Tuesday, September 18, 2007

18/09/07 Tues in the 16th week 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.


O God, because without you we are not able to please you mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Grant, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know your presence and obey your will; that, following the example of your servant Edward Bouverie Pusey, we may with integrity and courage accomplish what you give us to do, and endure what you give us to bear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 61, 62; PM Psalm 68:1-20(21-23)24-36
1 Kings 21:17-29; 1 Cor. 1:20-31; Matt. 4:12-17

Spiritual Practice of the Day

If I am very aware that I do not love much, the way is not to try to love more, so much as to spend more time in trying to open myself to receive the love of God.
— Damaris Parker-Rhodes quoted in Plain Living by Catherine Whitmire

To Practice This Thought: Create a ritual to signify your opening up to receive God's love.

1 Corinthians 1:20-31. God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

The rise of religious and political fundamentalism in recent years alarms me. In general, the trend takes the form of substituting its goal (total control over the lives of everyone it can dominate) for the goal of all true religion-that God should be honored by the human creation's living out his image within us. That image, as defined by Judaism,Christianity, and Islam, is of a God merciful and compassionate, who longs for the salvation of the world from the false gods who encourage cruelty, greed, and arrogance.

Yet these are the very qualities most evident in terrorist groups created in the guise of religion, or the un-Christian hate groups declaring whom God hates. Such are certainly rooted in fundamentals of a kind-the traits of human nature which we know as "original sin." The certainties of the purity police have nothing in common with the "foolishness" of a God who puts himself at the mercy of our sin in order to persuade us of his love for us, nor their
violence with the apparent weakness of that strategy. But it is God's strategy--more fundamental even than our sinfulness--and our blessing and hope.From Forward Day by Day:


Today we remember:

Edward Bouverie Pusey
Psalm 106:1-5 or 84:7-12
1 Peter 2:19-23; Matthew 13:44-52

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Southern Ohio (United States)

Speaking to the Soul:

Too late have I loved thee

Daily Reading for September 18 • Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, 1882

Good Jesu, too late have I loved thee, nor ever yet have I wholly followed thee; make me now at last wholly to love thee, and out of the fullness of thine infinite love give me all the love I might have had, had I always loved thee. O dearest Lord, too late have I loved thee, too late have I loved thee, too late is it always, not always to have loved thee wholly. Now, too, I cannot love thee as I would. O dearest Lord, who art love, give me of thine own love, that therewith I may wholly love thee. Good Jesu, who gavest thyself for me, give me of the fullness of thy love, that for all thy love, with thy love, I may love thee.

A prayer of Edward Bouverie Pusey, quoted in 2000 Years of Prayer, compiled by Michael Counsell. Copyright © 1999. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
++++++++++ Reflections

All things praise You, Lord of all the World!
St Teresa of Jesus
Life, 25.17

Reading from the Desert Christians

A brother went to Abba Matoes and said to him, 'How is it that the monks of Scetis did more thatn the Scriptures required in loving their enemies more than themselves?' Abba Matoes said to him, 'As for me I have not yet managed to love those who love me as I love myself.'

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Living in a State of Preparedness

Everything that comes from God asks for an open and faithful heart. We cannot live with hope and joy in the end-time unless we are living in a state of preparedness. We have to be careful because, as the Apostle Peter says: "Your enemy the devil is on the prowl like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5.8). Therefore Jesus says: "Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened by debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life. ... Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to hold your ground before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:34-36). That's what living in the Spirit of Jesus calls us to.

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

As well as the devotional study of Scripture, we all recognize our Christian responsibility to pursue other branches of study, both sacred and secular. In particular, some of us accept the duty of contributing, through research and writing, to a better understanding of the church's mission in the world: the application of Christian principles to the use and distribution of wealth; questions concerning justice and peace; and of all other questions concerning the life of faith.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Seeing with the Eyes of Faith
September 18th, 2007
Tuesday’s Reflection

WE WEEP, however privately, not just because of all the sadness, but because it is such a violation of the story by which we live — the broken bread of mercy. And if we weep for mercy’s vision violated, it is a sign to us that our lives still are shaped, our reactions still are responsive, to the image of the Christ we see only with the eyes of faith.

- John W. Vannorsdall
“Eyes to See”

From pages 27 of Weavings, March/April 2000. Copyright © 2007 by The Upper Room. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"The Virtue of Obedience"

You can see all relationships and events in our Christian life as a training of the will, preparing it to say yes, to let go of itself. The utterly important thing is union, and this can only happen when the will is ready to let go of its ego boundaries. The virtue of obedience, and I use the word intentionally, is supremely important for the training of the will. All the great spiritual pastors, religious founders and mystics, without exception, spoke of the “virtue” of obedience. Now, I don’t mean blind obedience. I don’t mean lying down and playing dead. But I do think that all Christians have to practice saying yes before they dare to say no. In that sense, the Church makes saints of us, although it’s somewhat different from the way we expected! We exist in a creative tension with the Body of Christ, which challenges us, stretches us, calls us, makes demands on us and forces us into conflicts of conscience. This refines our conscience, “kicking against the goad” (Acts 26:14) until we realize we don’t need to kick. Church and obedience operate as a foil, against which our own Christian integrity is measured and too often found wanting. Obedience is important. But I also believe in ways of listening for and hearing the Spirit beyond looking to the hierarchy or the Bible. No one else can do our homework for us.

from Catholic Agitator, Creative Dissent

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

The wedding garment

What precisely does the parable of the wedding garment mean? Can it be one of the sacraments? Hardly, for these, as we know, are common to good and bad alike. Take baptism for example. It is true that no one comes to God except through baptism, but not every baptized person comes to him. We cannot take this sacrament as the wedding garment, then, for it is a robe worn not only by good people but also by wicked people. Perhaps, then, it is our altar that is meant, or at least what we receive from it. But we know that many who approach the altar eat and drink to their own damnation. Well, then, maybe it is fasting? The wicked can fast too. What about going to church? Some bad people also go to church.

Whatever can this wedding garment be, then? For an answer we must go to the apostle, who says: The purpose of our command is to arouse the love that springs from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith. There is your wedding garment. It is not love of just any kind. Many people of bad conscience appear to love one another, but you will not find in them the love that springs from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith. Only that kind of love is the wedding garment.

Augustine of Hippo

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


"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15

Until we are born again, the only kind of temptation we understand is that mentioned by St. James - "Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." But by regeneration we are lifted into another realm where there are other temptations to face, viz., the kind of temptations Our Lord faced. The temptations of Jesus do not appeal to us, they have no home at all in our human nature. Our Lord's temptations and ours move in different spheres until we are born again and become His brethren. The temptations of Jesus are not those of a man, but the temptations of God as Man. By regeneration the Son of God is formed in us, and in our physical life He has the same setting that He had on earth. Satan does not tempt us to do wrong things; he tempts us in order to make us lose what God has put into us by regeneration, viz., the possibility of being of value to God. He does not come on the line of tempting us to sin, but on the line of shifting the point of view, and only the Spirit of God can detect this as a temptation of the devil.

Temptation means the test by an alien power of the possessions held by a personality. This makes the temptation of Our Lord explainable. After Jesus in His baptism had accepted the vocation of bearing away the sin of the world, He was immediately put by God's Spirit into the testing machine of the devil, but He did not tire, He went through the temptation "without sin," and He retained the possessions of His personality intact.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

1. In the first place, to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the whole soul, the whole strength.
2. Then, one's neighbor as oneself.
3. Then not to murder.
4. Not to commit adultery.
5. Not to steal.
6. Not to covet.
7. Not to bear false witness.
8. To honor all (1 Peter 2:17).
9. And not to do to another what one would not have done to oneself.
10. To deny oneself in order to follow Christ.
11. To chastise the body.
12. Not to become attached to pleasures.
13. To love fasting.
14. To relieve the poor.
15. To clothe the naked.
16. To visit the sick.
17. To bury the dead.
18. To help in trouble.
19. To console the sorrowing.
20. To become a stranger to the world's ways.
21. To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.


At first glance, of course, this opening paragraph on the instruments of the spiritual art seems to be a relatively standard and basic reference to a biblical description of the holy life. And that seems sound. The trouble is that it also seems strange.

The surprise is that Benedict does not call us first to prayer or sacrifice or devotions or asceticisms. This is, after all, a contemplative lifestyle. It is at the same time, however, a communal lifestyle for "that most valiant kind of monastic heart," who sets out to find the holy in the human. The call to contemplation here is the call not simply to see Christ in the other but to treat the other as Christ. Benedict calls us first to justice: love God, love the other, do no harm to anyone.

First, Benedict instructs the monastic to keep the commandments. Then, in this next paragraph, the Rule requires the keeping of the corporal works of mercy. Benedictine monasticism is, apparently, not an escape from life. This spirituality is life lived with an eye on those for whom life is a terrible burden. "Do not pamper yourself," the Rule insists. "Relieve the lot of the poor."

The monastic heart is not just to be a good heart. The monastic heart is to be good for something. It is to be engaged in the great Christian enterprise of acting for others in the place of God.

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Eumenios the Wonderworker, Bishop of Gortyna
Kellia: Jeremiah 7:21-29 Epistle: Ephesians 2:19-3:7
Gospel: St Luke 3:23-4:1

Jeremiah's Temple Message II ~ Obedience: Jeremiah 7:21-29 LXX, especially
vs. 23:"I commanded them this thing, saying, Hear ye My voice and I will be
to you a God, and ye shall be to Me a people: and walk ye in all My ways,
which I shall command you, that it may be well with you. But they hearkened
not to Me." Consider St. John of the Ladder's testimony concerning
obedience: "Obedience is absolute renunciation of our own life, clearly
expressed in our bodily actions.... Obedience is unquestioning movement,
voluntary death, a life free of curiosity, carefree danger, unprepared
defense before God, fearlessness of death, a safe voyage, a sleeper's
progress. Obedience is the tomb of the will and the resurrection of

St. John's counsel reveals the scope and depth of the disobedience of God's
ancient people. They would not renounce their wills, act as the Lord
directed unquestioningly, mortify personal desires, place their wills in the
tomb of submission to our Father in heaven, nor be raised from that tomb in
glad humility. As a result, God let them go, handed them over to wrath (vs.
29). What the Lord revealed to Jeremiah is sobering for any serious
Christian, and helpful at the same time; for God discloses herein ten marks
of true obedience to guide us on a safe voyage toward our true home.

"Walk ye in all My ways"(vs. 23). When the renunciation of your will is
absolute it is "clearly expressed in bodily actions." The Hebrew idiom for
bodily actions is "walking," walking in the path delineated by God versus
walking on the path of our own desires and wants. An illumined observer
soon knows which path a person is following.

"Give...heed"(vs. 24) with the ear of your heart to the voice of the Lord,
constantly bending to detect what He is saying - choice by choice, step by

"Walk ye in all My ways" (vs. 23) not "the imaginations of [your] evil
heart" (vs. 24). Admit God to the inner conversation going on inside you,
and prefer His voice above all.

"Go forward and not backward,"following not " your evil heart" (vs. 24).
Obstinate refusal of God's directions is like out-of-control children
running pell-mell through a store away from parental control to get into
everything. To repent is to turn around and go forward.

"Attend with the heart,"to God and not to evil (vs. 24). Notice how
mortifying personal desire accomplishes this counsel. The attentive heart
turns when God directs.

" Me"(vs. 26). Relationship with God progresses toward
"godliness" by listening to the words of His "servants, the Prophets, by day
and early in the morning" (vs. 25), as well as to the Apostles, the Holy
Fathers, and our Pastors from daybreak to the dark of night.

"Give...heed"and make not your "neck harder" (Jer. 7:26). Hebrew idioms
pertaining to the neck provide visual images of obedience and disobedience.
In every Orthodox service is a "bowing" prayer. At Vespers it speaks of God
"bowing the heavens and coming down for the salvation of mankind" and
entreats mercy on them that incline their necks to Him.

"Receive correction"(vs. 28) and relish its truth within you. What comes in
life that you do not deserve? Only on a human scale is life "unfair." As
the Apostle teaches, "whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every
son whom He receives" (Heb. 12:6).

"Take up a lamentation on thy lips"(Jer. 7:29). Lament your own sins;
lament your sins that separate you from God; lament the gulf your sins open
between you and other children of God. Be cautious as St. Paul teaches;
there is godly sorrow and worldly sorrow ( 2 Cor. 7:10).

In the night our spirit awaketh at dawn unto Thee, O God, for Thy
commandments are a light. Teach us Thy righteousness, Thy commandments, and
Thy statutes, O Master.



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