Monday, August 20, 2007

20/08/07 Monday in the week of the 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.

O God, by whose grace your servant Bernard of Clairvaux, kindled with the flame 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 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 106:1-18; PM Psalm 106:19-48
2 Samuel 17:24-18:8; Acts 22:30-23:11; Mark 11:12-26

From Forward Day by Day:

Acts 22:30-23:11. The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge all three.

The Sadducees and Pharisees might be more clearly understood in terms of our political system of parties that espouse a philosophy and hold offices of authority. They were two of the three recognized parties within organized Judaism at the time of Jesus, the third being the Herodians. The chief priests and scribes were Sadducees. We could say their philosophy was grab for the gusto since this is all there is.

While Jesus condemned the Pharisees' extreme legalism and the hardness of heart created by their rigid adherence to law, he attacked the Sadducees' ignorance of the scriptures and their twisting of the law to further their own wealth and agendas.

Are there contemporary Sadducees? I believe there are those who wear robes and collars, who preside over liturgies, courts, and financial boards, but who believe there is no resurrection, no angel, no spirit, and therefore, by extension, no heaven or hell; people who use scripture but lack understanding and cannot handle it rightly. Do they have the lion's share of authority in my congregation, my diocese, or my church? I hope not.

Today we remember:

Bernard of Clairvaux:
Psalm 139:1-9 or 19:7-11(12-14)
Ecclesiasticus 39:1-10; John 15:7-11

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Sao Paulo (Brazil)

Speaking to the Soul:

Bernard of Clairvaux

Daily Reading for August 20 • Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, 1153

As a theologian Bernard stood in the Augustinian tradition. Like Anselm before him, St. Bernard believed it was necessary to grasp religious truth by faith before one could probe its meaning. His personal mysticism caused Bernard to look from the mind (as in Anselm) to religious experience for certitude. His theology was deeply concerned about the reality of humans being created in the image of God, and the unity that remains between humans and their Creator. Bernard found this most powerfully expressed and experienced in terms of love (Latin caritas). His interior theology was often phrased in the language of romantic love and courtship. Bernard understood the love song of the Hebrew Scriptures, Canticles, as a vivid description of the soul’s relationship with God; his sermons on Song of Songs were among his most influential works.

From “Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)” in Invitation to Christian Spirituality: An Ecumenical Anthology, edited by John R. Tyson (Oxford University Press, 1999).
++++++++++ Reflections

Take God for your bridegroom and friend, and walk with him continually; and you will not sin and will learn to love, and the things you must do will work out prosperously for you.
St John of the Cross
Sayings of Light and Love, 68.

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba John gave this advice, 'Watching means to sit in the cell and be always mindful of God. This is what is meant by, "I was on the watch and God came to me." (Matt. 25:36)

One of the Fathers said of him, 'Who is this John, who by his humility has all Scetis hanging from his little finger?'

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Treasure of the Poor

The poor have a treasure to offer precisely because they cannot return our favours. By not paying us for what we have done for them, they call us to inner freedom, selflessness, generosity, and true care. Jesus says: "When you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; then you will be blessed, for they have no means to repay you and so you will be repaid when the upright rise again" (Luke 14:13-14).

The repayment Jesus speaks about is spiritual. It is the joy, peace, and love of God that we so much desire. This is what the poor give us, not only in the afterlife but already here and now.

The Merton Reflection for the Week of August 20, 2007

"[A] mature contemplative is far more simple than any child or any novice, because theirs is a more or less negative simplicity-the simplicity of those in whom potential complications have not yet had a chance to develop. But in the contemplative, all complexities have begun to straighten themselves out and dissolve into unity and emptiness and interior peace. The contemplative, nourished by emptiness, endowed by poverty and liberated from all sorrow by simple obedience, drinks fortitude and joy from the will of God in all things. Without any need for complicated reasoning or mental efforts or special acts, the contemplative's life is a prolonged immersion in the rivers of tranquility that flow from God into the whole universe and draw all things back to God. For God's love is like a river springing up in the depth of the Divine Substance and flowing endlessly through His creation, filling all things with life and goodness and strength. All things, except our own sins, are carried and come to us in the waters of this pure and irresistible stream."

Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation. New York: New Directions Press, 1961: 266.

Thought to Remember

"We become like vessels that have been emptied of water that they may be filled with wine. We are like glass cleansed of dust and grime to receive the sun and vanish into its light."

New Seeds of Contemplation: 264

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

Day Twenty - The Third Way of Service, cont'd

Tertiaries endeavor to serve others in active work. We try to find expression for each of the three aims of the Order in our lives, and whenever possible actively help others who are engaged in similar work. The chief form of service which we have to offer is to reflect the love of Christ, who, in his beauty and power, is the inspiration and joy of our lives.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Our Part
August 20th, 2007
Monday’s Reflection

OUR PART is to pray;
God’s part is to weave everything
into the tapestry
of the divine will.

- Steve Harper
Talking in the Dark: Praying When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

From page 95 of Talking in the Dark: Praying When Life Doesn’t Make Sense by Steve Harper. Copyright © 2007 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"Transformation and Change"

There is a difference between change and transformation. Change happens when something old dies and something new begins. I am told that planned change is as troublesome to the psyche as unplanned change, often more so. We feel manipulated, forced, and impute it to some evil authorities, the change agents! But change might or might not be accompanied by transformation of soul. I'm afraid it is usually not. If change does not invite personal transformation, we lose our souls. Such is the modern malaise. We mass-produce neurotics and narcissists because there are so few medicine men and healing women and Spirit guides to walk us through transformation.

At times of change, the agents of transformation must work overtime, even though few will hear them. The ego would sooner play victim or too-quick victor than take the ambiguous road of transformation. We change-agents need a simple virtue: faith. It still is the rarest of commodities because it feels like nothing, at least nothing that satisfies our need to know, to fix, to manage, to understand. Faith goes against the grain.

Transformation in times of change is the exception, but it is also the norm. Deutero-Isaiah was written in exile; Francis of Assisi emerged as the first clocks turned time into money; and the martyrs of El Salvador spilled their blood during the last gasps of colonial and economic oppression. Nothing new seems to happen except when the old dies. But the old does not die gracefully: It always takes hostages. These have the potential of building bridges to the next coming of Christ.

from from Radical Grace, A Transitional Generation

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

Inner peace flows from love

The way to attain the perfection of divine love is thus stated. Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? In other words: Do not imagine that I have come to offer people a sensual, worldly, and unruly peace that will enable them to be united in their vices and achieve earthly prosperity. No, I tell you, I have not come to offer that kind of peace, but rather division — a good, healthy kind of division, physical as well as spiritual. Love for God and desire for inner peace will set those who believe in me at odds with wicked men and women, and make them part company with those who would turn them from their course of spiritual progress and from the purity of divine love, or who attempt to hinder them.

Good, interior, spiritual peace consists in the repose of the mind in God, and in a rightly ordered harmony. To bestow this peace was the chief reason for Christ's coming. This inner peace flows from love. It is an unassailable joy of the mind in God, and it is called peace of heart. It is the beginning and a kind of foretaste of the peace of the saints in heaven — the peace of eternity.

Denis the Carthusian

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


"And I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Whenever anything begins to disintegrate your life with Jesus Christ, turn to Him at once and ask Him to establish rest. Never allow anything to remain which is making the dis-peace. Take every element of disintegration as something to wrestle against, and not to suffer. Say - Lord, prove Thy consciousness in me, and self-consciousness will go and He will be all in all. Beware of allowing self-consciousness to continue because by slow degrees it will awaken self-pity, and self-pity is Satanic. Well, I am not understood; this is a thing they ought to apologize for; that is a point I really must have cleared up. Leave others alone and ask the Lord to give you Christ-consciousness, and He will poise you until the completeness is absolute.

The complete life is the life of a child. When I am consciously conscious, there is something wrong. It is the sick man who knows what health is. The child of God is not conscious of the will of God because he is the will of God. When there has been the slightest deviation from the will of God, we begin to ask - What is Thy will? A child of God never prays to be conscious that God answers prayer, he is so restfully certain that God always does answer prayer.

If we try to overcome self-consciousness by any common-sense method, we will develop it tremendously. Jesus says, "Come unto Me and I will give you rest," i.e., Christ-consciousness will take the place of self-consciousness. Wherever Jesus comes He establishes rest, the rest of the perfection of activity that is never conscious of itself.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

SURELY the vilest point of human vanity is exactly that; to ask to be admired for admiring what your admirers do not admire.

Introduction to 'Bleak House.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 64: On Constituting an Abbess

In the constituting of an Abbess
let this plan always be followed,
that the office be conferred on the one who is chosen
either by the whole community unanimously in the fear of God
or else by a part of the community, however small,
if its counsel is more wholesome.

Merit of life and wisdom of doctrine
should determine the choice of the one to be constituted,
even if she be the last of the order of the community.

But if (which God forbid)
the whole community should agree to choose a person
who will acquiesce in their vices,
and if those vices somehow become known to the Bishop
to whose diocese the place belongs,
or to the Abbots, Abbesses or the faithful of the vicinity,
let them prevent the success of this conspiracy of the wicked,
and set a worthy steward over the house of God.
They may be sure
that they will receive a good reward for this action
if they do it with a pure intention and out of zeal for God;
as, on the contrary, they will sin if they fail to do it.


The way an abbot or prioress is chosen is, like most other things in the rule, left up to the changing needs of the group. Why an abbot or prioress is chosen is not. As far as the rule is concerned, only "those who show goodness of life and wisdom in teaching" are fit for the position. Fund raisers and business people, efficiency experts and pious ascetics, administrators and philosophers are not ruled out, they are simply not defined in as categories that demand consideration. The implication is that if we choose those good of life and wise of heart then everything else will follow. We, of course, are always tempted to look for short cuts to success: we look for the people who can trim our organizations or shape up our projects or stabilize our ministries. Benedictine spirituality cautions us always to follow only the good and the wise, only those who call us to our best selves, our fullest selves, knowing that if we live according to the scriptures and choose according to the deepest and highest and greatest of human ideals, then life cannot fail for us, whatever its struggles, whatever its cost. "If I do not acquire ideals in my youth, " Maimonides wrote, "when will I? Not in old age."

Benedictine spirituality tells us to choose for ideals at every turn, even at those times when management seems more important than vision.

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

Monday, August 20,
The Holy Prophet Samuel
Kellia: Joel 1:1-14 Epistle: 2 Corinthians
8:7-15 Gospel: St. Mark 3:6-12

Judgment & Restoration ~ Judgment Foreshadowed: Joel 1:1-14 LXX,
especially vss. 12, 13: "The vine is dried up, and the fig-trees are
become few; the pomegranate, and palm-tree, and apple, and all trees of
the field are dried up: for the sons of men have abolished joy. Gird
yourselves with sackcloth, and lament, ye priests: mourn, ye that serve
at the altar: go in, sleep in sackcloths." Unimaginable degradation and
butchery have stalked the earth in our time. Unforgiving upheavals of
nature wreak dark calamities. Brutal men unleash savage wars, terrors,
and bloody revolutions. These scourges haunt our news or direct
experiences; our hearts and minds reel. How shall we, People of Faith,
understand these shocks of evil along with God's love and providence
given as blessings from nature, the artistry of men and women, and the
findings and application of science? The Prophets teach us to heed both
God's judgment in calamities and to "rejoice and be the Lord
your God" (Joel 2:23).

Joel emphasizes both aspects of the Lord's activity in the fabric of
history, "the blood and fire and columns of smoke" (Joel 2:30), as well
as "the sweet wine and the hills" flowing with milk (Joel 3:18). In
this opening passage of his Prophecies, he describes a natural disaster
that swept over Judah, withering life and consuming everything before it
- "the swarming locust" (Joel 1:4). These devouring insects consumed
standing grain in the fields and stripped vineyards and fruit trees
bare. A wave of insects removed food from man and beast. These
invaders were fierce in their destructiveness. Hence, Joel urges us to
"tell your children concerning them, and let your children tell their
children, and their children another generation " (vs. 3). He could
remember nothing like it in his lifetime nor ever before (vs. 2). We
understand him in our time.

The Prophet teaches us to wake up (vs. 5) and perceive "the word of the
Lord" (vs. 1), to allow the events of life to rouse us, much as the
locust plague awakened him (vs. 1). We learn from Joel to be
historians, and not to reduce events of life to mere "news stories," but
also not to see what happens only with the eyes of the flesh. Indeed,
"hear what the Spirit says" (Rev. 2:7)! "Hear this, you aged men, give
ear, all inhabitants of the land!" (vs. 2).

Attentiveness in the heart to what the Lord says opens the inner eye to
deeper, spiritual levels of existence, to a Divine vision of the history
of nations and peoples. Deadened by routine and the enjoyment of the
good things of life, we are apt to discover no interior blessings, being
virtual dead souls walking about in dying bodies: "Awake, you drunkards"
(vs. 5)!

The conditions of life often change overnight and catch us unaware.
Locusts devastate a whole region. HIV infects half the population of an
entire nation. An annual physical exposes metastatic cancer raging
throughout the body. Friday afternoon comes, with a bitter pink slip
and a final pay check. A note on the kitchen table announces, "I have
left you and gone away. I will not be back. Hug the kids for me." Oh,
yes, "the sweet wine" often is "cut off from your mouth" (vs. 5) when
you least expect it. Perhaps you will not be ready to accept all from God.

Observe the admonitions of the Prophet Joel. Then, may his experience
be a wake-up call, that we not be startled by unexpected and sore
calamities. Rather, let us "lament" (vs. 8), and "mourn" (vs. 9) and
"wail" (vs. 11), "gird on sackcloth" (vs. 13), and sanctify the Church's
holy seasons of fasting and Her regular week-day fasts. Above all let
us "gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house
of [our] God, and cry earnestly to the Lord (vs. 14).

Grant, O Lord Jesus Christ, that we may complete the remaining time of
our life in peace and repentance, ending this present life with a good
defense before Thy dread Judgment Seat.



  • At 10:04 PM, Blogger Suzanne said…

    Dr Taylor says: I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.


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