we have gives us another chance to become the real persons we are meant to be. Why? Because, the scripture says, to serve the sick is to serve the Christ.

The point for us all, perhaps, is never to give up on life and never to doubt that every bit of kindness, every tender touch we lay upon another in life can heal what might otherwise have died, certainly in them, perhaps even in ourselves.

Care for the sick, in the mind of Benedict, is not a simple warehousing process, though that in itself could have been a great contribution to a society without hospitals. Care for the sick, in Benedictine spirituality, is to be done with faith, with attention and with a care beyond the technical. The infirmarian is to be "concerned." Baths, a very important part of Roman therapy and hygiene in a hot and sticky climate, and red meat, a treat used only rarely in early monastic houses both because of its scarcity and because of its purported relationship to sexual agitation, are both given generously and recklessly. Care of the sick, you see, is done in the name of God and to the person of the suffering Christ. Nothing was too much. Nothing was to be spared. Nothing that could do good was to be called forbidden.

We have to ask ourselves, in a society of technological health care, how much of it we do with faith and lavish attention and depth of soul and a love that drives out repulsion. We have to ask ourselves how willing we are to take a little of our own energy in behalf of those who are no longer the life of the party, the help on the job? How much of our own precious time do we spend on those with little time left?

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

Sunday, July 15, 2007 Tone Six The Holy Fathers of the First Six
Ecumenical Councils
Kellia: Micah 2:1-13 For the Fathers: Epistle: Titus 3:8-15
Gospel: St. Matthew 5:14-19

Weep Not; Rush Forth: Micah 2:1-13 LXX, especially vss. 9, 10: "Draw ye
near to the everlasting mountains. Arise thou, and depart; for this is
not thy rest because of uncleanness." Many in today's world are
unknowing devotees of the idolatrous cult of
technical-solution-solves-all. The worship is widespread: that there
are no difficulties, conflicts, or ills that cannot be removed by
applying problem-solving, invention, testing, and the use of
statistically proved techniques. While advances have been made against
great problems by applying these methods, an honest look at this as an
unquestionable assumption, leads to the uneasy conclusion that great
technical effort has only pushed back little boundaries here or there,
while tough, deadly problems remain.

Speaking of such intractable problems for mankind untouched by technical
solutions, we have, in Micah the Prophet, one who stepped outside the
norms of his age to announce the Lord God's intention that "the leaders
of [his] people shall be cast forth from their luxurious houses....
rejected because of their evil practices" (vs. 9). The eternal God, Who
knows the hearts of every man in every age, clearly stated what is
acceptable to Him. He does not temporize with wrong-doing, but brushes
aside rationalizations and shallow pleas for mercy and relief as Micah

Technical solutions are not going to correct people who meditate
troubles and work wickedness on their beds, and "put it in execution
with the daylight; for they have not lifted up their hands to God" (vs.
1). Instead, in our day, these have, "desired fields, and plundered
orphans, and oppressed families, and spoiled a man and his house, even a
man and his inheritance" (vs. 2). The problem is spiritual, a failure
to lift up hands to God in genuine worship that opens hearts to the
grace of God and transforms behavior. Invented methodologies are not
going to solve such problems, but rather repentance, confession, and
putting "on the new man, that after God is created in righteousness and
true holiness" (Eph. 4:24).

In Micah 2:3-5, the Prophet proclaims that the judgment of God is to
"devise evils" upon those in every generation who will not "turn back"
from their spiritual bankruptcy, gross deeds, and cleverly calculated
methods of amassing material wealth. All this will be used against us -
as when fields are measured by line and lot to establish "accurate"
ownership; for, in fact, all fields and material wealth belong to God.
Of course, when one comes weeping at his losses, God "shall not remove
the reproaches," because they have "provoked the Spirit of the Lord"
(vss. 6,7), even withstanding "Him as an enemy against [their] peace.
The indictment is unnerving!

Even while "this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull
of hearing, and their eyes they have closed," as the Lord Jesus states
(Mt. 13:15), God offers the ancient remedy for which He is well known by
those who will heed the truth: "draw ye near to the everlasting
mountains" (Micah 2:9). What is meant? St. Jerome, says, "They are the which we must take refuge after the abomination of
desolation shall stand in the holy place."

Reliance on human solutions instead of the True Faith to solve mankind's
intractable problems will always fail. The results of doing so
predictably will be ugly and unnerving. Higher wisdom is to quit trying
to solve problems of the heart with technical solutions, even when
rigorous scientific methods are used. The solution to spiritual
problems is God-given: "I will surely receive the remnant of Israel; I
will cause them to return together, as sheep in trouble, as a flock in
the midst of their fold: they shall rush forth from among men through
the breach made before them" (vs. 12). Our "King has gone out before
[us], and the Lord shall lead [us]" (vs. 13).

For our deliverance from all tribulation, wrath, danger and necessity,
help us; save us; have mercy on us and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.



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