Friday, October 05, 2007

05/10/07 Fri, 18th 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, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; 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 102; PM Psalm 107:1-32
2 Kings 19:1-20; 1 Cor. 9:16-27; Matt. 8:1-17

From Forward Day by Day:

Matthew 8:1-17. He...cured all who were sick.

Why did Jesus heal people? Compassion, certainly. One definition of love is "actively seeking that which is best for another." As the embodiment of God's perfect love, Jesus responds to human need and suffering. It happened then and it still happens today. But there is another reason for the centrality of healing in the gospels. It is one of the signs by which Jesus shows himself to be God's presence among us.

God is a gatherer who loves to connect the separated. In the creation story God broods over the multiverse of chaos and then brings it into the
harmony of the universe we are able to explore with science and reason. God calls humanity into existence and then works to bring us into ever wider and deeper circles of relationship--family, clan, community, nation, world. Key words of our faith like redemption and reconciliation remind us of God's desire to put human and divine relationships back together. The loving heart of God is in the business of healing at every level of life. So the healing work of Jesus serves to show us that he is indeed "God with us." Therefore, these two points: God is actively seeking our wholeness and well-being. And to serve God's purposes, we do the same for ourselves and others.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Sunyani (West Africa)

Speaking to the Soul:

Preach to every creature

Daily Reading for October 5

Francis led a life of exceedingly great joy and a life of constant praise of God, a life of blessedness in the midst of the fecund goodness of God’s creation, celebrated most forthrightly by his “Canticle of the Creatures.” As a citizen of the peaceable kingdom, transported there by his vision and his prayers, Francis could thereafter call every human, however different or distant, and each of the creatures of nature, however alien to human sensibilities, his brother or his sister. He could be a troubadour of a higher order, constantly rejoicing with friends and foes alike, and with birds and oxen and even wolves and worms. The mandate of Christ had claimed Francis’s soul profoundly: to preach the Gospel to every creature. This he made remarkable efforts to do, in deed most often and in word whenever necessary. And, notwithstanding all the challenges he experienced and all the pains that were thrust upon him, he found joy in the nearness of God to him in every creature, in his encounters with lepers no less than in his songs of praise with the birds of the air.

Francis found peace and joy in his vocation not by getting away from it all, but by getting into it all. His was a vision and a way of life that is open to all of us by the grace of God, even to the most affluent among us who choose to claim his vision and follow his way, to engage ourselves with this world as if it were the world of the kingdom to come.

From “The Spirituality of Nature and the Poor: Revisiting the Historic Vision of St. Francis” by H. Paul Santmire, Ph.D., in Tending the Holy: Spiritual Direction Across Traditions, edited by Norvene Vest. Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Spiritual Practice of the Day

He does not always remain bent over the pages; he often leans back and closes his eyes over a line he has been reading again, and its meaning spreads through his blood.
— Rainer Maria Rilke quoted in Living Strings by Michael Whelan

To Practice This Thought: Try this medicinal way of reading.
++++++++++ Reflections

I should like to respond by spending my earthly life as Our Lady did ... I unite myself to the soul of the Virgin at the moment in which the Father was covering her with His shadow, while the Word was taking flesh within her and the Holy Spirit came upon her to accomplish this great mystery.
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

Reading from the Desert Christians


When we lay bare the hidden meaning of the history, scripture is
seen to teach that the birth which distresses the tyrant is the
beginning of the virtuous life. I am speaking of the kind of birth
in which free will serves as the midwife, delivering the child
amid great pain. For no one causes grief to his antagonist unless
he exhibits in himself those marks which give proof of his victory
over the other.

St. Gregory of, The Life of Moses.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Companion of the Souls

When the two disciples recognised Jesus as he broke the bread for them in their house in Emmaus, he "vanished from their sight" (Luke 24:31). The recognition and the disappearance of Jesus are one and the same event. Why? Because the disciples recognised that their Lord Jesus, the Christ, now lives in them ... that they have become Christ-bearers. Therefore, Jesus no longer sits across the table from them as the stranger, the guest, the friend with whom they can speak and from whom they can receive good counsel. He has become one with them. He has given them his own Spirit of Love. Their companion on the journey has become the companion of their souls. They are alive, yet it is no longer them, but Christ living in them (see Galatians 2:20).

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

Day Five - The First Aim of the Order

To make our Lord known and loved everywhere.

The Order is founded on the conviction that Jesus Christ is the perfect revelation of God; that true life has been made available to us through his Incarnation and Ministry, by his Cross and Resurrection, and by the sending of his Holy Spirit. The Order believes that it is the commission of the church to make the gospel known to all, and therefore accepts the duty of bringing others to know Christ, and of praying and working for the coming of the of the Kingdom of God.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Transforming Spirit
October 5th, 2007
Friday’s Reflection

NO MATTER HOW distorted and hurtful our powers within, they were originally created from the divine source, and they hold the potentiality for the unique and beautiful. …

Our fear, when healed, becomes intuitive, empathetic compassion and sensitivity toward others. Our destructive anger, when healed, becomes a passion, a hunger and thirst for justice and righteousness. Our perfectionism, our compulsion to organize and dominate, when healed, becomes released, joyous power to build and create. … Our possessiveness, our jealousies, and our physical addictions, when healed, become growing released powers to become lovers and healers of the world around us. …

Slowly we learn to see our major problem not as a devil to be exorcised, a cancer to be cut out, a stumbling block to be removed, or an enemy to be killed but as our own personal “fallen angel.”

- Flora Slosson Wuellner
Prayer, Stress and Our Inner Wounds

From page 50 of Prayer, Stress and Our Inner Wounds by Flora Slosson Wuellner. Copyright © 1985 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

The Church and Civil Rights

Our people, by and large, haven’t developed a sense of social conscience. It’s amazing when we look at the 1960s. You know what attitudes were rather blandly accepted by all of us in the early 1960s, let’s say, in regard to race relations. Here and there stood out a man or woman of obvious conscience—one who dealt with good, evil, and with truth. But they were few and far between.

To our forever shame, it was by and large the movement of history, the movement of culture that raised our consciousness to the evil involved in denying people civil rights. Most of us didn’t even know this stuff was going on! It was the Spirit in history (what the Germans call the zeitgeist), that for the most part formed our consciences. And the Church came along, caught the wind and said, Yeah, we believe in that too, that’s right, that’s the gospel! It is the same for militarism, slavery, human rights, sexism and respect for the earth. We have been “Peter-come-latelys” on all of these.

Notice in the twentieth chapter of John: Peter (the Church) gets to the tomb late (after the lover, John) and finally believes. It’s always been that way, I guess. Simple love sees and believes even before the Church. But at least we finally get there and back it up!

from The Price of Peoplehood

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

Help and comfort to overcome obstacles

There are two different kinds of obstacles which hinder two different kinds of people. First there are the worldly people. They find their pleasure and satisfaction in created things and in their senses. They misuse their faculties and their senses and waste all their time on such things. This kind of people is always in darkness; they are the enemies of the light.

Secondly there are the people who are devoted to religious life, enjoying great esteem and a reputation for holiness. They think that they have left the darkness far behind them; and yet in their hearts they are Pharisees, full of self-love and self-will, and in fact interested in nothing but themselves.

To help us to overcome these various obstacles, our loving God has given us great help and comfort. He sent his only Son, so that Christ's holy life and his great and perfect virtues, his example and teaching and immeasurable sufferings should take us out of ourselves, and make us forget ourselves, teach us to quench our own dim light and walk by his true and essential light.

John Tauler

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


"Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Romans 5:12

The Bible does not say that God punished the human race for one man's sin; but that the disposition of sin, viz., my claim to my right to myself, entered into the human race by one man, and that another Man took on Him the sin of the human race and put it away (Heb. 9:26) - an infinitely profounder revelation. The disposition of sin is not immorality and wrong-doing, but the disposition of self-realization - I am my own god. This disposition may work out in decorous morality or in indecorous immorality, but it has the one basis, my claim to my right to myself. When Our Lord faced men with all the forces of evil in them, and men who were clean living and moral and up right, He did not pay any attention to the moral degradation of the one or to the moral attainment of the other; He looked at something we do not see, viz., the disposition.

Sin is a thing I am born with and I cannot touch it; God touches sin in Redemption. In the Cross of Jesus Christ God redeemed the whole human race from the possibility of damnation through the heredity of sin. God nowhere holds a man responsible for having the heredity of sin. The condemnation is not that I am born with a heredity of sin, but if when I realize Jesus Christ came to deliver me from it, I refuse to let Him do so, from that moment I begin to get the seal of damnation. "And this is the judgment" (the critical moment), "that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 4, June 5, October 5
Chapter 7: On Humility

The seventh degree of humility
is that he consider himself lower and of less account
than anyone else,
and this not only in verbal protestation
but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
"But I am a worm and no man,
the scorn of men and the outcast of the people" (Ps. 21:7).
"After being exalted, I have been humbled
and covered with confusion" (Pa. 87:16).
And again,
"It is good for me that You have humbled me,
that I may learn Your commandments" (Ps. 118:71).

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

At one stage of life, the temptation is to think that no human being alive could ever really believe themselves to be "inferior to all and of less value." At a later stage in life you begin to understand that secretly everybody thinks exactly that and that's why we deny it with such angst to ourselves and such unfairness to others. We set out systematically to hide the truth of it by clutching at money and degrees and positions and power and exhaust ourselves in the attempt to look better than we fear we really are.

The only difference between that stage of life and this degree of humility is that in the seventh degree of humility Benedict wants us to realize that accepting our essential smallness and embracing it frees us from the need to lie, even to ourselves, about our frailties. More than that, it liberates us to respect, revere and deal gently with others who have been unfortunate enough to have their own smallnesses come obscenely to light.

Aware of our own meager virtues, conscious of our own massive failures despite all our great efforts, all our fine desires, we have in this degree of humility, this acceptance of ourselves, the chance to understand the failures of others. We have here the opportunity to become kind.

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

Friday, October 5,
Martyr Charitina of Amisos
Kellia: Jeremiah 39:36-42 Epistle: Philippians
1:27-2:4 Gospel: St. Luke 7:31-35

The Book of Consolation III ~ An Eternal Covenant: Jeremiah 39:36-42
LXX, especially vs. 40: "I will make with them an everlasting covenant,
that I will not turn away from doing good to them; and I will put the
fear of Me in their hearts, that they may not turn from Me." Do not
overlook the seemingly incidental "turn of speech" by which the Lord
expresses His lovingkindness for His ancient and present-day People.
Before declaring the return from exile of the ancient Israel of God
(vss. 37-42), the Lord reminds Jeremiah of the urgent message that He
Himself gave the Prophet so often " concerning this city, of which thou
sayest, it shall be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon by
the sword, and by famine, and banishment" (vs. 36). Speaking of
Jerusalem as the center of life for ancient Israel meant more than the city.

In the next sentence, God uses the pronoun, them: "behold, I will gather
them from all the countries to which I drove them...." (vs. 37). We
need not look far to discern whom God has in mind in this pronoun. By
this city He means the entire People of God (vs. 38). Human
constructions - cities, houses, passing part of the world - are
incidental before God. His love is for His People! In using "city," He
speaks of the People whom He "will bring...back" (vs. 37).

Orthodox Christian, remember that you are one of the People to whom the
Lord speaks. There is an unbroken continuity between the ancient People
of God in Jerusalem and the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of
which you are a member. Israel and Church are one People. Through
Christ Jesus, the true Messiah, ancient Israel's history is your
history, including exile to Babylon and the return to Jerusalem. Our
holy forefathers were alienated and exiled "for our learning" and
correction (Rom. 15:4). Their exile was a result of the sin of "turning
away from God" to idols and lusts of all sorts (see Jer. 32:40). Sin
alienates. Have you not known that in yourself? Why else do you go to
confession? At one time or other most all of us, unlike the Theotokos,
call Jesus, "Lord," but turn away from God to do what we want. You know

Anciently, God used return from exile to speak of a final gathering of
all His People. "All we like sheep have gone astray" (Is. 53:6). The
Shepherd will return you from the modern Babylons and pagan places of
this world in which we are exiled by our sins. God is searching to
bring back "the one which is lost until He finds" you (Lk. 15:4). Why?
because His "everlasting covenant" remains despite "sword, and...famine,
and banishment" (vs. 36).

What is this covenant that is "everlasting"? Our Lord teaches us that
it is the "New Covenant in My Blood" (Lk. 22:20) lived in every Divine
Liturgy. Who gathers at the Holy Table? Who cries out, "Save us, O Son
of God, Who art risen from the dead?" Who prays for "the precious gifts
now offered?" Who offers "the Holy Oblation in peace?" Who dares to
"call upon the heavenly God, as Father, and to say, 'Our Father'?" You
and I do all of this "with fear of God, and faith and love," and He
responds: "I will be to them a God" (Jer. 32:38).

In Baptism our Lord gave us "another way, and another heart, to fear
[Him] continually" (vs. 39). Cease turning away. Receive His
Life-giving Spirit Who puts the fear of Him in your heart so as not "to
depart from [Him]" (vs. 40). Our God visits His People with all His
heart, and with all His soul (vs. 41). Yes, He brings "great evil upon
[His] people," but, according to His word, He also brings upon His
People "all the good things which [He] pronounced upon them" (vs. 42).
Do you think He will do less for you or any within the Body of Christ?

Let our mouths be filled with Thy praise, O Lord, that we may sing of
Thy glory; for Thou hast permitted us to partake of Thy holy, divine,
immortal and life-giving Mysteries. Establish us in Thy Sanctification,
that all the day long we may meditate upon Thy righteousness. Alleluia!



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