Tuesday, October 23, 2007

23/10/07 Tues after 21st week after Pentecost, Feast of St James of Jerusalem


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, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Grant, O God, that, following the example of your servant James the Just, brother of our Lord, your Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 26, 28; PM Psalm 36, 39
Lam. 1:1-5(6-9)10-12; 1 Cor. 15:41-50; Matt. 11:25-30

From Forward Day by Day:

Matthew 13:54-58. Are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?

Modern Christians sometimes speak of "Jesus our brother," meaning that we are as close as family, but not that Jesus is our literal sibling. Can you imagine having Jesus as a family member? Did Jesus and James argue about whose turn it was to milk the goat? Did they squabble in the back of the donkey cart so that Joseph threatened to turn around and take them home? Did they spin dreams about what they would be or do when they grew up? How hard would it be to recognize the God-with-us uniqueness of such a brother? Jesus said a prophet is without honor in his own house. Maybe that's because his own people have to listen to him all the time. James (but not, as far as we know, Jesus' other brothers) came to recognize the divinity in Jesus and played a key role in the
Jerusalem church. It is hard to hear the voice of God through those whose words also deal with the trivia of day-to-day life.

Is there someone as close as family in your life who might actually have something of God's word for you? It is hard to speak God's word to those so close, and even harder to listen to them.

Today we remember:

St. James of Jerusalem:
AM: Psalm 119:145-168; Jeremiah 11:18-23; Matthew 10:16-22
PM: Psalm 122, 125; Isaiah 65:17-25; Hebrews 12:12-24


Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Tirunelveli (South India)

Speaking to the Soul:

True community

Daily Reading for October 23 • St. James of Jerusalem, Brother of our Lord Jesus Christ and Martyr, c. 62

It is quite easy to found a community. There are always plenty of courageous people who want to be heroes, are ready to sleep on the ground, to work hard hours each day, to live in dilapidated houses. It’s not hard to camp—anyone can rough it for a time. So the problem is not in getting the community started—there’s always enough energy for take-off. The problem comes when we are in orbit and going round and round the same circuit. The problem is in living with brothers and sisters whom we have not chosen but who have been given to us, and in working ever more truthfully towards the goals of the community.

A community which is just an explosion of heroism is not a true community. True community implies a way of living and seeing reality; it implies above all fidelity in the daily round. And this is made up of simple things—getting meals, using and washing the dishes and using them again, going to meetings—as well as gifts, joy and celebration.

A community is only being created when its members accept that they are not going to achieve great things, that they are not going to be heroes, but simply live each day with new hope, like children, in wonderment as the sun rises and in thanksgiving as it sets. Community is only being created when they have recognized that human greatness is to accept our insignificance, our human condition and our earth, and to thank God for having put in a finite body the seeds of eternity which are visible in small and daily gestures of love and forgiveness. The beauty of humanity is in this fidelity to the wonder of each day.

From Community and Growth by Jean Vanier (Darton, Longman & Todd, 1979).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

May I never find myself yawning at life.
— Japanese Christian leader Toyohiko Kagawa quoted in Zen and the Art of Anything by Hal W. French

To Practice This Thought: Fight boredom with wonder.
++++++++++ Reflections

Our most holy King has much more to give: He would rejoice to do nothing but give could He find souls capable of receiving.
St Teresa of Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians


"Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your
Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the
sake of your salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are
terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers
ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in
laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off,
my beloved soul, holy repentence, contrition of heart and penance
for your sins."

St. Paisius Velichkovsky

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Being in the Church, Not of It

Often we hear the remark that we have live in the world without being of the world. But it may be more difficult to be in the Church without being of the Church. Being of the Church means being so preoccupied by and involved in the many ecclesial affairs and clerical "ins and outs" that we are no longer focused on Jesus. The Church then blinds us from what we came to see and deafens us to what we came to hear. Still, it is in the Church that Christ dwells, invites us to his table, and speaks to us words of eternal love.

Being in the Church without being of it is a great spiritual challenge.

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

Day Twenty Three - The First Note, cont'd

Humility confesses that we have nothing that we have not received and admits the fact of our insufficiency and our dependence upon God. It is the basis of all Christian virtues. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said, "No spiritual house can stand for a moment except on the foundation of humility." It is the first condition of a joyful life within any community.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Set Your Heart
October 23rd, 2007
Tuesday’s Reflection

WAIT FOR THE LORD. Set your face toward the East and your heart toward the One who is to come. Wait for the Lord. Anticipate his presence, for he is very near and he is coming to make all things new. Amen.

- Pamela C. Hawkins
Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent

From page 23 of Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent by Pamela C. Hawkins. Copyright © 2007 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

African Lessons

(Written in Africa) The missionaries here love to talk about their peoples. At every meal, I inquire about the ways of the different cultures: the hard-working Kikuyu, the fascinating Masai, the exotic and primitive tribes of Turkana and others. The more I travel, the more it becomes evident that it is culture what finally and firmly forms our attitudes—so deeply that we don’t recognize them as chosen attitudes. It is an emotional seeing that is not easily challenged or overcome. How will God ever make unity out of our extraordinary diversity, especially when each culture is so committed to its own pair of glasses? My best memory from this trip to Africa is the young man who gave me two of his carvings in exchange for my watch. I got the bargain: he gave me himself, his art, and took away a tyrant from my wrist. All I really gave him was my address, since he wanted to write. The poor don’t know how to lose.

from St. Anthony Messenger, “African Journal”

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

Look into our own hearts

What the Master is saying is this: "If I do not pass judgment, neither must you, my disciple. You may be even more guilty of the faults of which you accuse another. Will you not be ashamed when you come to realize this?" The Lord uses another illustration for the same teaching when he says: Why do you look for the speck in your brother's eye?

With compelling arguments Christ persuades us that we should not want to judge others, but should rather examine our own hearts, and strive to expel the passions seated in them, asking this grace from God. He it is who heals the contrite of heart and frees us from our spiritual disorders. If your own sins are greater and worse than other people's, why do you censure them, and neglect what concerns yourself?

This precept, then, is essential for all who wish to live a holy life, and particularly for those who have undertaken the instruction of others. If they are virtuous and self-restrained, giving an example of the gospel way of life by their own actions, they will rebuke those who do not choose to live as they do in a friendly way, so as not to break their own habit of gentleness.

Cyril of Alexandria

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


"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away." 2 Corinthians 5:17

Our Lord never nurses our prejudices, He mortifies them, runs clean athwart them. We imagine that God has a special interest in our particular prejudices; we are quite sure that God will never deal with us as He has to deal with other people. "God must deal with other people in a very stern way, but of course He knows that my prejudices are all right." We have to learn - "Not a bit of it!" Instead of God being on the side of our prejudices, He is deliberately wiping them out. It is part of our moral education to have our prejudices run straight across by His providence, and to watch how He does it. God pays no respect to anything we bring to Him. There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender.

When we are born again, the Holy Spirit begins to work His new creation in us, and there will come a time when there is not a bit of the old order left, the old solemnity goes, the old attitude to things goes, and "all things are of God." How are we going to get the life that has no lust, no self-interest, no sensitiveness to pokes, the love that is not provoked, that thinketh no evil, that is always kind? The only way is by allowing not a bit of the old life to be left; but only simple perfect trust in God, such trust that we no longer want God's blessings, but only want Himself. Have we come to the place where God can withdraw His blessings and it does not affect our trust in Him? When once we see God at work, we will never bother our heads about things that happen, because we are actually trusting in our Father in Heaven Whom the world cannot see.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 22, June 23, October 23
Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said

At Terce, Sext and None on Monday
let the nine remaining sections of Psalm 118 be said,
three at each of these Hours.

Psalm 118 having been completed, therefore,
on two days, Sunday and Monday,
let the nine Psalms from Psalm 119 to Psalm 127
be said at Terce, Sext and None,
three at each Hour,
beginning with Tuesday.
And let these same Psalms be repeated every day until Sunday
at the same Hours,
while the arrangement of hymns, lessons and verses
is kept the same on all days;
and thus Prime on Sunday will always begin with Psalm 118.

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

There is none for today.

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

Tuesday, October 23,
2007 Apostle James,
Brother of the Lord
Kellia: Judges 5:1-18 Epistle: Colossians
2:20-33 Gospel: St. Luke 11:1-10

Deborah II ~ Christ God, Victor: Judges 5:1-18 LXX, especially vss. 2,
3: "A revelation was made in Israel when the people were made willing:
Praise ye the Lord! Hear, ye kings, and hearken, rulers: I will sing,
it is I who will sing to the Lord, it is I, I will sing a psalm to the
Lord the God of Israel." The victory Song of Deborah and Barak is an
ancient ballad of triumph among the songs of the People of God, akin to
the Song of Moses (The First Ode: Exodus 15:1-19) and the Ninth Ode or
the Magnificat of the Theotokos (Lk 1:46-55). The message of all the
ballads of God's People sung to the Lord is one that lifts up praise to
"the Lord, the God of Israel" for great blessings received at His hand
(Jdg. 5:3). Blessings belongs to Him alone Who alone is blessed! He
blesses and leaders lead, people follow willingly, and "the kings of
Canaan fought in Taanach at the water of Megiddo; [but] they took no
gift of money" (vs. 19). Hear the music of Holy Scripture! The same
theme repeats all through Scripture: "Our God is the God of salvation,
and the pathways leading forth from death are those of the Lord's Lord"
(Ps. 67:21).

The Lord our God is presented as the Mighty One: "O Lord, in Thy going
forth on Seir, when Thou wentest forth out of the land of Edom, the
earth quaked and the heaven dropped dews, and the clouds dropped water.
The mountains were shaken before the face of the Lord Elohim, this Sinai
before the face of the Lord God of Israel" (Jdgs. 5:4-5). At His
presence, creation quakes, mountains are shaken, the earth trembles.
Man cannot rest and be at ease before the presence of God. When the
Lord is known in His power, fear and trembling are inevitable.

When Christ our God yielded up His spirit, "then, behold, the veil of
the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and
the rocks were split" (Mt. 27:51). Likewise, "as the first day of the
week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the
tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the
Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the
door, and sat on it" (Mt. 28:1-2). Tremble, O earth, for Christ is
risen as He foretold. "The guards shook for fear of [the angel] and
became like dead men" (Mt. 28:4).

However, when man dominates - Jabin, Herod, Caesar, Tamerlane, or Stalin
- it is always the same as it was in Israel: "men deserted the ways, and
went in by-ways; they went in crooked paths. The mighty men in Israel
failed" (Jdgs. 5:6,7). Man's control, when unchecked, oppresses. The
people choose new gods, cities of rulers fight among themselves, the arm
of the state disarms the people (vs. 8). Thus, by human logic, Pilate
asks, "Dost Thou not know that I have power to crucify Thee, and power
to release Thee? (Jn. 19:10). God's People plead: "O Lord, increase
righteous acts in Israel" (Jdgs 5:11). Yes, "Let God arise and let His
enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Him flee from before His
face" (Ps. 67:1 LXX).

Deborah's and Barak's victory is a type [a model, a foreshadowing] of
the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. "The kings of Canaan fought in
Taanach at the water of Megiddo" but "the stars from heaven set
themselves in array, they set themselves to fight with Sisera out of
their paths" (Jdgs. 5:19,20). God defeats them with His creations. The
"traitor...forgot that the whole world doth not equal one soul, as [he]
didst learn; for burning with despair, [he] didst hang [himself]." And
Sisera fled on foot in defeat, and "all the powers of heaven praise
Thee, and unto Thee we ascribe glory to the Father and to the Son and to
the Holy Spirit."

For "Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death and
upon those in the tombs bestowing life,"
Come all ye nations, learn the power of this awesome mystery; for Christ
our Savior was crucified for us, and was buried of His own will and
arose from the death to save us all.



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