Monday, July 30, 2007

30/07/07 Monday in the week of the Ninth 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 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.

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, enkindle in your Church the never-failing gift of love, that, following the example of your servant William Wilberforce, we may have grace to defend the children of the poor, and maintain the cause of those who have no helper; for the sake of him who gave his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 56, 57, [58]; PM Psalm 64, 65
2 Samuel 2:1-11; Acts 15:36-16:5; Mark 6:14-29

From Forward Day by Day:

Acts 15:36-16:5 Paul went on also to Derbe and to Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy.

I attend St. Timothy's Church, so I am drawn to this passage in Acts where Paul meets Timothy. Timothy is almost always described as Paul's "companion." I like that word.

Often in life we feel alone--for whatever reason. But as Christians, we are called to be companions to one another. When I enter St. Timothy's, no matter how isolated I feel, I am surrounded by companions. When I travel, I often attend churches far from home, and I am always welcomed as a companion.

My life is blessed with many companions--my wonderful wife, my children, my family and friends. As a Christian, even during my loneliest times I have a companion--Jesus Christ.

Timothy was a model companion. He accompanied Paul through good times and bad, even following him to prison in Rome. As Christians, we too are called to be faithful companions to one another--to celebrate in joy and to comfort one another in sorrow. The darkest road is lighter when traveled with a companion; let us be that companion to one another and allow Christ to be a companion to us all.

Today we remember:

William Wilberforce:
Psalm 146:4-9 or 112:1-9
Galatians 3:23-29; Matthew 25:31-40

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Newark

Speaking to the Soul:

William Wilberforce

Daily Reading for July 30 • William Wilberforce

Compared with the work of the Quakers, the Salvation Army, or Anglo-Catholic “slum priests” later in the nineteenth century, the Evangelical movement has sometimes been accused of lacking a spirituality of social engagement. This is an unfair generalization. It is true that “action” implied an active spreading of the word of God (evangelism) expressed, for example, in the work of the Church Missionary Society throughout the British Empire. However, for many people action also implied social philanthropy. The former slave trader John Newton, later Rector of St Mary Woolnoth in the City of London, became a notable supporter of William Wilberforce’s campaign to abolish slavery. William Wilberforce (1759-1833) was the leading champion of the abolition of slavery as a result of his evangelical conversion. Wilberforce witnessed to the direct connection between spirituality and social action by beginning each working day with two hours of prayer and Bible reading. Wilberforce became the political leader of the Evangelical movement and on his death this role was taken on by Anthony Cooper, the Earl of Shaftesbury, a leading Conservative parliamentarian and one of the greatest social reformers of the nineteenth century.

From A Brief History of Spirituality by Philip Sheldrake (Blackwell Publishing, 2007).
++++++++++ Reflections

It is God Himself who wishes to be the riches, comfort, and delightful glory of the religious.
St John of the Cross

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba Theodore of Pherme said, 'The man who remains standing when he repents, has not kept the commandment.'

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Two Kinds of Loneliness

In the spiritual life we have to make a distinction between two kinds of loneliness. In the first loneliness, we are out of touch with God and experience ourselves as anxiously looking for someone or something that can give us a sense of belonging, intimacy, and home. The second loneliness comes from an intimacy with God that is deeper and greater than our feelings and thoughts can capture.

We might think of these two kinds of loneliness as two forms of blindness. The first blindness comes from the absence of light, the second from too much light. The first loneliness we must try to outgrow with faith and hope. The second we must be willing to embrace in love.

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

Day Thirty - The Three Notes

The humility, love and joy which mark the lives of Tertiaries are all God given graces. They can never be obtained by human effort. They are gifts of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of Christ is to work miracles through people who are willing to be emptied of self and to surrender to him. We then become channels of grace through whom his mighty work is done.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Love without Limits
July 30th, 2007
Monday’s Reflection

we thank you for your love without limits.
Forgive our bent to turn away from you.
Give us courage to hear your call
and respond to your love.
We ask this in your Son’s name.

- MarLu Primero Scott
The Upper Room Disciplines 2007

From page 223 The Upper Room Disciplines 2007. Copyright © 2006 by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"The Holy Land Looks a Lot Like Home"

(Recorded at Nazareth) The Gospel stories take on a new and beautiful significance as we stand and celebrate in the very spot in which Mary lived and said yes to God. It was within three hundred yards of this spot that Mary and Joseph came to the life of faith that we now have come to participate in. I'm sure as you drive today across these very ordinary-looking hills, these very ordinary-looking villages and people, it must strike you, How could Mary, Joseph, anybody, have thought they were special?

We've idealized this land all our lives. And perhaps one of the great graces of a journey to the Holy Land is in fact to see that it's not only ordinary but perhaps not as pretty as many parts of the world. What makes it beautiful to our eyes is what happened here. As you see these little boys running around Nazareth, as you see young girls walking through these streets and young men in working clothes, it probably was no different in Jesus' time. And yet that woman Mary, that man Joseph, had to believe that they were the special ones of God. And that little boy Jesus who grew up in this town somehow had to dare to believe that he was God's son.

The word that comes to me at this place of the incarnation, this place where Mary said yes and the word became flesh, this place where they grew up in such ordinary circumstances, is a word of extraordinary faith. If they could believe, perhaps we can believe in our very ordinary-looking lives that God could somehow be taking flesh in us.

from On Pilgrimage With Father Richard Rohr

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

The Church is a garden extending over the whole world

Christ became all things in order to restore all of us in himself. The man Christ received the mustard seed which represents the kingdom of God; as man he received it, though as God he had always possessed it. He sowed it in his garden, that is in his bride, the Church. The Church is a garden extending over the whole world, tilled by the plough of the gospel, fenced in by stakes of doctrine and discipline, cleared of every harmful weed by the labor of the apostles, fragrant and lovely with perennial flowers: virgins' lilies and martyrs' roses, set amid the pleasant verdure of all who bear witness to Christ and the tender plants of all who have faith in him.

Such then is the mustard seed which Christ sowed in his garden. When he promised a kingdom to the patriarchs the seed took root in them; with the prophets it sprang up, with the apostles it grew tall, in the Church it became a great tree putting forth innumerable branches laden with gifts. And now you too must take the wings of the psalmist's dove, gleaming gold in the rays of divine sunlight, and fly to reap for ever among those sturdy, fruitful branches. No snares are set to trap you there; fly off, then, with confidence and dwell securely in its shelter.

Peter Chrysologus

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


"Jesus did not commit Himself unto them for He knew what was in man." John 2:24-25

Disillusionment means that there are no more false judgments in life. To be undeceived by disillusionment may leave us cynical and unkindly severe in our judgment of others, but the disillusionment which comes from God brings us to the place where we see men and women as they really are, and yet there is no cynicism, we have no stinging, bitter things to say. Many of the cruel things in life spring from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as facts; we are true only to our ideas of one another. Everything is either delightful and fine, or mean and dastardly, according to our idea.

The refusal to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering in human life. It works in this way - if we love a human being and do not love God, we demand of him every perfection and every rectitude, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; we are demanding of a human being that which he or she cannot give. There is only one Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Why Our Lord is apparently so severe regarding every human relationship is because He knows that every relationship not based on loyalty to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no man, yet He was never suspicious, never bitter. Our Lord's confidence in God and in what His grace could do for any man, was so perfect that He despaired of no one. If our trust is placed in human beings, we shall end in despairing of everyone.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

THE authority of priests to absolve, the authority of popes to define, the authority even of inquisitors to terrify: these were all only dark defences erected round one central authority, more undemonstrable, more supernatural than all the authority of a man to think. We know now that this is so; we have no excuse for not knowing it. For we can hear scepticism crashing through the old ring of authorities, and at the same moment we can see reason swaying upon her throne.


Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

On Sundays, let all occupy themselves in reading,
except those who have been appointed to various duties.
But if anyone should be so negligent and shiftless
that she will not or cannot study or read,
let her be given some work to do
so that she will not be idle.

Weak or sickly sisters should be assigned a task or craft
of such a nature as to keep them from idleness
and at the same time not to overburden them or drive them away
with excessive toil.
Their weakness must be taken into consideration by the Abbess.

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

Monday, July 30,
2007 The
Venerable Angelina of Serbia
Kellia: 1 Maccabees 1:1-15 Epistle: 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
Gospel: St. Matthew 21:18-22

The Seleucids I ~ Cultural Aggression: 1 Maccabees 1:1-15 LXX,
especially vs. 11: "In those days went there out of Israel wicked men,
who persuaded many, saying, Let us go and make a covenant with the
heathen that are round about us." Today, we begin a course reading
through the first four chapters of First Maccabees, a record of the
struggle of the ancient People of God to maintain their
Divinely-revealed faith and worship in purity during the time of the
Seleucid King, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC). During his reign,
he instituted a vicious repression of Judaism (167 BC), and a revolt
ensued, touched off by the martyrdom of seven brothers, their mother,
Solomona, and the Scribe Eleazar (see 2 Maccabees 6, 7 as well as 4

The opening verses provide a preface to this time of antipathetical
Hellenism in Palestine, an era for which the conquests of Alexander the
Great in 333 BC set the stage. The kings of the Seleucid dynasty
reigned after the writing of the Hebrew Old Testament, the last books of
which were penned when the Persians ruled Palestine - after they
defeated the Babylonians in 539 BC. Persian policy supported the Jews'
return to the Holy Land, the restoration of the Temple, and the
rebuilding of Jerusalem, which deepened Jewish piety and worship.

Understand that the text refers to the start of a Greek cultural epoch.
The defeat of Darius III, "king of the Persians and the Medes" (vs. 1),
was the result of a series of brilliant military campaigns conducted by
Alexander the Macedonian. First, in 336 BC, he united the Greek cities
under him. Then in 334, he crossed the Hellespont into Asia with 30,000
to 40,000 troops. In 333, at the battle at Issis - where the south
coast of Anatolia ends in the east coast of the Mediterranean, Alexander
routed the huge army of Darius. In the next two years he conquered
Darius' province of Egypt, twice crossing Palestine, first south and
then north.

Alexander's next campaigns, in fact, were a pursuit of Darius across
what is now northern Syria and Iraq all the way to the Tigris river. He
then swept north and south through the Persian heartland (modern day
Iran) during 331 and 330 until Darius was assassinated by his own
nobles. Afterwards, Alexander continued his conquests into the Kabul
valley (modern Afghanistan), taking four years to destroy the remnants
of the Persian forces and some hill tribes. At last he followed the
Indus river south through what is now Pakistan to the sea (near modern

Alexander "plundered many nations" and "the earth became quiet before
him" (vs. 3). However, while retracing his steps, he died suddenly of
fever at Babylon, but not before dividing "his kingdom among [his
generals] while he was still alive" (vss. 6,7). To one of these
generals, Seleucus, fell the region including the Mesopotamian valley,
Syria, southern Turkey, Lebanon, and Palestine. The infamous Antiochus
IV Epiphanes (175-169 BC), whom the text calls "a sinful root"(vs. 10),
was a descendant of this Seleucus. Antiochus IV's father, Antiochus
III, was defeated by the Romans in 190 BC for sheltering Hannibal, the
Carthaginian, and for invading Greece, at which time the Romans took
Antiochus IV as a hostage (vs. 10).
Later still, the Romans permitted Antiochus IV to assume reign of his
kingdom. He then aggressively promoted Greek culture and religion. In
Judea his actions deeply divided the Jews (vss. 11-15). The gymnasium
mentioned in the text (vs. 14) was a planned part of a policy to end
Jewish separatism. Also, Antiochus plundered the Jewish Temple, ended
sacrifices and Sabbath observations, destroyed copies of the Law, and
required Jews to participate in pagan festivals. Some Jews actually
abandoned "the holy covenant [and] joined with the Gentiles" (vs. 15); yet.

Thy Martyrs, O Lord, have received imperishable crowns and crushed the
powerless might of Satan. Through their intercessions, O Christ our
God, save our souls.



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