Sunday, July 29, 2007

29/07/07 Ninth Sunday after Pentecost



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, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; 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 24, 29; PM Psalm 8, 84
2 Samuel 1:17-27; Rom. 12:9-21; Matt. 25:31-46

From Forward Day by Day:

Luke 11:1-13. Ask, and it will be given you.

My wife and I had walked twelve miles up and down rugged English countryside. We were on a four-day, fifty-mile walk to Canterbury Cathedral. We stumbled into a village to find the pub closed. Our water bottles were empty and we were limp with thirst. We still had four miles to go that afternoon.

Unsure what to do, I headed down the road in search of a shop. I found the village church. There, a woman arranging flowers took one look at me and asked, "Are you a pilgrim?" I was not the first to walk the road to Canterbury. Soon, I was in her kitchen, filling our water bottles. Never has water tasted so good; never had we appreciated a gift so much.

Jesus tells us that if we ask for something, it will be given to us, and while we know that not every prayer is answered in the way we expect, those moments when Christians give us what we need touch us deeply.

Finding those moments can mean trusting others, putting ourselves in situations we can't control. By allowing ourselves to be foot-weary pilgrims in a foreign land, my wife and I opened our lives to acts of Christian kindness we might otherwise never have known. May we, too, fulfill the needs of thirsty pilgrims.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Rhode Island

Speaking to the Soul:

Eucharistic fellowship

Daily Reading for July 28

Just as this Eucharistic action is the pattern of all Christian action, the sharing of this Bread the sign of the sharing of all bread, so this Fellowship is the germ of all society renewed in Christ.

From On Being the Church in the World by John A. T. Robinson (SCM, 1974).
++++++++++ Reflections

In this temple of God, in this Mansion of His, He and the soul alone have fruition of each other in the deepest silence.

St Teresa of Jesus
Interior Castle, III.3

Reading from the Desert Christians

A brother came to Abba Theodore and began to converse with him about things which he had never yet put into practice. So the old man said to him, 'You have not yet found a ship nor put your cargo aboard it and before you have sailed, you have already arrived at the city. Do the work first; then you will have the speed you are making now.'

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)
Spiritual Dryness

Sometimes we experience a terrible dryness in our spiritual life. We feel no desire to pray, don't experience God's presence, get bored with worship services, and even think that everything we ever believed about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is little more than a childhood fairy tale.

Then it is important to realise that most of these feelings and thoughts are just feelings and thoughts, and that the Spirit of God dwells beyond our feelings and thoughts. It is a great grace to be able to experience God's presence in our feelings and thoughts, but when we don't, it does not mean that God is absent. It often means that God is calling us to a greater faithfulness. It is precisely in times of spiritual dryness that we must hold on to our spiritual discipline so that we can grow into new intimacy with God.

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

Day Twenty Nine - The Third Note, cont'd

This joy is a divine gift, coming from union with God in Christ. It is still there even in times of darkness and difficulty, giving cheerful courage in the face of disappointment, and an inward serenity and confidence through sickness and suffering. Those who possess it can rejoice in weakness, insults, hardship, and persecutions for Christ's sake; for when we are weak, then we are strong.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Vital Attentiveness
July 29th, 2007
Sunday’s Reflection

IN OUR CROWDED and distracted days, one of the ancient paths to deepening communion with God is attentiveness. … This vital attentiveness is nourished … by love. It is reflected in the attention a young mother and father lavish upon their newborn infant, the finely honed appreciation shared by longtime friends, the alert care of an adult child at the bedside of a frail parent. Love pierces the fog of suspended animation that often surrounds us, and brings us to greater consciousness of God’s presence in what we are seeing and hearing.

- John S. Mogabgab
Weavings Journal

From “Editor’s Introduction” in Weavings Journal, July/August 2002. Copyright © 2002 by The Upper Room. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"To Be Biblical"

To be biblical is not simply to quote the Bible. We need to tell that to the fundamentalists. To be biblical is not to quote Moses; it's to do what Moses did. To be biblical is to do what Abraham did; it's not it's not to quote the Abraham story. It's to do what Jesus did; it's not to simply quote Jesus. Christians are to be in touch with the same God Jesus was in touch with, the same wisdom tradition Jesus drew insight from. We are to be building that same unity and creating the same life that Jesus was creating and building. That's what it means to be biblical.

I don't see Moses quoting the Bible. I don't see Jesus quoting the Bible as much as pointing to reality. That's exactly why the people said, "He's not like the scribes and Pharisees" (Mark 1:22). He "teaches with authority" (Mark 1:27). But he didn't do that by justifying everything he said with a Bible quote, which proves only a lack of authority, the inner authority of truth.

The Bible is that two thousand-year graph of "listening history" that helps us guide ourselves into the future. It reveals and names the patterns that connect all things, the rhythms and seasons of faith. Jesus read reality, listened to God, gathered the tradition and then spoke truth. Now if we're truly Catholic, it seems to me that's what we've got to aim for: to be biblical by gathering the wisdom of the ages. I'm not trying to take away the authority of this book but to ground it. Its reference point is outside itself.

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.


You, Martha, if I may say so, are blessed for your good service, and for your labors you seek the reward of peace. Now you are much occupied in nourishing the body, admittedly a holy one. But when you come to the heavenly homeland will you find a traveler to welcome, someone hungry to feed, or thirsty to whom you may give drink, someone ill whom you could visit, or quarreling whom you could reconcile, or dead whom you could bury?

No, there will be none of these tasks there. What you will find there is what Mary chose. There we shall not feed others, we ourselves shall be fed. Thus what Mary chose in this life will be realized there in all its fullness; she was gathering fragments from that rich banquet, the Word of God. Do you wish to know what we will have there? The Lord himself tells us when he says of his servants, Amen, I say to you, he will make them recline and passing he will serve them.

Augustine of Hippo

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


"Behold, He cometh with clouds." Revelation 1:7

In the Bible clouds are always connected with God. Clouds are those sorrows or sufferings or providences, within or without our personal lives, which seem to dispute the rule of God. It is by those very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were no clouds, we should have no faith. "The clouds are but the dust of our Father's feet." The clouds are a sign that He is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow and bereavement and suffering are the clouds that come along with God! God cannot come near without clouds, He does not come in clear shining.

It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials: through every cloud He brings, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in the cloud is to simplify our belief until our relationship to Him is exactly that of a child - God and my own soul, other people are shadows. Until other people become shadows, clouds and darkness will be mine every now and again. Is the relationship between myself and God getting simpler than ever it has been?

There is a connection between the strange providences of God and what we know of Him, and we have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of God. Unless we can look the darkest, blackest fact full in the face without damaging God's character, we do not yet know Him.

"They feared as they entered the cloud . . ." - Is there anyone "save Jesus only" in your cloud? If so, it will get darker; you must get to the place where there is "no one any more save Jesus only."

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

ONE of the deepest and strangest of all human moods is the mood which will suddenly strike us perhaps in a garden at night, or deep in sloping meadows, the feeling that every flower and leaf has just uttered something stupendously direct and important, and that we have by a prodigy of imbecility not heard or understood it. There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic ignorance.

'Robert Browning.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

From the Calends of October until the beginning of Lent,
let them apply themselves to reading
up to the end of the second hour.

At the second hour let Terce be said,
and then let all labor at the work assigned them until None.
At the first signal for the Hour of None
let everyone break off from her work,
and hold herself ready for the sounding of the second signal.
After the meal
let them apply themselves to their reading or to the Psalms.

On the days of Lent,
from morning until the end of the third hour
let them apply themselves to their reading,
and from then until the end of the tenth hour
let them do the work assigned them.
And in these days of Lent
they shall each receive a book from the library,
which they shall read straight through from the beginning.
These books are to be given out at the beginning of Lent.

But certainly one or two of the seniors should be deputed
to go about the monastery
at the hours when the sisters are occupied in reading
and see that there be no lazy sister
who spends her time in idleness or gossip
and does not apply herself to the reading,
so that she is not only unprofitable to herself
but also distracts others.
If such a one be found (which God forbid),
let her be corrected once and a second time;
if she does not amend,
let her undergo the punishment of the Rule
in such a way that the rest may take warning.

Moreover, one sister shall not associate with another
at inappropriate times.


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

Sunday, July 29, 2007 Tone
8 Theodosios, the Pious Emperor
Kellia: 1 Kings 17:57-18:9 LXX Epistle: 1 Corinthians 3:9-17 Gospel:
St. Matthew 14:22-34

David and Goliath ~ Detachment: 1 Kings 17:57-18:9 LXX, especially vs.
17:57: "And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine,
Abner took him and brought him in before Saul, and the head of the
Philistine was in his hand." When a man chooses to submit to the Lord
Jesus Christ without question, waves of temptations begin. They come
and invite him to answer the call of old ties or even to return to ways
of the past that stifle the Life in Christ. For converts to Orthodoxy,
the first bloom of joy that comes with receiving the Holy Mysteries of
Christ is certain to diminish emotionally. Hopefully, it will be
followed by rejecting the appeal of past ties and determining to remain
steadfastly obedient to our Lord as King and God. For those raised in
the Faith, the bloom and joy of being Orthodox may rise and fall at
different times in the Life in Christ. The question is the same - to
compromise our Orthodoxy or to remain faithful. In truth the dilemma of
loyalty - of union or detachment - is a crucial issue for every servant
of God.

When the young shepherd David obeyed the call of the Lord, he was
faithful to his union with God as a member of ancient Israel. He did
not come to the battle line intending to detach from home, family, and
the shepherd's life; but, being appalled at Goliath defying "the army of
the living God" (1 Kngs. 17:26), he freely chose to enter into combat.
Doubtless he did not foresee what the impact his victory over the giant
would mean for him personally; but at each step that followed, he obeyed
God and detached from his former ties and way of life. Similarly, a day
comes for each Orthodox Christian to attack some giant appeal to leave
the Faith or to "enter into combat" as a true servant of the Master.
Obedience to Christ changes lives.

See the young David, fresh from his encounter with Goliath: lately a
shepherd, now he is met by the Commander-in-Chief of the King's army.
Abner brings him "in before Saul" (1 Kings 17:57)! Evidence that David
is a warrior of the Lord is in his hand. He does not demur, beg to
return home, or excuse himself. He follows the Commander into the
King's presence. Thus, each Orthodox Christian must come freely before
Christ our King after renouncing (detaching from) Satan - yes, and even
spitting on him. Would you go back from your Savior?

The King himself asks David, "Whose son art thou, young man?" (vs. 58).
David answers politely and also indicates that his father, Jesse, like
David himself, is a servant of the King (vs. 58). For those raised as
Orthodox Christians, their parents and grandparents are pleasing to the
Lord, but do not answer for us when we stand before our royal Master.
The decision to serve and follow is each servant's choice - to detach,
even from family if necessary. As the Lord Jesus says, "He that loveth
father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and....he that taketh
not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of Me" (Mt. 10,

The bond that springs up spontaneously between David and Jonathan, the
warrior son of King Saul, is expressed by the investing of Jonathan's
military dress and weapons on David (1Kngs. 18:3,4). David is steadily
leaving all and following the path to which the Lord calls him.
Becoming Orthodox is a life-long process of accepting new duties,
"family" ties, and friendships. Let each of us ask, Is our union with
Christ steadily creating more detachments?

Notice: "David went out withersoever Saul sent him, and acted wisely"
(vs. 5). And his success was built upon rigorous obedience (vs. 5).
Furthermore, the new commander in Saul's army was not drawn from his
duties by the adulation of the women (vss. 6-7), even when "Saul eyed
David" in jealousy (vs. 9). Let us always remain faithful no matter how
others suspect us!

May I ever remember Thy grace and live not unto myself but unto Thee,
our Master and Benefactor, that when this life is ended, I may behold
the ineffable beauty of Thy face.



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