Tuesday, July 31, 2007

31/07/07 Tuesday 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.

O God, by whose grace your servant Ignatius, enkindled with the fire of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 61, 62; PM Psalm 68:1-20(21-23)24-36
2 Samuel 3:6-21; Acts 16:6-15; Mark 6:30-46

From Forward Day by Day:

Mark 6:30-46. They were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

After Jesus spent several hours teaching a crowd, the time came to eat. The disciples gave Jesus five loaves and two fish, and with these he fed the crowd of 5,000. It was a concrete miracle we can all understand--who, after all, has never been hungry?

But something more important happened to that crowd than a miraculous dinner. There is a prayer at the end of the eucharist in which we thank God for feeding us with "spiritual food." Anyone in that crowd of 5,000 could have made it through the evening without dinner. The bread and fish did not change their lives. Being taught by Jesus, however, transformed them. It gave them spiritual food that would last far longer than a single evening.

Christ may not always perform concrete miracles in our lives. Our prayers for healing or comfort, for food or safety may not always be answered. But even though there may not always be enough bread to go around, there is enough spiritual food for all. God has given us his word, his covenant, and his Son. If we accept him, we will never be hungry.

Today we remember:

Ignatius of Loyola
Psalm 34:1-8
1 Corinthians 10:31 - 11:1; Luke 9:57-62

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

Speaking to the Soul:

Ignatius of Loyola

Daily Reading for July 31 • Ignatius of Loyola

The Spiritual Exercises is one of the most influential spiritual texts of all times. Despite their Reformation origins they are nowadays used as a medium for spiritual guidance and retreats among an ecumenical spectrum of Christians. The text is not intended to be inspirational but is a series of practical notes for a retreat-guide that suggest how to vary the process according to the needs of each person. The ideal is a month away from normal pressures but a modified form “in the midst of daily life” is allowed. Much of the text consists of advice about the structure and content of prayer periods, guidance about spiritual discernment and making a choice of life, and helpful hints about practical matters such as the physical environment for prayer, moderate use of penance, rules about eating, and about scruples.

The explicit aim of the Spiritual Exercises is to assist a person to grow in spiritual freedom in order to respond to the call of Christ. From the Exercises, it is possible to detect fundamental features of Ignatian spirituality. First, God is encountered above all in the practices of everyday life which themselves become a “spiritual exercise.” Second, the life and death of Jesus Christ is offered as the fundamental pattern for Christian life. Third, the God revealed in Christ offers healing, liberation, and hope. Fourth, spirituality is not so much a matter of asceticism as a matter of a deepening desire for God (“desire” is a frequent word in the text) and experience of God’s acceptance in return. The theme of “finding God in all things” suggests a growing integration of contemplation and action. The notion of following the pattern of Jesus Christ focuses on an active sharing in God’s mission to the world—not least in serving people in need. Finally, at the heart of everything is the gift of spiritual discernment—an increasing ability to judge wisely and to choose well in ways that are congruent with a person’s deepest truth.

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

> Deliver me, O Jesus
> from the desire of being loved
> from the desire of being extolled
> from the desire of being praised
> from the desire of being preferred
> from the desire of being consulted
> from the desire of being approved
> from the desire of being popular
> from the fear of being humiliated
> rom the fear of being despised
> from the fear of suffering rebuked
> from the fear of being calumniated
> from the fear of being forgotten
> from the fear of being wronged
> from the fear of being ridiculed
> from the fear of being suspected
> That others may be loved more than I,
> Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.
> That others may be esteemed more than I
> That in the opinion of the world,
> others may increase and I may decrease
> That others may be chosen, and I set aside
> that others may be praised, and I unnoticed
> that others may be preferred to me in everything
> That others may become holier than I,
> provided that I may become as holy as
> I should.

Mother Theresa

Reading from the Desert Christians

The same Abba Theophilus, the archbishop, came to Scetis one day. The brethren who were assembled said to Abba Pambo, 'Say something to the Archbishop, so that he may be edified.' The old man said to them, 'If he is not edified by my silence, he will not be edified by my speech.'

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Jesus' Loneliness

When Jesus came close to his death, he no longer could experience God's presence. He cried out: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:47). Still in love he held on to the truth that God was with him and said: "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46).

The loneliness of the cross led Jesus to the resurrection. As we grow older we are often invited by Jesus to follow him into this loneliness, the loneliness in which God is too close to be experienced by our limited hearts and minds. When this happens, let us pray for the grace to surrender our spirits to God as Jesus did.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Tuesday’s Reflection

IN OUR SEARCH for identity Christ meets us right where we are. In his humanity Jesus also needed to know who he was. But he didn’t look inward, nor did he let others tell him who he was, nor did he look to his achievements to find his sense of identity. Instead, in order to know who he was, Jesus listened to the voice of his Heavenly Parent, trusted that voice, and claimed its truth for his life.

- Trevor Hudson and Stephen D. Bryant
The Way of Transforming Discipleship

From page 21 The Way of Transforming Discipleship by Trevor Hudson and Stephen D. Bryant. Copyright © 2005 by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"In the Land of Francis"

(Recorded at Assisi) St. Francis, at the end of his life, said if he had to do one thing over, he would treat Brother Ass, which is what he called his body, a little better. But what characterizes all saints is a sort of fanaticism, a single-mindedness. They know one thing is important, and they hold onto that with a kind of feverish urgency and concern. Being in Assisi helps us to see St. Francis as a real person. He had to walk back to that piazza in the clothes of a dropout and have his old friends laugh at him. He had to walk through these streets and not be received, even by most of the established Church here who thought he was a nut. A fool, they called him. And he called himself that after awhile, the "idiot of God."

After awhile he moved outside the walls. He rebuilt a little church at San Damiano and there he heard Jesus speak to him. He lived outside the city a little, at Rivotorto and at the Portiuncula because the people here thought he was useless and disrespectful of his father and the proven economic system. Little did they think that eight hundred years later they would still be living off of him, as tourists from all over the world buy pictures and statues of Francis of Assisi.

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.

Let us bind ourselves to Christ

It is right that we follow the example of John the Baptist and listen to the outstanding works Christ has done, even when we are bound by the chains of our sins. So powerful is the word of God that we shall be set free by its efficacy and sing triumphantly with the prophet: Lord, you have broken my bonds; I will offer you the sacrifice of praise. Let us bind ourselves to Christ as his disciples and with ardent desire and constant prayer humbly beg him to be our teacher, so that, taught by him, we may believe in him as true Messiah and, as believers, may love him with pure hearts as we ought.

Finally, let us in every place keep our hearts focused on our king as a powerful example. By word and deed he makes it clear that he is Messiah and true Christ; let us likewise show ourselves complete Christians in his image by our faith that works through love, for the Lord says: Behold, I am coming quickly, to render each according to his works. If these works are holy, they will not leave their doers until they have led them into heaven and everlasting glory, by the the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, who reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit through all ages. Amen.

Alonso de Orozco, O.S.A.

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


"Let your endurance be a finished product, so that you may be finished and complete, with never a defect." James 1:4 (MOFFATT)

Many of us are all right in the main, but there are some domains in which we are slovenly. It is not a question of sin, but of the remnants of the carnal life which are apt to make us slovenly. Slovenliness is an insult to the Holy Ghost. There should be nothing slovenly, whether it be in the way we eat and drink, or in the way we worship God.

Not only must our relationship to God be right, but the external expression of that relationship must be right. Ultimately God will let nothing escape, every detail is under His scrutiny. In numberless ways God will bring us back to the same point over and over again. He never tires of bringing us to the one point until we learn the lesson, because He is producing the finished product. It may be a question of impulse, and again and again, with the most persistent patience, God has brought us back to the one particular point; or it may be mental wool-gathering, or independent individuality. God is trying to impress upon us the one thing that is not entirely right.

We have been having a wonderful time this Session over the revelation of God's Redemption, our hearts are perfect towards Him; His wonderful work in us makes us know that in the main we are right with Him. "Now," says the Spirit, through St. James, "let your endurance be a finished product." Watch the slipshod bits - "Oh, that will have to do for now." Whatever it is, God will point it out with persistence until we are entirely His.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 49: On the Observance of Lent

Although the life of a monk
ought to have about it at all times
the character of a Lenten observance,
yet since few have the virtue for that,
we therefore urge that during the actual days of Lent
the brethren keep their lives most pure
and at the same time wash away during these holy days
all the negligences of other times.
And this will be worthily done
if we restrain ourselves from all vices
and give ourselves up to prayer with tears,
to reading, to compunction of heart and to abstinence.

During these days, therefore,
let us increase somewhat the usual burden of our service,
as by private prayers and by abstinence in food and drink.
Thus everyone of his own will may offer God
"with joy of the Holy Spirit" (1 Thess. 1:6)
something above the measure required of him.
From his body, that is
he may withhold some food, drink, sleep, talking and jesting;
and with the joy of spiritual desire
he may look forward to holy Easter.

Let each one, however, suggest to his Abbot
what it is that he wants to offer,
and let it be done with his blessing and approval.
For anything done without the permission of the spiritual father
will be imputed to presumption and vainglory
and will merit no reward.
Therefore let everything be done with the Abbot's approval.


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

Tuesday, July 31, 2007 (The Dormition Fast Begins Tomorrow) Righteous
Joseph of Arimathea
Kellia: 1 Maccabees 1:16-28 Epistle: 1 Corinthians 15:29-38 Gospel: St.
Matthew 21:23-27

The Seleucids II ~ Desecration: 1 Maccabees 1:16-28 LXX, especially vs.
25: “There was a great mourning in Israel, in every place where they
were.” As 1 Mac.1:11-15 reveals, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, having a pagan
Greek mindset, readily crushed Temple worship after his successful
campaign in Egypt (vss. 17-19). He plundered the Temple, ordered an end
to sacrifices and Sabbath observance, destroyed copies of the Law, and
required Jews to participate in pantheistic worship. Earlier in his
reign, he replaced the orthodox High Priest, Onias III, with Onias’
brother Jason, a man sympathetic to the King’s hellenizing policy. But
then, before the war with Egypt, Menalaus, an associate of Jason,
offered the king a handsome price for the High Priesthood, and Antiochus
‘appointed’ him as High Priest, a man not even in the lineage of Aaron,
but of the tribe of Benjamin - a grave scandal to pious Jews (Lev.
Observe that the writer of Maccabees does not explain Antiochus’
withdrawal from Egypt (1 Mac 1:20) after his successful campaign there.
Actually, the decision was forced on him by a Roman envoy who drew a
circle around him in the sand and exacted his promise to quit Egypt. The
Romans were not about to have a Seleucid ruling both Egypt and
Mesopotamia. Understanding Roman power, Antiochus withdrew and came to
Jerusalem where with the help of Menalaus he enriched his royal
treasuries by taking “silver and gold, and the costly vessels; he took
also the hidden treasures which he found” (vs. 23) from the Temple.
Antiochus’ “massacre” (vs. 24) was carried out among known opponents of
Menalaus. His speaking “very proudly” (vs. 24) was a royal edict
requiring all nationalities of his empire to worship the Greek deities.
The pious, Hasidic Jews felt shame, anger, and “great mourning in
Israel, in every place” (vs. 25).
For Orthodox Christians, the profound pain and bitter offense that the
ancient People of God felt when Antiochus Epiphanes sacked, desecrated,
and stripped the Temple is entirely understandable. For, the Temple, its
“sanctuary...the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the
vessels thereof” (vs. 21) were consecrated, as were the Priests and
especially the High Priest - all being “holy to the Lord” (Ex. 30:1-10).
Similarly, our Orthodox churches, icons, sacred vessels, vestments,
Priests, and the Divine Liturgy are all consecrated and set apart as
holy to God. Therefore, we treat all these with great reverence, being
vehicles for knowing God.
The awe that the Jews felt and that Orthodox Christians know in relation
to holy things, persons, feasts, and practices derives from the fact
that these tangible forms of our Faith are used of God to disclose
Himself to the hearts and minds of the Faithful. Worship itself always
is reserved for God alone, but veneration is natural around holy things
used in the worship and ministry to the Lord. How sad are those who have
not opened their hearts to the Living God Who created them, nor have
faced His Holy Presence in awe and reverence. As Bishop Kallistos Ware
says, “Unless we start out with a feeling of awe and astonishment - with
what is often called a sense of the ‘numinous’ - we shall make little
progress on the Way.”
But dangerous are those who do not seek God and are determined to
inflict their beliefs, ideologies, and false religions on the Faithful.
History is replete with such antagonists and their desecrations. Two
examples Orthodox Christians remember in pain are the conversion of the
Hagia Sophia into a mosque by the Islamists, along with the defacing of
its icons. Churches closed or destroyed by the Bolsheviks, the
confiscation of holy vessels and icons, and the execution and
imprisonment of bishops, priests, monks, nuns, and devout lay members
still grieve our hearts.
Oh, immortal Savior, Son of the eternal Father, save Thy Churches,
redeem Thy People from battle, murder and sudden death, and grant us
forgiveness of sins and Thy deliverance.



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