Tuesday, October 09, 2007

09/10/07 Tues, 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.


Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

O God our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant Robert Grosseteste to be a bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock: Give to all pastors abundant gifts of your Holy Spirit, that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm [120], 121, 122, 123; PM Psalm 124, 125, 126, [127]
2 Kings 22:1-13; 1 Cor. 11:2,17-22; Matt. 9:1-8

From Forward Day by Day:

Matthew 9:1-8. Which is easier?

In this story Jesus scandalizes the authorities by telling a paralyzed man his sins are forgiven. "Who does he think he is?" they ask. To quiet the critics
Jesus asks the rhetorical question, "Which is easier, to promise forgiveness that is intangible, unmeasurable and unverifiable, or to promise healing?" Then Jesus does the observable healing to prove that he can also deliver the unobservable forgiveness. Wouldn't it be nice to have such a display for our private benefit? It is easy to think our sins might be beyond forgiveness in the same way that some illnesses are beyond healing.

But we are required to believe in forgiveness, the heart of our relationship with God, in a world where healing occurs only sometimes. Healing points to
the power of God but does not define its limits. Remember that even this healed paralytic later died of something. All we get is the promise of Jesus. There is no further proof--except that he died for us--and that he rose again--and that he gave us eucharist to remind us--and that for two hundred decades our spiritual ancestors have found it to be true. Is that enough for us to trust his promise that our relationship with God rests on an unbreakable foundation of forgiveness?

Today we remember:

Robert Grossteste:
Psalm 112:1-9 or 23
Acts 20:28-32; Luke 16:10-15


Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Tabora (Tanzania)

Speaking to the Soul:

Scientist and theologian

Daily Reading for October 9 • Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, 1253

Robert Grosseteste was a convinced expositor of the ‘light metaphysic’, regarding light both as the first metaphysical constituent of bodies and as the genetic power of all being. Divine and intellectual light, which to us are no more than analogical applications of the physical term, were to him different manifestations of the same entity. There was for him, therefore, no gulf, no partition between metaphysics and physics such as existed for his thoroughgoing Aristotelian contemporaries, and sciences such as mathematics, geometry, optics and astronomy were an essential part of the philosopher’s equipment. It was only a stage from this, easily traversed under the guidance of Aristotle, to take interest in the subject-matter and methods of science for their own sake, and in order to enlarge and perfect positive knowledge of all kinds. This stage was rapidly attained by Roger Bacon and other pupils and they rightly claimed Grosseteste as their standard-bearer.

He gave them two principles of permanent value: the use of mathematics as a means of description, not (as they were to Plato) as revealing physical or metaphysical cause of things; and the use of observation and experiment controlled by logical methods of analysis and verification. The characteristics of his teaching were: a close attention to the study of the Bible, read textually and critically, as the basis of theology; the study of languages, especially Greek; an interest in securing faithful translations of all ancient works as a necessary part of a scholar’s equipment; and, above all, an attention to mathematics and kindred sciences.

Grosseteste, like the other eminent scholastics of his age, lacked the qualities and tastes of a humanist. His treatises and private letters are wholly without beauty of form and language. Indeed, the element of charm and the impress of personality are almost entirely absent from his correspondence; it is not easy to instance any other man, equally and as justly celebrated for his mental and moral qualities, of whom such a judgement can be made. To us, there is a massive quality about his learning that borders on the ponderous, and an aridity that hides from us the appeal of his holiness. Yet to acute contemporaries, to Adam Marsh, Roger Bacon and Geoffrey of Fontaines, he is the great master, the most learned man of his day.

From The Evolution of Medieval Thought by David Knowles (Vintage Books, 1962).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

To practice means, as we say in Japanese, "to break your bones," or to make a great effort.
— Sekkei Harada in The Essence of Zen

To Practice This Thought: Accept that the spiritual path is a rigorous and not an easy way. Make a great effort to remain true to your practice.
++++++++++ Reflections

In my Little Way there are only very ordinary things.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians


He, therefore, who sets himself to act evilly and yet wishes
others to be silent, is a witness against himself, for he wishes
himself to be loved more than the truth, which he does not wish to
be defended against himself. There is, of course, no man who so
lives as not sometimes to sin, but he wishes truth to be loved
more than himself, who wills to be spared by no one against the
truth. Wherefore, Peter willingly accepted the rebuke of Paul;
David willingly hearkened to the reproof of a subject. For good
rulers who pay no regard to self-love, , take as a homage to their
humility the free and sincere words of subjects. But in this
regard the office of ruling must be tempered with such great art
of moderation, that the minds of subjects, when demonstrating
themselves capable of taking right views in some matters, are
given freedom of expression, but freedom that does not issue into
pride, otherwise, when liberty of speech is granted too
generously, the humility of their own lives will be lost.

St. Gregory The Great, Pastoral Care

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Christ's Body, Our Body

When we gather for the Eucharist we gather in the Name of Jesus, who is calling us together to remember his death and resurrection in the breaking of the bread. There he is truly among us. "Where two or three meet in my name," he says, "I am there among them" (Matthew 18:20).

The presence of Jesus among us and in the gifts of bread and wine are the same presence. As we recognise Jesus in the breaking of the bread, we recognise him also in our brothers and sisters. As we give one another the bread, saying: "This is the Body of Christ," we give ourselves to each other saying: "We are the Body of Christ." It is one and the same giving, it is one and the same body, it is one and the same Christ.

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

Day Nine - The Second Aim, cont'd

As Tertiaries, we are prepared not only to speak out for social justice and international peace, but to put these principles into practice in our own lives, cheerfully facing any scorn or persecution to which this may lead.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

At Home in God
October 9th, 2007
Tuesday’s Reflection

WE ARE BORN and we shall all die. The person who is in communion with God wears mortality comfortably. To be with God is to be at home in this world and the next.

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

From page 114 of A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God by Norman Sawchuck and Rueben P. Job. Copyright © 2003 by the authors. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection


A true spirituality necessarily is going to be involved with the issues of the world, with the issues of society, of the poor, of politics. When you cut off the human issues, the issues of suffering and society, in fact you have cut off the soul. Human issues hold the key to your own shadow, what you are afraid of, what you deny and what you hate. The marginalized, those of other races, religions, ideologies and gender usually hold a gift for us. That’s why homosexuality is so threatening to people. In many ways, it is the last taboo.

In the homosexual person, we have the image of masculine and feminine put together in one person. That’s why we are terribly afraid of gays and lesbians. They are an image of what we all need to integrate, the "contrasexual." We've all got to put the masculine and the feminine together within ourselves. We are so terrified by that wholeness that those who represent it are hated in most cultures based on domination and patriarchy.

Interestingly, more holistic cultures such as the Native Americans and some Asians have no taboo against the homosexual. These cultures recognize more easily the mystery and paradox of all things human.

from “Naming the Father Hunger" interview notes

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

The parting words

As Jesus was about to ascend, he spoke the last words he was to utter on earth. At the moment of going up to heaven, the head commended to our care the members he was leaving on earth, and so departed. No longer will you find Christ speaking on earth; in future he will speak from heaven. Why will he speak from heaven? Because his members are being trampled underfoot on earth. He spoke to Saul the persecutor from above, saying: Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? I have ascended to heaven, but I stilll remain on the earth. Here at the Father's right hand I sit, but there I still hunger and thirst and am without shelter.

My friends, you have Christian hearts. Think, then; if the words of one who is on the way to the grave are so sweet, so precious, so important to his heirs, what must the last words of Christ mean to his heirs as he departs, not for the grave but for heaven! When a person has lived and died his soul is borne away to another place while his body is laid in the ground. Whether his last request is carried out or not, it matters little to him now. He has other things to do or suffer. His corpse lies in the grave, feeling nothing. And yet his dying wishes are carefully obeyed! If that is so, what will be the lot of those who fail to observe the parting words of the one who is seated in heaven and who looks down to see whether they are flouted or not.

Augustine of Hippo

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


"Yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness." Romans 6:13-22

I cannot save and sanctify myself; I cannot atone for sin; I cannot redeem the world; I can not make right what is wrong, pure what is impure, holy what is unholy. That is all the sovereign work of God. Have I faith in what Jesus Christ has done? He has made a perfect Atonement, am I in the habit of constantly realizing it? The great need is not to do things, but to believe things. The Redemption of Christ is not an experience, it is the great act of God which He has performed through Christ, and I have to build my faith upon it. If I construct my faith on my experience, I produce that most unscriptural type, an isolated life, my eyes fixed on my own whiteness. Beware of the piety that has no pre-supposition in the Atonement of the Lord. It is of no use for anything but a sequestered life; it is useless to God and a nuisance to man. Measure every type of experience by our Lord Himself. We cannot do anything pleasing to God unless we deliberately build on the pre-supposition of the Atonement.

The Atonement of Jesus has to work out in practical, unobtrusive ways in my life. Every time I obey, absolute Deity is on my side, so that the grace of God and natural obedience coincide. Obedience means that I have banked everything on the Atonement, and my obedience is met immediately by the delight of the supernatural grace of God.

Beware of the piety that denies the natural life, it is a fraud. Continually bring yourself to the bar of the Atonement - where is the discernment of the Atonement in this thing, and in that?

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 8, June 9, October 9
Chapter 7: On Humility

The eleventh degree of humility
is that when a monk speaks
he do so gently and without laughter,
humbly and seriously,
in few and sensible words,
and that he be not noisy in his speech.
It is written,
"A wise man is known by the fewness of his words"(Sextus, Enchidirion, 134 or 145).

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

Humility, Benedict teaches, treads tenderly upon the life around it. When we know our place in the universe, we can afford to value the place of others. We need them, in fact, to make up what is wanting in us. We stand in the face of others without having to take up all the space. We don't have to dominate conversations or consume all the time or call all the attention to ourselves. There is room, humility knows, for all of us in life. We are each an ember of the mind of God and we are each sent to illumine the other through the dark places of life to sanctuaries of truth and peace where God can be God for us because we have relieved ourselves of the ordeal of being god ourselves. We can simply unfold ourselves and become.

The Tao teaches:

"The best people are like water

They benefit all things,

And do not compete with them.

They settle in low places,

One with nature, one with Tao."

"Settling in low places," being gentle with others and soft in our comments and kind in our hearts and calm in our responses, never heckling, never smothering the other with noise or derision is an aspect of Benedictine spirituality that the world might well afford to revisit.

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Hieromartyr Dionysios (Denys) of Paris
Kellia: Jeremiah 44:1-21 Epistle: Philippians
2:17-23 Gospel: St. Luke 8:1-3

The Eve of Jerusalem's Fall IV ~ Walking in the Day: Jeremiah 44:1-21
LXX, especially vss. 13, 14: "Thou art fleeing to the Chaldeans. And he
said, It is false; I do not flee to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not
to him; and Irijah caught Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes."
St. John of the Ladder points out that "if the day in our soul does not
draw to evening and grow dark, then the thieves will not come and rob
and slay and ruin our soul." This "day in our soul" is the very day
that the Prophet David sought from God: "Let my mouth be filled with
praise, that I may hymn Thy glory and Thy majesty all the day long" (Ps.
70:7 LXX). Of such a day, the Apostle exhorts us to remember that we
"are not in darkness," but are "children of light, and the children of
the day: we are not of the night nor of darkness," and, he adds, "let
us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith
and love" (1 Thess. 5:4,5,8).

Beloved of the Lord, understand that "fear of God, and faith and love"
alone guard your soul against the lure of the "evening" and "darkness"
when "thieves...come and rob and slay and ruin our soul." Read these
verses carefully. All around Jeremiah were men upon whose souls
darkness had fallen, men blind to wisdom; yet God's Prophet walked free,
being a child of the day. As men "of the night," the princes could only
see his leaving the city of Jerusalem as treason, desertion to the
enemy. A deep spiritual darkness blinded their hearts and souls.

In speaking of those who are in spiritual darkness and lack
discrimination, St. Peter of Damaskos characterizes them as persons who
exert themselves "enormously, but [they] cannot achieve anything; while
the person who possesses [discrimination] is a guide to the blind and a
light to those in darkness." What a perfect portrait of those who
"knew" that Jeremiah was deserting. What a wonderful portrait of a man
of God who walked as a child of the day!

Darkness prevailed in the souls of the sentry, Irijah (Jer. 37:13,14),
the court officials who beat the Prophet (vs, 15), and even the king who
talked to him in secret (vs. 17). The prevailing delusion that the
Egyptians would rescue them (vs. 7) was deep night in their souls, so
that they could in no way perceive Jeremiah's point that if "there
should be left a few wounded men, these should rise up each in his
place, and burn this city with fire" (vs. 10).

If you fear you may be a captive to the host of delusions of our age -
like those false ideas that dominated the majority in Jerusalem - beg
God to lead you into His day. As the Lord Jesus teaches, he alone who
walks in the Day "seeth the light of this world" (Jn. 11:9). Irijah
believed Jeremiah was deserting. Delusion suffocated his soul. From
circumstantial evidence alone, he assumed the Prophet was fleeing to the
Babylonians since the Prophet had said that the Babylonians would take
the city. In his darkness, Irijah "knew" the Prophet was running to them.

The same denial cast darkness over the court officials. They saw the
approach of Pharaoh's army and the withdrawal of the Chaldeans as a sign
of God's deliverance. Governed by that delusion, they freely beat
Jeremiah. Though the king was intrigued by Jeremiah, he remained ruled
by the night of delusion and retained Jeremiah in custody.

You can escape from widely-held, false beliefs. Knowing how to escape
is urgent for a Christian in a neo-pagan society. Listen to St. Peter
of Damaskos: "if in this present generation no one possesses
discrimination it is because no one has the humility that engenders
it." Heed the Apostle: "the night is far spent, the day is at hand: let
us therefore cast off the works of darkness....Let us walk honestly, as
in the day," putting on the Lord Jesus (Rom. 13:12,13).

Illumine our hearts, O Master, Who loveth mankind, with the pure light
of Thy Divine knowledge. Open the eyes of our mind to the understanding
of Thy Gospel teaching



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