Sunday, August 19, 2007

19/08/07 12th 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.

Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 118; PM Psalm 145
2 Samuel 17:1-23; Gal. 3:6-14; John 5:30-47

From Forward Day by Day:

Hebrews 12:1-14. My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, or lose heart when you are punished by him; for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves and chastises every child whom he accepts.

The late Erma Bombeck described the funny side of parenting and life in '60s suburbia. Occasionally she wrote a serious piece which went straight to the heart of her subject. One such piece, entitled "I Loved You Enough,"lists some of the ways she and her husband disciplined their children. It included things like setting and enforcing bedtimes and curfews, requiring baths and completed chores, expressing expectations and disappointment when behavior fell short.

Each of us can make a list of family rules which when broken brought unpleasant punishment and isolation. We may have felt hatred, expressed or not, toward our parents during the times of punishment. Hopefully, each of us can remember a turning point when we were able to say, "Thank God, you made me do this," or "wouldn't let me do that."

God is a father. Thankfully, he loves us enough to set boundaries, standards, and expectations, to instruct and correct. He gives us the freedom to make choices and mistakes, to slam the door as we leave home, but also to return home to his loving arms.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Santiago (Philippines)

Speaking to the Soul:

The consecrated life

Daily Reading for August 19 • The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

There is a profound sense in which all of one’s life is lived out in God’s presence, and this recognition becomes a powerful tool for understanding all of one’s life as being consecrated unto God. The Carmelite lay brother Nicholas Herman (1611-91), known as “Brother Lawrence,” cultivated and practiced this sort of life, and its character has been preserved for us under the title Practice of the Presence of God (1692). Without forsaking the mysterium tremendum, Brother Lawrence advocated a style of spirituality that developed a continual sense of being in God’s presence, and the practice of returning to God’s presence through deliberate acts of prayer. He aspired to a habitual sense of God’s presence that penetrated and invigorated all of a Christian’s life. Brother Lawrence wrote: “This presence of God, if practiced faithfully, works secretly in the soul and produces marvelous effects, and leads it insensibly to the simple grace, that long sight of God every where present, which is the most holy, the most solid, the easiest, the most efficacious manner of prayer.”

From Invitation to Christian Spirituality: An Ecumenical Anthology, edited by John R. Tyson (Oxford University Press, 1999).
++++++++++ Reflections

She lived in solitude, and now in Solitude has built her nest; and in Solitude her beloved alone guides her, who also bears in solitude the wound of love.
St John of the Cross
Spiritual Canticle, 35.

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba John said, 'We have put the light burden on one side, that is to say, self-accusation, and we have loaded ourselves with a heavy one, that is to say, self-justification.'

He also said, 'Humility and the fear of God are above all virtues.'

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Focussing Our Minds and Hearts

How can we stay in solitude when we feel that deep urge to be distracted by people and events? The most simple way is to focus our minds and hearts on a word or picture that reminds us of God. By repeating quietly: "The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want," or by gazing lovingly at an icon of Jesus, we can bring our restless minds to some rest and experience a gentle divine presence.

This doesn't happen overnight. It asks a faithful practice. But when we spend a few moments every day just being with God, our endless distractions will gradually disappear.

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

Jesus took on himself the form of a servant. He came not to be served, but to serve. He went about doing good: healing the sick, preaching good news to the poor, and binding up the broken hearted.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Expressing Vulnerability
August 19th, 2007
Sunday’s Reflection

THE CAPACITY TO EXPRESS vulnerability is a great human strength. We sometimes wish our vulnerabilities would disappear so we wouldn’t have to worry about hiding them. Without these pesky vulnerabilities, we could convince the world that we have it all together, that we have no unsatisfied needs, that we can care constantly for others and never need care ourselves. It is hard to let people see our vulnerable parts — our fears and insecurities, our sadness and shame. To express vulnerability requires courage. Only in exercising this courage, in bravely showing our “weakness” to another, do we achieve a form of real power — the power to ask for help when needed.

- Sarah Parsons
A Clearing Season

From page 38 of A Clearing Season: Reflections for Lent by Sarah Parsons. Copyright © 2005 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"Your Name-place"

God gives you two names: yours and God's. Listen for that place deep within where God has given you God's own name, that name lovers reveal to one another in intimate moments, where God has told you who God is for you. Who is God for you? It's unlike anybody else. You reflect a part of God that no one else will ever reflect. You reflect back to God a part of the mystery that no one else will understand.

Where God has given you God's intimate name, you also have been given your own name. It takes awhile; it takes some listening, some silence, some suffering, probably. It takes some waiting, desiring; it takes some hoping. But finally we discover that place where we know who we are; we know what God said.

That place-where-the-names-are-One, God's name and your name, that's the place of inner authority. That's the place where the Spirit is able to be heard and received. It's the only place big enough and grand enough to be able to believe the daring gospel of Christ.

I hope someone has given you the freedom and permission to trust your own experience, to listen, and believe your name. It speaks and evokes you and no one else.

from from The Passion of God and the Passion Within

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

Relying on the goodness of God

Our beloved Savior assures us in various places in his holy scriptures that he never ceases to watch over and care for us, and that he carries us and will always carry us in his own bosom, in his heart, and in his soul. Even if there were a mother who came to forget the child she bore in her womb, he would never forget us; he has written us on his hands, so as to have us always before his eyes; whoever touches us touches the apple of his eye; we should never be anxious about what we need to live on and to wear, for he knows very well that we need these things and takes care to provide them for us.

Let us beware of ever relying on the influence or favor of our friends, on our possessions, intelligence, knowledge, strength, good desires, and resolutions; on our prayers, or even on the confidence we are aware of having in God; on human resources or on any created thing, but solely on the mercy of God. It is not that we should make no use of the things I have mentioned, and bring to our aid everything we can to help us overcome our faults, practice virtue, manage and carry out the work God has put into our hands, and fulfill the duties of our station in life. But we must give up all idea of expecting support from these things, and all the confidence we might have in them, and rely entirely on the goodness of our Lord.

John Eudes

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


Come unto Me." Matthew 11:28

God means us to live a fully-orbed life in Christ Jesus, but there are times when that life is attacked from the outside, and we tumble into a way of introspection which we thought had gone. Self-consciousness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of the life in God, and self-consciousness continually produces wrestling. Self-consciousness is not sin; it may be produced by a nervous temperament or by a sudden dumping down into new circumstances. It is never God's will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs rest in Him must be cured at once, and it is not cured by being ignored, but by coming to Jesus Christ. If we come to Him and ask Him to produce Christ-consciousness, He will always do it until we learn to abide in Him.

Never allow the dividing up of your life in Christ to remain without facing it. Beware of leakage, of the dividing up of your life by the influence of friends or of circumstances; beware of anything that is going to split up your oneness with Him and make you see yourself separately. Nothing is so important as to keep right spiritually. The great solution is the simple one - "Come unto Me." The depth of our reality, intellectually, morally and spiritually, is tested by these words. In every degree in which we are not real, we will dispute rather than come.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 63: On the Order of the Community

The juniors, therefore, should honor their seniors,
and the seniors love their juniors.

In the very manner of address,
let no one call another by the mere name;
but let the seniors call their juniors Brothers,
and the juniors call their seniors Fathers,
by which is conveyed the reverence due to a father.
But the Abbot,
since he is believed to represent Christ,
shall be called Lord and Abbot,
not for any pretensions of his own
but out of honor and love for Christ.
Let the Abbot himself reflect on this,
and show himself worthy of such an honor.

And wherever the brethren meet one another
the junior shall ask the senior for his blessing.
When a senior passes by,
a junior shall rise and give him a place to sit,
nor shall the junior presume to sit with him
unless his senior bid him,
that it may be as was written,
"In honor anticipating one another."

Boys, both small and adolescent,
shall keep strictly to their rank in oratory and at table.
But outside of that, wherever they may be,
let them be under supervision and discipline,
until they come to the age of discretion.


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

Sunday, August 19, 2007 Tone 3 The Martyr Andrew the General
and 2,593 Soldiers
Kellia: Ruth 4:1-22 Epistle: 1
Corinthians15:1-11 Gospel: St. Matthew 19:16-26

A Family Saga ~ Duty: Ruth 4:1-22 LXX, especially vs. 6: "I shall not
be able to redeem it for myself, lest I mar my own inheritance; do thou
redeem my right for thyself, for I shall not be able to redeem it." It
helps to keep the virtue of duty in mind while reading this passage.
Under the Mosaic Law, it was a duty to redeem a family's heritage in
land when the property might be sold outside the clan (Lev. 25:23-28).
God commanded redemption as part of a larger principle involving the
entire Promised Land: "land shall not be sold for a permanence; for the
land is shall allow ransoms for the land. (Lev. 25:23,24).

The man Elimelech died while living away from Bethlehem in Moab. The
expectation that his sons would keep claim to the family property in
Bethlehem was threatened by their untimely deaths (Ru. 1:5). How could
the family allotment be retained in Elimelech's extended family in
perpetuity (Lev. 25:25-28)? Being poor, Naomi was without the means to
protect the land of her deceased husband, and the rights of Elimelech's
family to the property were endangered. It is not clear if Naomi was
forced to sell out of poverty, or whether Elimelech had sold the land
before he died in Moab. What ever the case, Naomi's return pressed the
extended family with the obligation to buy it back. Thus, Boaz
declares: "the field which was our brother Elimelech's" must be redeemed
(Ru. 4:3,4). He understood the duty of the family.

Boaz went to the gate of the city, where public business was transacted,
and approached the nearest kin of Elimelech. He put the matter to this
relative: "if thou wilt redeem it, redeem it, but if thou wilt not
redeem it, tell me, and I shall know; for there is no one beside thee to
do the office of a kinsman, and I am after thee: and he said, I am here,
I will redeem it." (vs. 4). The relative closest to Elimelech was
willing to buy until Boaz reminded him of the additional obligation:
"thou must also buy her [Ruth], so as to raise up the name of the dead
upon his inheritance." (vs. 5). She would be included with the land
purchase. Duty aside, the next of kin demurred, "I shall not be able to
redeem it for myself, lest I mar my own inheritance" (vs. 6). His
unwillingness passed the right of redemption to Boaz, the next in line.

"Boaz said to the elders and to all the people, Ye are this day
witnesses, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that
belonged to Chilion and Mahlon, of the hand of Naomi. Moreover I have
bought for myself for a wife Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, to
raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance; so the name of the
dead shall not be destroyed from among his are this day
witnesses'" (vss. 9,10). The matter was now public record. The
witnesses sealed Boaz' action with a blessing (vss. 11,12) that reads
much like the blessing in the Orthodox marriage service: "Bless them, O
Lord our God, as Thou didst bless Abraham and Sarah. Bless them, O Lord
our God as Thou didst bless Isaac and Rebecca...."

The philosopher, Aristotle, observed that "we become what we are as
persons by the decisions that we ourselves make." Ruth chose to leave
her native land and adopt the People of God (Ru. 1:16). Naomi chose to
direct Ruth to Boaz with a proposal of marriage (Ru. 3:1-4); and Ruth
chose to obey (Ru. 3:5). Boaz chose to "do the part of the next of kin"
if possible (Ru. 3:13). The nearest kinsman declined the duty of
redemption when it entailed marriage to Ruth (Ru. 4:6). Thus, in the
providence of God, Ruth and Boaz became great-grandparents to the holy
Prophet, David. They are immortalized for trust, loyalty, industry,
kindness, submission, and fulfillment of duty, and, thus, became the
ancestors-in-the-flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us all celebrate the memory of the revered forefathers, extolling
their lives by which they were made great and ask of Christ our God that
we may walk in their holy footsteps.



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