Monday, July 23, 2007

23/07/07 Monday in the week of the Eighth 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, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Almighty God, whose blessed Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of body and of mind, and called her to be a witness of his resurrection: Mercifully grant that by your grace we may be healed from all our infirmities and know you in the power of his unending life; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 41, 52; PM Psalm 44
1 Samuel 24:1-22; Acts 13:44-52; Mark 4:1-20

From Forward Day by Day:

2 Corinthians 5:14-18. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view.

Our world is filled with judges. Television depicts real and fictional courtroom dramas where judges decide the fates of the accused. Reality shows end with judges voting off contestants. How often do you receive a survey in the mail or over the phone asking you to judge a product, business, or political candidate? Judgment is all around us, and the easiest people to judge are those who harm us.

Saul had every intention of killing David, and David knew it. When Saul entered a cave in which David was hiding, David had the perfect opportunity to kill Saul, but he didn't. "May the Lord judge between me and you!" said David. How many of us could have done the same?

We are seldom in such life or death situations, but in our daily lives we constantly judge those around us. We condemn their opinions, their choices, their lifestyles, and we often do this without knowing much about them.

Jesus said, "Judge not." He understood our instinct to put ourselves above others by judging them. But judging is God's business; loving and accepting others for who they are is ours.

Today we remember:

Mary Magdalene: (Transferred from Sunday)
AM Psalm 116; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Mark 15:37-16:7
PM: Psalm 30, 149; Exodus 15:19-21; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7


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

Speaking to the Soul:

Daily Reading for July 23 • St. Mary Magdalene

Having said all this, Mary became silent, for it was in silence that the Teacher spoke to her. Then Andrew began to speak, and said to his brothers: “Tell me, what do you think of these things she has been telling us? As for me, I do not believe that the Teacher would speak like this. These ideas are too different from those we have known.” And Peter added: “How is it possible that the Teacher talked in this manner with a woman about secrets of which we ourselves are ignorant? Must we change our customs, and listen to this woman? Did he really choose her, and prefer her to us?”

Then Mary wept, and answered him: “My brother Peter, what can you be thinking? Do you believe that this is just my own imagination, that I invented this vision? Or do you believe that I would lie about our Teacher?”

At this, Levi spoke up: “Peter, you have always been hot-tempered, and now we see you repudiating a woman, just as our adversaries do. Yet if the Teacher held her worthy, who are you to reject her? Surely the Teacher knew her very well, for he loved her more than us. Therefore let us atone, and become fully human [Anthropos], so that the Teacher can take root in us. Let us grow as he demanded of us, and walk forth to spread the gospel, without trying to lay down any rules and laws other than those he witnessed.” When Levi had said these words, they all went forth to spread the gospel.

From The Gospel of Mary Magdelene. Translation from the Coptic and Commentary by Jean-Yves Leloup (Inner Traditions, 2002).
++++++++++ Reflections

Imitate Our Lady and consider how great she must be and what a good thing it is that we have her for our Patroness.
St Teresa of Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba Elias, the minister, said, 'What can sin do where there is penitence? And of what use is love where there is pride?'

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

What We Feel Is Not Who We Are

Our emotional lives move up and down constantly. Sometimes we experience great mood: swings from excitement to depression, from joy to sorrow, from inner harmony to inner chaos. A little event, a word from someone, a disappointment in work, many things can trigger such mood swings. Mostly we have little control over these changes. It seems that they happen to us rather than being created by us.

Thus it is important to know that our emotional life is not the same as our spiritual life. Our spiritual life is the life of the Spirit of God within us. As we feel our emotions shift we must connect our spirits with the Spirit of God and remind ourselves that what we feel is not who we are. We are and remain, whatever our moods, God's beloved children.

The Merton Reflection for the Week of July 23, 2007

"It is sometimes discouraging to see how small the Christian peace movement is, and especially here in America where it is most necessary. But we have to remember that this is the usual pattern, and the Bible has led us to expect it. Spiritual work is done with disproportionately small and feeble instruments. And now above all when everything is so utterly complex, and when people collapse under the burden of confusions and cease to think at all, it is natural that few may want to take on the burden of trying to effect something in the moral and spiritual way, in political action. Yet this is precisely what has to be done.

T]he great danger is that under the pressure of anxiety and fear, the alternation of crisis and relaxation and new crisis, the people of the world will come to accept gradually the idea of war, the idea of submission to total power, and the abdication of reason, spirit and individual conscience. The great peril of the cold war is the progressive deadening of conscience.

Thomas Merton. "Letter to Jean and Hildegard Goss-Mayer." The Hidden Ground of Love. Letters, Volume 1. William H. Shannon. editor. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1985: 325-326

Thought to Remember

"It is the feast of St. Hilary [January 14], Doctor of the Church, who said: "The best way to solve the problem of rendering to Caesar what is Caesar's is to have nothing that is Caesar's."

The Hidden Ground of Love: 337

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

Day Twenty Three - The First Note, cont'd

Humility confesses that we have nothing that we have not received and admits the fact of our insufficiency and our dependence upon God. It is the basis of all Christian virtues. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said, "No spiritual house can stand for a moment except on the foundation of humility." It is the first condition of a joyful life within any community.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Restore Us Again
July 23rd, 2007
Monday’s Reflection

IN MUTED WHISPERS we articulate our hope;
Restore us again, O God of our salvation.
With mounting anticipation we prepare for your coming;
Revive us again, that we may rejoice in you.
Amidst rising hopes we turn to you, O God,
Show us your steadfast love.
Lord, let us hear now your words to us;
Speak peace to your people.
Faithful One, prepare our hearts to receive your joy;
The joyful kiss of righteousness and peace.

- Bill Treadway
Alive Now

From page 33 of Alive Now, November/December 1999. Copyright © 1999 by The Upper Room. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"The Church in America"

The overriding gift of the Catholic Church in America is that it is honestly in search of authentic spiritual authority. That may seem rather strange for a people who want to consider themselves free-thinking, self-determined and highly democratic people. And yet that is probably the very reason we are on such a desperate search. Our very individualism has given us a profound need for Someone else to trust. Our self-centered lifestyles drive us back to a center which is in fact the Center. Our freedom from kings, popes and dictators leaves us free to desire a worthy Lordship.

Maybe we say it differently than the past tradition would have, but we would not fuss and bother with all of these miters and tiaras if we did not deeply desire a true spiritual authority that could truly unite us around common values, virtues and common good. Obviously and rightly it is a longing for God. Our fierce independence and healthy mistrust of authority for its own sake put our American Church into a position to help the universal Church uncover and trust real spiritual authority. That authority is based in inherent truth and radical gospel – instead of limited appeals to right, power philosophy and parental put-downs like, "Because I said so, that's why!"

The spiritual authority that the Church in America seeks is pragmatic authority that achieves its purpose. We cannot trust authority that claims to speak for God but does not achieve spiritual ends: Does it heal, forgive, reconcile, mend, restore, renew, enliven, awaken, integrate and validate the deepest human intuitions? Does it renew marriage relationships, does it reconcile countries, does it fill people with real hope and tangible joy? Is it an authority that is capable of self-criticism and seeking Kingdom values beyond self-congratulation and self-preservation? If not, I see no reason why I should trust it or surrender my only life to it.

As Jesus clearly taught us, we could distinguish the true and false prophets by one simple criterion: their fruits. The American Catholic is too independent, honest and commonsense to bow before ascribed and acquired authority when it is not also real authority.

And what is real authority? Leadership (and I do believe in the right and necessity of leadership!) and membership both owe one another holiness. That is the full authority of the Body of Christ.

from "The Future of the American Church"

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

Humility and charity

To what place are we to follow Christ if not where he has already gone? We know that he has risen and ascended into heaven: there, then, we must follow him. There is no cause for despair—by ourselves we can do nothing, but we have Christ's promise. Heaven was beyond our reach before our Head ascended there, but now, if we are his members, whey should we despair of arriving there ourselves? Is there any reason? True, many fears and afflictions confront us in this world; but if we follow Christ, we shall reach a place of perfect happiness, perfect peace, and everlasting freedom from fear.

Let me warn anyone bent on following Christ to listen to Saint Paul: One who claims to abide in Christ ought to walk as he walked. Would you follow Christ? Then be humble as he was humble; do not scorn his lowliness if you want to reach his exaltation. Human sin made the road rough but Christ's resurrection leveled it; by passing over it himself he transformed the narrowest of tracks into a royal highway.

Two feet are needed to run along this highway; they are humility and charity. Everyone wants to get to the top—well, the first step to take is humility. Why take strides that are too big for you—do you want to fall instead of going up? Begin with the first step, humility, and you will already be climbing.

Caesarius of Arles

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


"Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us . . . sanctification." 1 Corinthians 1:30

The Life Side. The mystery of sanctification is that the perfections of Jesus Christ are imparted to me, not gradually, but instantly when by faith I enter into the realization that Jesus Christ is made unto me sanctification. Sanctification does not mean anything less than the holiness of Jesus being made mine manifestly.

The one marvellous secret of a holy life lies not in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfections of Jesus manifest themselves in my mortal flesh. Sanctification is "Christ in you." It is His wonderful life that is imparted to me in sanctification, and imparted by faith as a sovereign gift of God's grace. Am I willing for God to make sanctification as real in me as it is in His word?

Sanctification means the impartation of the Holy qualities of Jesus Christ. It is His patience, His love, His holiness, His faith, His purity, His godliness, that is manifested in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy; it is drawing from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him, and He manifests it in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. Imitation is on a different line. In Jesus Christ is the perfection of everything, and the mystery of sanctification is that all the perfections of Jesus are at my disposal, and slowly and surely I begin to live a life of ineffable order and sanity and holiness: "Kept by the power of God."

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

NO two ideals could be more opposite than a Christian saint in a Gothic cathedral and a Buddhist saint in a Chinese temple. The opposition exists at every point; but perhaps the shortest statement of it is that the Buddhist saint always has his eyes shut, while the Christian saint always has them very wide open. The Buddhist saint always has a very sleek and harmonious body, but his eyes are heavy and sealed with sleep. The medieval saint's body is wasted to its crazy bones, but his eyes are frightfully alive. There cannot be any real community of spirit between forces that produced symbols so different as that. Granted that both images are extravagances, are perversions of the pure creed, it must be a real divergence which could produce such opposite extravagances. The Buddhist is looking with peculiar intentness inwards. The Christian is staring with a frantic intentness outwards.


Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 43: On Those Who Come Late to the Work of God or to Table

Anyone who does not come to table before the verse,
so that all together may say the verse and the oration
and all sit down to table at the same time --
anyone who
through his own carelessness or bad habit
does not come on time
shall be corrected for this up to the second time.
If then he does not amend,
he shall not be allowed to share in the common table,
but shall be separated from the company of all
and made to eat alone,
and his portion of wine shall be taken away from him,
until he has made satisfaction and has amended.
And let him suffer a like penalty who is not present
at the verse said after the meal.

And let no one presume
to take any food or drink
before or after the appointed time.
But if anyone is offered something by the superior
and refuses to take it,
then when the time comes
that he desires what he formerly refused
or something else,
let him receive nothing whatever
until he has made proper satisfaction.


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

Monday, July 23,
The Holy Prophet Ezekiel
2nd Vespers - Elijah: 3 Kings 18:41-19:3
Epistle: 1 Corinthians
Gospel: St. Matthew 18:1-11

Faith: 3 Kings 18:41-19:3 LXX, especially vs. 41: "And Elijah said to
Ahab, Go up, and eat and drink, for there is a sound of the coming of
rain." We disdain the commandments of God at great peril to life, limb,
and our heart's well-being. Holy Scripture records that Ahab did yet
more abominably provoke the Lord God of Israel, and sin against his own
life so that he should be destroyed: "he did evil above all the kings of
Israel that were before him." (3 Kngs. 16:30). Still, the Lord permits
us to perceive what was plain to His servant, Elijah. The Prophet knew
that the king's marriage to Jezebel unequally yoked the monarch, as well
as the people, to a committed pagan (3 Kngs. 16:31; 2 Cor. 6:14). The
king's worship of Baal affronted the true Lord Who gives life to all
(Ex. 20:3,4). What the king ignored in building a temple for Baal in
the nation's capital, Elijah discerned as certain disaster for the
kingdom (3 Kngs. 16:33).

Elijah, however, was a man of great faith. He took God at His word and
lived his life in close communion with the Lord. Therefore, God put the
power of a prolonged drought and famine solely in Elijah's hands as a
warning to the king and the nation (3 Kngs. 17:1). Later, the Lord
dramatically affirmed His trust in His Prophet before the people on
Mount Carmel (3 Kngs. 18:20-39), an event that precipitated the
execution of the prophets of the cult of Baal (3 Kngs. 18:40). It was
at that point that the great Prophet said to Ahab, "Go up, and eat and
drink, for there is a sound of the coming of rain" (3 Kngs. 18:41). At
that moment Elijah knew that the drought was coming to an end, though
there was no cloud visible in the sky (vs. 43).

What is "great faith," this inward grace so plainly evident in the
person of Elijah? Surely, it is knowing God, and waiting for God, and,
above all, having the hand of God upon one's self (vs. 46). Without
question, Elijah knew God, but let us be careful to understand
"knowing". The Prophet had a living relationship with the Lord. We
must not understand by these words that he knew a great deal about God.
Rather, he knew the Lord, person to Person. Hence, the Lord could speak
to him, and Elijah received the "word of the Lord" (3 Kngs. 18:1). How
can a man receive the word of the Lord? It is because he "stands
before" the Lord (3 Kngs. 17:1).

Now we ask, How is it that anyone 'knows' another person? Is it not by
spending time with the other, conversing, and thus coming to know the
heart and mind of the other? Knowing God is similar. Think of what is
implied in the little reference of Elijah to his life with God, "the
Lord God lives, before Whom I stand" (3 Kngs. 17:1). Many days of inner
struggle and prayer are embedded in that phrase. Many of the ascetic
Fathers such as St. Isaac the Syrian speak of such inner work: "The
ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within you, and is found in
your own soul. Dive into yourself and in your soul you will discover
the rungs by which to ascend." God is there and present. Let us
struggle to stand before Him, to be present with Him.

Great faith also entails waiting for the Lord, for God acts in His good
time, when He is ready. Elijah did not go to Ahab until "many days" had
passed and until the "word of the Lord came"(3 Kngs. 18:1). After the
defeat of the priests of Baal, Elijah "bowed himself down upon the
earth" and waited for God, waited in faith (3 Kngs. 18:42). Then the
cloud came (vs. 44).

When one knows God and is content to wait for Him, God empowers such a
person with great faith. It is fair to say of such a person that "the
hand of the Lord" is upon him. In such a state, a man is able to run
before those of little or no faith, even as Elijah ran the seventeen
miles from Mount Carmel to Jezreel ahead of Ahab's chariot (vs. 46).

O Lord Thou art become my helper; in the shelter of Thy wings will I
rejoice. My soul hath cleaved after Thee, Thy right hand hath been
quick to help me. (Ps. 62:7,8 LXX)



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