Saturday, September 29, 2007

29/09/07 Michaelmas


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, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Everlasting God, who have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 87, 90; PM Psalm 136
2 Kings 11:1-20a; 1 Cor. 7:10-24; Matt. 6:19-24

From Forward Day by Day:

Genesis 28:10-17. There was a ladder...and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

Angels are popular today. You can believe in angels--the word means messengers--without taking the trouble to believe in the One who sends them.
From It's a Wonderful Life to Touched by an Angel, our culture paints for itself images of spiritual beings, without seeking clarity about the kind of spirit behind them. Our pictures of angels cater to our craving for spiritual realities we can see. The Bible, the story of God who cannot be seen, doesn't give us much help.

The angels the Bible describes are as elusive and mysterious as the God whose messengers they are. Isaiah says--concretely enough--that seraphim have six wings--that's something, I guess. But what tells me more about what angels might look like is the fact the first thing they always say when they meet someone is, "Do not be afraid!" Would they do that if they looked like the cute little cherubs on Valentines or on our Christmas cards? I don't think so. I'm glad that we remember St. Michael, the warrior spirit, and All Angels on the same day. Whatever they look like, they must be both holy and strong.

Today we remember:

St. Michael & All Angels:
AM Psalm 8, 148; Job 38:1-7; Hebrews 1:1-14
PM Psalm 14, 150 or 104; Daniel 12:1-3 or 2 Kings 6:8-17; Mark 13:21-27 or Revelation 5:1-14


Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of St. Asaph (Wales)

Speaking to the Soul:

One family

Daily Reading for September 29 • St. Michael and All Angels

Spirit of power, we find it hard to come together in the Church,
even within a single congregation.
How shall we learn to be one family, loving and serving the whole of humankind?
Lead us into such unity of purpose that we may receive power:
not the power to threaten or destroy, but the power to restore waste places.
Use us to declare your glory, that blind eyes may see,
deaf ears hear, and the cynical be brought to faith.
Spirit of the Living God,
Hear our prayer.

Spirit of truth, we live in a modern Babel
where words are used to conceal meaning rather than make it plain.
Lead the peoples of the world into such a love of truth
that nation may speak with nation,
not seeking to confuse but to understand and to be understood,
whereby trust is created, out of which a truly international community may be born.
Spirit of the Living God,
Hear our prayer.

Creator Spirit, you give to the old the capacity to dream dreams
and to the young to see visions,
but because we exalt ourselves and our desires to the place that is yours alone,
our visions are visions of horror and our dreams nightmares.
Raise up artists and prophets among us
with the will and the ability to inspire and cleanse our society,
to set our hearts aflame and turn our eyes to the heights.
Spirit of the Living God,
Hear our prayer.

Source of all comfort, we pray for the lonely, the sick, the sad, the bereaved,
and all who suffer or are ill at ease....
We claim for them the gift of your peace,
that their troubled hearts may be set at rest and their fears banished.
Spirit of the Living God,
Hear our prayer.

Giver of life, we remember those who have died....
May they enter into the Kingdom where your presence is all in all.
Spirit of the Living God,
Hear our prayer. Amen.

From The Daily Office Revised, in The Wideness of God’s Mercy: Litanies to Enlarge Our Prayer, revised edition, compiled and adapted by Jeffery W. Rowthorn. Copyright © 2007. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.

Spiritual Practice of the Day

We are also the enemy strangers that others are struggling to welcome in their own right.
— Caroline A. Westerhoff in Good Fences

To Practice This Thought: Be aware of how strange you may appear to others, and be a good guest.
++++++++++ Reflections

Confidence, nothing but confidence leads to the love of God.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

(Abba Poemen) said, 'The beginning of evil is heedlessness.'

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Baptism, a Call to Commitment

Baptism as a way to the freedom of the children of God and as a way to a life in community calls for a personal commitment. There is nothing magical or automatic about this sacrament. Having water poured over us while someone says, "I baptise you in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," has lasting significance when we are willing to claim and reclaim in all possible ways the spiritual truth of who we are as baptised people.

In this sense baptism is a call to parents of baptised children and to the baptised themselves to choose constantly for the light in the midst of a dark world and for life in the midst of a death-harbouring society.

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

Day Twenty Nine - The Third Note, cont'd

This joy is a divine gift, coming from union with God in Christ. It is still there even in times of darkness and difficulty, giving cheerful courage in the face of disappointment, and an inward serenity and confidence through sickness and suffering. Those who possess it can rejoice in weakness, insults, hardship, and persecutions for Christ's sake; for when we are weak, then we are strong.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

No Unimportant Moments
September 29th, 2007
Saturday’s Reflection

OUR EARTHLY existence takes on new meaning when we remember that God chose to put on our humanity and chose to wear that humanity as an ordinary working man. Our ordinary existence is not so ordinary when we remember that God chose this existence to give us a true picture of the divine. Therefore there are no unimportant moments in any lifetime. All are precious gifts of opportunity to know and serve the One who made us and chose to stand with us and like us in the gift of life.

- Norman Shawchuck and Rueben P. Job
A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

From page 50 of A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God by Norman Shawchuck and Rueben P. Job. Copyright © 2003 by the authors. Published by Upper Room Bo

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Grin and Bear It

Real holiness doesn't feel like holiness; it just feels like you're dying; it feels like you're losing it. And yet, you're losing it from the center, from a place where all things are One, where you can joyously, graciously let go of it. You know God is doing it when you can smile, when you can trust the letting go.

I'm not suggesting stoic, teeth-gritting tolerance; I mean grin and bear it. Unless the grin is there, unless the joy is there, it isn't God's work.

Many of us were taught the no without the yes, the joy. We were trained just to put up with it, to take it on the chin. That destroyed a lot of people in the Church. Saying no to the self does not necessarily please God. When God, by love and freedom, can create a joyous yes inside of you—so much so that you can absorb the no's—then it's God's work.

from Letting Go: A Spirituality of Subtraction

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

The archangels

An innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of the just; — we dwell under their shadow; we are baptized into their fellowship; we are allotted their guardianship; we are remembered, as we trust, in their prayers. We dwell in the very presence and court of God himself, and of his eternal Son our Savior, who died for us, and rose again, and now intercedes for us before the throne. We have privileges surely far greater than Elisha's; but of the same kind. Angels are among us, and are powerful to do anything. And they do wonders for the believing, which the world knows nothing about. According to our faith, so it is done unto us. Only believe, and all things are ours. We shall have clear and deeply-seeded convictions in our minds of the reality of the invisible world, though we cannot communicate them to others, or explain how we come to have them.

John Henry Newman

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


"For necessity is laid upon me: yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" 1 Corinthians 9:16

We are apt to forget the mystical, supernatural touch of God. If you can tell where you got the call of God and all about it, I question whether you have ever had a call. The call of God does not come like that, it is much more supernatural. The realization of it in a man's life may come with a sudden thunder-clap or with a gradual dawning, but in whatever way it comes, it comes with the undercurrent of the supernatural, something that cannot be put into words, it is always accompanied with a glow. At any moment there may break the sudden consciousness of this incalculable, supernatural, surprising call that has taken hold of your life - "I have chosen you." The call of God has nothing to do with salvation and sanctification. It is not because you are sanctified that you are therefore called to preach the gospel; the call to preach the gospel is infinitely different. Paul describes it as a necessity laid upon him.

If you have been obliterating the great super natural call of God in your life, take a review of your circumstances and see where God has not been first, but your ideas of service, or your temperamental abilities. Paul said - "Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" He had realized the call of God, and there was no competitor for his strength.

If a man or woman is called of God, it does not matter how untoward circumstances are, every force that has been at work will tell for God's purpose in the end. If you agree with God's purpose He will bring not only your conscious life, but all the deeper regions of your life which you cannot get at, into harmony.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day


HISTORIC Christianity has always believed in the valour of St. Michael riding in front of the Church Militant, and in an ultimate and absolute pleasure, not indirect or utilitarian, the intoxication of the Spirit, the wine of the blood of God.

'George Bernard Shaw.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

January 29, May 30, September 29
Chapter 7: On Humility

We must be on our guard, therefore, against evil desires,
for death lies close by the gate of pleasure.
Hence the Scripture gives this command:
"Go not after your concupiscences" (Eccles. 18:30).

So therefore,
since the eyes of the Lord observe the good and the evil (Prov. 15:3)
and the Lord is always looking down from heaven
on the children of earth
"to see if there be anyone who understands and seeks God" (Ps. 13:2),
and since our deeds are daily,
day and night,
reported to the Lord by the Angels assigned to us,
we must constantly beware, brethren,
as the Prophet says in the Psalm,
lest at any time God see us falling into evil ways
and becoming unprofitable (Ps. 13:3);
and lest, having spared us for the present
because in His kindness He awaits our reformation,
He say to us in the future,
"These things you did, and I held My peace" (Ps. 49:21).


The God-life, Benedict is telling us, is a never-ending, unremitting, totally absorbing enterprise. God is intent on it; so must we be. The Hebrew poet, Moses Ibn Ezra, writes: "Those who persist in knocking will succeed in entering." Benedict thinks no less. It is not perfection that leads us to God; it is perseverance.

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

Saturday, September 29, 2007
Venerable Kyriakos the Hermit of Palestine
Kellia: Jeremiah 17:5-14 Epistle: 1 Corinthians
15:39-45 Gospel: St. Luke 5:17-26

Signs For Awakening VII ~ The True Sanctuary: Jeremiah 17:5-14 LXX,
especially vs. 12: "An exalted throne of glory is our sanctuary." The
holy Prophet and Psalmist, David, in a like spirit with Jeremiah,
declares that "Our God is refuge and strength, a helper in afflictions
which mightily befall us. Therefore shall we not fear when the earth be
shaken, nor when the mountains be removed into the heart of the seas"
(Ps. 45:1,2 LXX). Both Prophets look to God as the true and reliable
point of safety in the flux of this present, tumultuous life.

In the present passage, Jeremiah explores our too-frequent alternative:
trust in man, leaning "his arm of flesh upon" man (Jer. 17:5). Jeremiah
states firmly that trust in mankind is "cursed" (vs. 5), and anyone who
vests reliance on men and their institutions will prove to "be a fool"
(vs.11) in forsaking "the fountain of life, the Lord" (vs.13).

Jeremiah knew that trusting begins in the heart, which is "deep beyond
all things, and...tried by the Lord Who every one according
to his ways" (vss. 9,10). Deep in the heart is the nous, which guides
the heart for good or ill. Thus, as Metropolitan Hierotheos says, when
"the nous is ill, man's entire soul is darkened. This is what the Lord
meant when He said: 'If the light that is in you is darkness, how great
is that darkness!' (Mt. 6:23)."

Before the battle at Ai, Joshua, following the Lord's command, set a
contingent of thirty thousand men to lie behind the city in ambush as
part of a deception against the people of that city (Jos. 8:3-8).
Animals use deception to hide from predators, capture prey, or enhance
their broods by gathering "eggs which she did not lay" (Jer. 7:11). The
Prophet likens the latter behavior to "a man gaining his wealth
unjustly" (vs. 11). In deceiving, one may act naturally according to
the command of God or unnaturally from darkness in the nous and the
heart. Watch closely to assure that your aim is not to cloak or deceive
to your advantage.

Others cannot tell with certainty what is in your heart. Often we do
not know ourselves. As a result, we may first deceive ourselves before
we mislead others. The Apostle Paul warns against blind entrapment by
our own hearts: "we should not trust in ourselves but in God" (2 Cor.
1:9). The media often report cases in which the drive to gain riches
leads men to gain wealth by many unjust means. Thus, in petty crimes
and in huge corporate scams, deception is exposed. Then for the
deceiver, "in the midst of his days, his riches...leave him, and at his
latter end he will be a fool" (Jer. 17:11). It is better "not to be
haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who
gives us richly all things to enjoy" (1 Tim. 6:17).

Watching within yourself alone is no absolute guarantee of avoiding
deception, since you can dupe yourself. Even the great Apostle Paul
admits, "I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this;
but He Who judges is the Lord" (1 Cor. 4:4). Who knows your heart? The
Lord does! The answer to the sad, universal darkness that stealthily
enters hearts and steals them is God Himself; but we must learn to hear
Him, arise at His voice, and obey.

Jeremiah teaches that "an exalted throne of glory is our sanctuary" (vs.
12). The heavenly Throne is glorious because it is the Throne of God.
Enthrone God in your heart, the Sanctuary against Satan's devices, and
your own self-deception. Before the "exalted throne of glory," O man,
humble thyself! Draw near Christ and be "a thriving tree by the
waters," with roots in "the moist place," in Life Himself. Then, "when
heat comes...there shall be upon [you] shady branches" and you "shall
not fear in a year of drought, and...shall not fail to bear fruit" (vs. 8).

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and with Thy governing Spirit
establish me." (Ps. 50:10,12 LXX)



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