Thursday, September 13, 2007

13/09/07Thurs, 15th 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.


Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Almighty God, who gave to your servant Cyprian boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 50; PM Psalm [59, 60] or 8, 84
1 Kings 18:1-19; Phil. 2:12-30; Matt. 2:13-23

Spiritual Practice of the Day

The winner sows hatred
Because the loser suffers.
Let go of winning and losing
And find joy.
— The Buddha in The Dhammapada rendered by Thomas Byrom

To Practice This Thought: Act with no regard to the outcome.

From Forward Day by Day:

1 Kings 18:1-19. Is it you, you troubler of Israel?

Wherever Elijah goes, it seems, he finds an enemy waiting, Ahab and Jezebel foremost among them. Kings and prophets don't get on well-there's something about absolute power that sits uneasily with people who remember when God was their king.

Today's gospel reading is about another king whose allegiance to power blotted out any allegiance to God or even common humanity. Ahab arranges for Naboth to be murdered because he wants a vineyard; Herod arranges for the murder of baby boys because he doesn't want any competition for the throne.

People like Elijah, the very prototype of the angry,thundering prophet, are easy to see as trouble-makers-they make the powerful cringe. What a contrast to the Lord of creation, source of all power in the world, who comes among us as a helpless infant and grows up to be a wandering rabbi, with no visible clout and no obvious way of calling this world's powers to account-but they cringe before him too. God's power is built into creation as a sort of bias toward the good, the just, the true, the compassionate, that always works against injustice and cruelty even when those things seem to have everything their way.

Today we remember:

Cyprian of Carthage:
Psalm 23 or 116:10-17
1 Peter 5:1-4,10-11; John 10:11-16


Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil and the Diocese of Southern Brazil

Speaking to the Soul:

Cyprian of Carthage

Daily Reading for September 13 • Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, 258

We ought to hold firmly and maintain our [Christian] unity, especially those of us who are bishops presiding in the Church, thereby revealing the episcopate to be one and undivided. The episcopate is one; it is a unity in which each bishop enjoys full possession. The Church is likewise one, even though it is spread abroad far and wide, and grows as her children increase in number. Just as the sun has many rays, but the light is one; or as a tree with many branches finds its strength in its deep root; or as various streams issue from a spring, their multiplicity fed by the abundance of the water supply, so unity is preserved in the source itself. You cannot separate a ray from the sun any more than you can divide its light. Break a branch from a tree, and once broken it will bud no more. Dam a stream from its source, and the water will dry up. In the same way the Church, flooded with the light of the Lord, puts forth her rays throughout the world, but it is an identical light that is being diffused, and the unity of the body is not infringed. She extends her branches over the whole world. She pours out her generous rivers but there is one source, one Mother, abundant in the fruit of her own creativity. We are born in the womb of the Church; we are nourished by her milk; and we are animated by her Spirit.

The bride of Christ cannot commit adultery; she is pure and chaste. She knows but one home and guards the sanctity of its marriage-bed with chaste modesty. She keeps us for God and she directs the children she has borne into his kingdom. But whoever parts company with the Church and consorts with an adulteress, becomes estranged from the promises of Christ. No one can have God as Father who does not also have the Church as mother.

From On the Unity of the Church by Cyprian of Carthage, quoted in Spiritual Classics from the Early Church by Robert Atwell (National Society/Church House Publishing, 1995).
++++++++++ Reflections

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and faith.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus
Story of a Soul.

Reading from the Desert Christians

They said of Abba Macarius the Great that he became, as it is written, a god upon earth, because, just as God protects the world, so Abba Macarius would cover the faults which he saw, as though he did not see them; and those which he heard, as though he did not hear them.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Remaining Anchored in Love

When we are anxious we are inclined to overprepare. We wonder what to say when we are attacked, how to respond when we are being interrogated, and what defence to put up when we are accused. It is precisely this turmoil that makes us lose our self-confidence and creates in us a debilitating self-consciousness.

Jesus tells us not to prepare at all and to trust that he will give us the words and wisdom we need. What is important is not that we have a little speech ready but that we remain deeply anchored in the love of Jesus, secure about who we are in this world and why we are here. With our hearts connected to the heart of Jesus, we will always know what to say when the time to speak comes.

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

Tertiaries desire to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, whom we serve in the three ways of Prayer, Study, and Work. In the life of the Order as a whole these three ways must each find full and balanced expression, but it is not to be expected that all members devote themselves equally to each of them. Each individual's service varies according to his/her abilities and circumstances, yet the member's personal rule of life includes each of the three ways.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

September 13th, 2007
Thursday’s Reflection

GOD, TEACH ME TO BE A GOOD FRIEND, but not out of a need to be liked or an obsessive need to take care of others. Let me be a friend the way you befriend me, wanting nothing more than the joy of my companionship. Amen.

- W. Paul Jones
An Eclectic Almanac for the Faithful

From page 88 of An Eclectic Almanac for the Faithful by W. Paul Jones. Copyright © 2006 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Faces of Faith

Western Christianity has largely been in the head, although the masses were never inspired that way. Institutional Christianity is mistrustful of enthusiasm, although enthusiasm literally means "in God." Conviction, passion, excitement change lives much more than logic or theo-logic. If the salvation that we see in our Sunday-morning communities or congregations were the best that God could do, then we don't have much of a God. If those bored, sad, tired faces at which we priests look out at on Sunday—those who rush in late and leave early—if those are the message, then the Good News isn't very good. Somehow it seems salvation should show in our faces, our lives; in our fire, conviction and zeal. Some kind of Pentecost is still the best way to begin, and the enthusiastic Churches will probably continue to evangelize, heal and gather commitment and resources much better than contemporary Catholicism.

from The Great Themes of Scripture

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

Let us take care that we hate no one

Two things are required of us, here and now: to acknowledge our sins and to forgive others; the first, so that the second may become easier. For someone properly aware of his own behavior and its shortcomings will be the more forgiving to his fellow humans. And that does not mean forgiveness in words merely, but from the heart, lest in our resentment we turn the sword on ourselves. The more he has injured you, the greater the forgiveness of your own sin, in consequence.

Let us take care that we hate no one, so that God may still love us; so that even though we may be owing him a thousand talents he may yet be generous and merciful to us. Has someone offended you? Be merciful to him, then; do not hate him. Weep and lament for him, but do not show aversion. For it is not you who have offended God, but he; you will do well to put up with it. Recall how Christ was content to be crucified— and yet shed tears over those who did it. That must be your disposition also: the more you are wronged, the more you must lament for the wrongdoers. For it is we who profit from this— and greatly— but not they.

John Chrysostom

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


"I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." John 17:4

Surrender is not the surrender of the external life, but of the will; when that is done, all is done. There are very few crises in life; the great crisis is the surrender of the will. God never crushes a man's will into surrender, He never beseeches him, He waits until the man yields up his will to Him. That battle never needs to be re-fought.

Surrender for Deliverance. "Come unto Me and I will give you rest." It is after we have begun to experience what salvation means that we surrender our wills to Jesus for rest. Whatever is perplexing heart or mind is a call to the will - "Come unto Me." It is a voluntary coming.

Surrender for Devotion. "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself." The surrender here is of my self to Jesus, my self with His rest at the heart of it. "If you would be My disciple, give up your right to yourself to Me." Then the remainder of the life is nothing but the manifestation of this surrender. When once the surrender has taken place we never need "suppose" anything. We do not need to care what our circumstances are, Jesus is amply sufficient.

Surrender for Death. John 21:18-19. ". . . another shall gird thee." Have you learned what it means to be bound for death? Beware of a surrender which you make to God in an ecstasy; you are apt to take it back again. It is a question of being united with Jesus in His death until nothing ever appeals to you that did not appeal to Him.

After surrender - what? The whole of the life after surrender is an aspiration for unbroken communion with God.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day

THE lunatic is the man who lives in a small world but thinks it is a large one; he is a man who lives in a tenth of the truth, and thinks it is the whole. The madman cannot conceive any cosmos outside a certain tale or conspiracy or vision. Hence the more clearly we see the world divided into Saxons and non-Saxons, into our splendid selves and the rest, the more certain we may be that we are slowly and quietly going mad. The more plain and satisfying our state appears, the more we may know that we are living in an unreal world. For the real world is not satisfying. The more clear become the colours and facts of Anglo-Saxon superiority, the more surely we may know we are in a dream. For the real world is not clear or plain. The real world is full of bracing bewilderments and brutal surprises. Comfort is the blessing and the curse of the English, and of Americans of the Pogram type also. With them it is a loud comfort, a wild comfort, a screaming and capering comfort; but comfort at bottom still. For there is but an inch of difference between the cushioned chamber and the padded cell.

'Charles Dickens.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

January 13, May 14, September 13
Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be

In her teaching
the Abbess should always follow the Apostle's formula:
"Reprove, entreat, rebuke" (2 Tim. 4:2);
threatening at one time and coaxing at another
as the occasion may require,
showing now the stern countenance of a mistress,
now the loving affection of a mother.
That is to say,
it is the undisciplined and restless
whom she must reprove rather sharply;
it is the obedient, meek and patient
whom she must entreat to advance in virtue;
while as for the negligent and disdainful,
these we charge her to rebuke and correct.

And let her not shut her eyes to the faults of offenders;
but, since she has the authority,
let her cut out those faults by the roots
as soon as they begin to appear,
remembering the fate of Heli, the priest of Silo (1 Kings 2-4).
The well-disposed and those of good understanding
let her correct with verbal admonition the first and second time.
But bold, hard, proud and disobedient characters
she should curb at the very beginning of their ill-doing
by stripes and other bodily punishments,
knowing that it is written,
"the fool is not corrected with words" (Prov. 18:2; 29:19),
and again,
"Beat your son with the rod,
and you will deliver his soul from death"(Prov. 23:13-14).


To "vary with the circumstances" may be the genius of the entire Rule of Benedict. It is undoubtedly clear here.

The Rule of Benedict does not turn people into interchangeable parts. Benedict makes it quite plain: people don't all learn the same way; they don't all grow the same way; they can't all be dealt with the same way. Those concepts, of course, have become commonplace in a culture that is based on individualism. But they were not commonplace as recently as fifty years ago. Historically, there has been a more acceptable way for just about everything: a more acceptable way to pray; a more acceptable way to celebrate the Mass; a more acceptable way to think; a more acceptable way to live. Not everyone did it, of course, but everyone had very clear criteria by which to judge the social fit of everyone else.

Personalism is a constant throughout the Rule of Benedict.Here, though, in a chapter on the abbot or prioress, you would certainly expect at least to find a clear call for order, if not for perfection and discipline and conformity. There is no room in Benedictine spirituality, though, for bloodless relationships between people in authority and the people for whom they have responsibility. Benedictine authority is expected to have meaning. It is to be anchored in the needs and personality of the other person. For the prioress or abbot or parent or supervisor, it is an exhausting task to treat every individual in our care as an individual but nothing else is worth our time. It is easy to intimidate the stubborn with power. It is simple to ignore the mediocre. It is possible to leave the docile on their own and hope for the best.

In the Rule, though, the function of the leader is to call each individual to become more tomorrow than they were today. The point of the paragraph is not how the calling is to be done, with firmness or tenderness or persuasion or discipline. The theories on that subject change from period to period. Some types respond to one approach, some respond better to another. The point here is simply that the calling is to be done. The person who accepts a position of responsibility and milks it of its comforts but leaves the persons in a group no more spiritually stirred than when they began, no more alive in Christ than when they started, no more aflame with the gospel than when they first held it in their hands, is more to be criticized than the fruitless group itself. It was Eli, Benedict points out, the father who did not correct his sinful sons, whom God indicts, not the sons alone.

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

Thursday, September 13, 2007 Founding of the Church of the
Resurrection in Jerusalem
1st Elevation Cross: Exodus 15:22-16:2 Epistle: Ephesians 1:1-9
Gospel: St. Mark 7:24-30

The Holy Cross ~ Removing Bitterness: Exodus 15:22-16:2 LXX, especially
vs. 25: "And Moses cried to the Lord, and the Lord shewed him a tree,
and he cast it into the water, and the water was sweetened." As the
Church beholds the Mystery of the Cross, she returns to the motif of
trees, calling "all the trees of the wood, planted from the beginning of
time, [to] rejoice; for their nature hath been sanctified by the
stretching of Christ on the Tree."

The Church especially honors certain trees, since God gave them a
wondrous role in the history of His People. Such is the case of the
tree that Moses threw into the bitter waters at Marah to make them
sweet. Let us heed the call to rejoice in this type of the Holy Cross,
for the Lord did not leave the bitterness of the "tree of knowledge" to
overshadow us, but "didst remove it completely by the Cross." As that
ancient tree "made the waters of Marah sweet, anticipating the act of
the Cross," we praise God together with all the powers of heaven who
magnify the Lord for His healing and His mercy toward His People.

Three days into the wilderness from the Red Sea, the people found no
water, the Sinai peninsula being mostly void of water. Then, at Marah
the water they found "was bitter" (vs. 23). They faced death by
thirst. However, the Lord in mercy revealed how their deadly thirst
could be removed: the "Lord shewed [Moses] a tree" (vs. 25). Although
that tree already was visible to Moses' physical eye, God revealed to
the eye of his heart that the tree could sweeten the water.

Likewise, may the Lord show you and me the sweetness in the Cross, the
Tree that can end the bitter thirst of sin and offer relief in this
fallen world! How many alcoholics have imagined that their deep thirst
could be assuaged in a bottle! How many of us vainly struggle with
overeating to feed a spiritual thirst that is killing us! The honeyed
kisses of illicit lovers in this world do not hold eternal sweetness.
Christ our God reveals the Cross. He takes away the dry, deathly
burning within our hearts "having nailed it to the Cross" (Col. 2:14).

God sweetens the unyielding bitterness of sin. It was not some property
of the tree which made the waters potable. God performed a miracle
using the tree. He sweetened the water. He led Moses to cast in the
tree, after which "the water became sweet" (Ex. 15:25). No chemistry
was available to remove the bitter poison in the spring at Marah that
was more than distasteful or dangerous, being, in fact, lethal. But God
made the bitter poison wholesome.

Likewise, nothing removes the bitter poison of sin except God's mercy,
for He removes the bane of sin by the Tree of His Cross. "For the
message of the us who are being the power of God"
(1 Cor.1:18). Be encouraged! Embrace the Lord Jesus' words: "he who
believes in Me shall never thirst" (Jn. 6:35). Christ our God removes
the poison!

Having quenched the thirst of Israel, God "established...ordinances and
judgments" (Ex. 15:25): "If thou wilt indeed hear the voice of the Lord
thy God , and do things pleasing before disease which I have
brought upon the Egyptians will I bring upon thee, for I Am the Lord thy
God that heals thee" (vs. 26). Afterwards, the Lord God led them and
"they came to Elim, and there were there twelve fountains of water" (vs.

Where do you look for healing? God offers the Cross to grant you Life.
Welcome the Cross with joy and fear, as the Church teaches: "with fear
because of sin, being unworthy; with joy because of the salvation which
Christ Who was nailed thereon....granted to the world."

O Thou Who was raised up on the Cross of Thine own will, O Christ our
God, do Thou bestow Thy compassions upon Thy People named after Thee
from every affliction and death.



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