Tuesday, November 06, 2007

06/11/07 Tues in the 23rd wk 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 merciful God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service: Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; 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 61, 62; PM Psalm 68:1-20(21-23)24-36
Neh. 12:27-31a,42b-47; Rev. 11:1-19; Matt. 13:44-52

From Forward Day by Day:

Psalm 62. For God alone my soul in silence waits; from him comes my salvation.

Waiting in silence for God is not one of my strengths. I usually do not "wait" until I have exhausted all my own efforts. It is only in utter defeat that I finally "let go and let God."

In distressing situations, we usually try to change the situation into one more to our liking. Many of us experience great anxiety when we feel out of control. Powerlessness is frightening. And yet powerlessness is often the catalyst for setting things right. Letting go of our need to control can set into motion forces that will bring about the resolution of our problem. I believe that God works through us and that God can inspire action on behalf of others or on our own behalf.

As the teacher in Ecclesiastes said, there is "a time to keep silence, and a time to speak." I guess it is a matter of order. Perhaps "waiting in silence" for God is the first step we should take. Whatever action follows may be more powerful if prayer and meditation have preceded it.

Let us practice waiting for God in silence.

Today we remember:

William Temple:
Psalm 119: 97-104
Ephesians 3:7-12; John 1:9-18


Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Umzimvubu (South Africa)

Speaking to the Soul:

William Temple

Daily Reading for November 6 • William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1944

Christianity and Social Order, published in 1942, was Temple's last and perhaps his most provocative book, in which he articulated the principles which had guided his political activity and challenged many popular assumptions. The church is not a department of life concerned only with personal beliefs and devotional practices, he wrote. From earliest times, the church has spoken out on public matters, and it is only in recent years that this right has been questioned. When the economic order fails to build Christian character, the church must seek to change it. "The church may tell the politician what ends the social order should promote; but it must leave to the politician the devising of the precise means to those ends," Temple wrote. Society should be structured to give each person the widest opportunity to become what God has placed it in that person to become, Temple said. He saw personal freedom (maximum individual choice), social fellowship (strengthening family, national, and international ties), and service (wider loyalties taking priority over narrow ones) as the key principles leading to such a society."The art of government," Temple wrote, "in fact is the art of so ordering life that self-interest prompts what justice demands."

From the introduction to William Temple in Glorious Companions: Five Centuries of Anglican Spirituality by Richard H. Schmidt (Eerdmans, 2002).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

It's easy to criticize others and make them feel unwanted. Anyone can do it. What takes effort and skill is picking them up and making them feel good.
— Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

To Practice This Thought: Make an effort to praise those you work with and to overlook their failings.
++++++++++ Reflections

Take God for your bridegroom and friend, and walk with him continually; and you will not sin and will learn to love, and the things you must do will work out prosperously for you.
St John of the Cross
Sayings of Light and Love, 68.

Reading from the Desert Christians


Beguiling and deceptive is the life of the world, fruitless its
labor, perilous its delight, poor its riches, delusive its honors,
inconstant, insignificant; and woe to those who hope in its
seeming goods: because of this many die without repentance.
Blessed and mos blessed are those who depart from the world and
its desires.

Elder Nazarius

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

A Ministry of Healing and Reconciliation

How does the Church witness to Christ in the world? First and foremost by giving visibility to Jesus' love for the poor and the weak. In a world so hungry for healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, and most of all unconditional love, the Church must alleviate that hunger through its ministry. Wherever we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the lonely, listen to those who are rejected, and bring unity and peace to those who are divided, we proclaim the living Christ, whether we speak about him or not.

It is important that whatever we do and wherever we go, we remain in the Name of Jesus, who sent us. Outside his Name our ministry will lose its divine energy.

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

Day Six - The First Aim, cont'd

The primary aim for us as tertiaries is therefore to make Christ known. This shapes our lives and attitudes to reflect the obedience of those whom our Lord chose to be with him and sent out as his witnesses. Like them, by word and example, we bear witness to Christ in our own immediate environment and pray and work for the fulfillment of his command to make disciples of all nations.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Born in the Heart of God
November 6th, 2007
Tuesday’s Reflection

URGENCY for the well-being of the earth is born in the heart of God. The divine desire moves through the world, seeking to make all creatures radiant with goodness and alive with righteousness. True prayer includes every desire of our own that helps align us with this loving movement of the Spirit. Once we realize this, we’re very close to prayer “without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).

- Robert Corin Morris
Wrestling with Grace

From page 203 of Wrestling with Grace: A Spirituality for the Rough Edges of Daily Life by Robert Corin Morris. Copyright © 2003 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Birth Pangs

All this is only the beginning of the birth pangs. (Matthew 24:8, JB)

Birth pangs are an image of something painful that is bringing about something better. The price for bringing about something better is to go through the pain of birth. Male gods create by a flick of their creative finger. Female gods create by labor pains. Much of patriarchal Christian interpretation has been trying to avoid pain; it thought birth pangs were unnecessary. That's why we couldn't hear Jesus.

If we had an image of God as the great Mother who is birthing, I think birth pangs would have been preached about a lot more. And a woman—at least a woman who has had a child—understands something I will never understand: the connection between pain and life.

from Sermon on the Mount

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

The things of heaven

If we could see what we will receive in the life to come (as a reward for what we have done here), we would cease to occupy ourselves with anything but the things of heaven. But God, who desires that we see by faith and who desires that we not do good because of selfish motives, gives us this vision little by little, sufficient to the level of faith of which we are capable. In this manner, God leads us into a greater vision of that which is to come until faith is no longer needed.

On the other hand, if we were somehow informed that we were about to die, and that the life that awaits us will be miserable because of our sins, and that we would have to suffer eternally, I feel sure that we -- for fear of it -- would rather let ourselves be killed than commit one single sin! But God -- as unwilling as he is that we avoid sin out of the motive of fear and therefore never lets us see it -- will show it in part to souls who are clothed and occupied with him.

Catherine of Genoa

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


"Believest thou this?" John 11:26

Martha believed in the power at the disposal of Jesus Christ, she believed that if He had been present He could have healed her brother; she also believed that Jesus had a peculiar intimacy with God and that whatever He asked of God, God would do; but she needed a closer personal intimacy with Jesus. Martha's programme of belief had its fulfilment in the future; Jesus led her on until her belief became a personal possession, and then slowly emerged into a particular inheritance - "Yea, Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ. . . "

Is there something like that in the Lord's dealings with you? Is Jesus educating you into a personal intimacy with Himself? Let Him press home His question to you - "Believest thou this?" What is your ordeal of doubt? Have you come, like Martha, to some overwhelming passage in your circumstances where your programme of belief is about to emerge into a personal belief? This can never be until a personal need arises out of a personal problem.

To believe is to commit. In the programme of mental belief I commit myself, and abandon all that is not related to that commitment. In personal belief I commit myself morally to this way of confidence and refuse to compromise with any other; and in particular belief I commit myself spiritually to Jesus Christ, and determine in that thing to be dominated by the Lord alone.

When I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and He says to me - "Believest thou this?" I find that faith is as natural as breathing, and I am staggered that I was so stupid as not to trust Him before.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

March 7, July 7, November 6
Chapter 30: How Boys Are to Be Corrected

Every age and degree of understanding
should have its proper measure of discipline.
With regard to boys and adolescents, therefore,
or those who cannot understand the seriousness
of the penalty of excommunication,
whenever such as these are delinquent
let them be subjected to severe fasts
or brought to terms by harsh beatings,
that they may be cured.

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

site needs to be updated

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 Paul the Confessor,
Archbishop of Constantinople
Kellia: Judges 16:1-14 Epistle: 1 Thessalonians
3:9-13 Gospel: St. Luke 12:42-48

Samson V ~ Vigilance: Judges 16:1-14, especially vs. 5: "And the princes
of the Philistines came up to her, and said to her, Beguile him, and see
wherein his great strength is, and wherewith we shall prevail against
him, and bind him to humble him; and we will give thee each eleven
hundred pieces of silver." The record states that Samson "judged Israel
in the days of the Philistines twenty years" (Jdg. 15:20). Having been
trained in the school of bitter experience under the persistent tutelage
of the Holy Spirit, Samson seems to have attended to his Nazirite duties
and avoided further distractions of his eye for Philistine women.

However, after twenty long years, Samson's weakness returned in the
moment he relaxed his vigilance. He would have been blessed by St. John
of the Ladder's counsel to expel "love with love...the material fire by
the immaterial fire." For, as St. John says, "a fox pretends to be
asleep, and the body and demons pretend to be chaste; the former in
order to deceive a bird, and the latter in order to destroy a soul."
The counsel is wise: "throughout your life, do not trust your body, and
do not rely on it till you stand before Christ." Samson's life is God's
warning to you: never be assured by the untroubled passage of time that
you cannot be lured by your passions.

Come, let us examine the record of Holy Scripture and find the wisdom
from God for ourselves concerning vigilance. Why should we haplessly
defile our life in Christ and pay some terrible price as Samson did
through inattention and indolence? And what a shame to allow our
God-given strength to be wasted! With his supernatural strength, Samson
might have led Israel out of "the hand of the Philistines" (Jdg. 13:1),
a victory God would ultimately give to the great King and Prophet David
- and that many years later.

Observe the simple opening statement of this passage: "Samson went to
Gaza" (Jdg. 16:1). Let past experience set off alarms in your memory!
If drinking is a problem, why do you frequent bars? Don't carry credit
cards or cash if spending is your temptation. Vigilance must stand on
the high place to see where the next path leads. Alcoholics know that
it is not the first drink that overcomes, but the entertaining of
negative thoughts. Whatever momentary thought suggested Gaza to Samson,
he went into a setting sure to inflame his passion.

The demon of fornication is pitiless, as St. John of the Ladder says,
and "with nature on his side, he has the best of the argument." Samson
had only to "see" a harlot, and he went in to her (vs. 1). The dam of
restraint was breached by mere sight. St. John of the Ladder adds that
"great is he who remains unwounded by the sense of sight, and who...has
conquered the fire caused by sight." Samson himself opened the door to
trouble, and a flood of evils followed his escape from Gaza. He fell in
love with Delilah (vs. 4)! But we have gifts from God to save us when
temptation comes: repent, use the Mystery of confession, take up prayer,
turn to God!

Apparently in Samson's whole life he did not consider the wisdom of his
parents, "there are no daughters of thy brethren?" (Jdg. 14:3). While
Delilah was a trap, she also was an alarm for one practiced in
vigilance. How is vigilance practiced? Nikiphoros the Monk says,
"Train your intellect not to leave your heart." He speaks of the nous,
the eye of the heart. As the physical eye roams, so may the nous.
Nikiphoros adds: "Banish...all thoughts...and in their place put the
prayer, 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me,' and compel
[the nous] to repeat this prayer will assuredly open
for you the entrance to your heart." There is the gate to the Kingdom
of Heaven; and, when Heaven is attained, the soul is fully satisfied.

May the demons perish from the presence of us, Thy weak and impure
servants, who sign ourselves with the sign of the Cross and cry out unto
Thee, Help us and save us, O our Savior.



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