Friday, November 09, 2007

09/11/07 Fri, 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 69:1-23(24-30)31-38; PM Psalm 73
Ezra 7:27-28, 8:21-36; Rev. 15:1-8; Matt. 14:13-21

From Forward Day by Day:

Psalm 69. But as for me, this is my prayer to you, at the time you have set, O LORD: "In your great mercy, O God, answer me with your unfailing help."

We pray to God who hears our prayers and responds to us, not because we are deserving, but because God loves us so abundantly that he can't help himself. The psalmist prays to God, accepting that God's answer will come at a time of God's choosing.

We live in a culture that thrives on instant gratification. We want everything fast. We do not like to wait. We do not want to experience discomfort of any kind, and we seek immediate relief. Is this how we approach God? Expecting immediate relief? God's time is not our time, and God's answer may differ from what we think we need or want. The psalmist reassures us that God's help is unfailing.

Let us trust that God will hear our prayers and respond to us at the time God has set--a time that is best for usand in a way that is best for us.

...there is yet faith.
But the faith and the love and the hope
are all in the waiting.
T.S. Eliot (d. 1965)

Today we remember:

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Utah (United States)

Speaking to the Soul:

Christ loves childhood

Daily Reading for November 9

One day when the disciples were asking among themselves as to who was of greatest importance in the kingdom of heaven, the evangelist recounts that Jesus “called a little child over and stood the child in their midst and said: ‘I assure you, unless you change and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of God. Whoever strives to be lowly, becoming like this child, is of greatest importance in that heavenly reign.’”

Christ loves the childhood which he first assumed in his soul and body. Christ loves childhood: toward it he steers the conduct of adults and toward it he leads the aged; after its example he fashions those whom he raises to the eternal kingdom.

From a sermon for Epiphany by Leo the Great, in Readings for the Daily Office from the Early Church, edited by J. Robert Wright. Copyright © 1991. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.

Spiritual Practice of the Day

Live all of life as a new experience and
you will be free.
Free from worry.
Free from expectation.
Free from previously gained understandings.
Free from earlier experiences that hold you bound to the positive or negative aspects of other people or external events.

Let everything in life be new.
— Scott Shaw in Zen O'Clock

To Practice This Thought: Celebrate all these freedoms.
++++++++++ Reflections

The beginner must think of themselves as one setting out to make a garden in which the Lord is to take His delight.
St Teresa of Jesus
Life 11.6

Reading from the Desert Christians


Faith and love which are gifts of the Holy Spirit are such great
and powerful means that a person who has them can easily, and with
joy and consolation, go the way Jesus Christ went. Besides this,
the Holy Spirit gives man the power to resist the delusions of the
world so that although he makes use of earthly good, yet he uses
them as a temporary visitor, without attaching his heart to them.
But a man who has not got the Holy Spirit, despite all his
learning and prudence, is always more or less a slave and
worshipper of the world.

St. Innocent of Irkutsk, Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

As we see so many people die at a young age, through wars, starvation, AIDS, street violence, and physical and emotional neglect, we often wonder what the value of their short lives is. It seems that their journeys have been cut off before they could reach any of their goals, realise any of their dreams, or accomplish any of their tasks. But, short as their lives may have been, they belong to that immense communion of saints, from all times and all places, who stand around the throne of the Lamb dressed in white robes proclaiming the victory of the crucified Christ (see Revelation 7:9).

The story of the innocent children murdered by King Herod in his attempt to destroy Jesus (see Matthew 2:13-18), reminds us that saintliness is not just for those who lived long and hardworking lives. These children, and many who died young, are as much witnesses to Jesus as those who accomplished heroic deeds.

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

Drifting from God
November 9th, 2007
Friday’s Reflection

SOMETIMES WHEN GOD asks us, “Where are you?” our response is, “I’m not completely sure. Psychologically as well as spiritually I’m disconnected from God. My life is filled — too full, in fact — with activities, even very positive activities. I’m too tired or too busy to feel prayerful or sensitive to God’s guidance.”

Sometimes we drift from God, to use an image from the book of Hebrews (2:1). You may know the feeling: your faith was once strong, but thanks to a variety of circumstances, you’ve changed and don’t really believe anymore. You’re not even sure God exists. Yet being spiritually empty may be a sign of God’s grace!

- Paul E. Stroble
You Gave Me a Wide Place: Holy Places in Our Lives

From p. 29 of You Gave Me a Wide Place: Holy Places in Our Lives by Paul E. Stroble. Copyright © 2006 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Feet in Both Camps

We have to learn to be both in the world as it is and the world as it should be. One is power; the other is love. Power and love are conjugal partners. Power without love is brutality, but love without power is soon mere sentimentality. We have to put the two together in this world.

Power is not a bad word; it has to be a good word. We cannot live in this world in the perfect kingdom of pure love, where it's structured correctly, where everybody thinks like us, where everybody celebrates liturgy like we think it should be celebrated. We are pilgrims and strangers, walking on the road, like the disciples, with a fragile possession, that we ourselves do not fully possess or even understand.

At this time, which I do believe is a time of exile in the level of culture and Church, cynicism comes far too easily. It's the too easy response, for it requires not surrender, love, trust, virtue. Yet we are called to faith, to the place where we can trust and respect both worlds, the world as it is (power) and the world as it should be (love). To live patiently and humbly without cynicism is the gift of the gospel.

Jesus proclaimed the reign of God in a time of occupation, enslavement and corruption of religion. If he could say, "The kingdom of heaven is in your midst" right now, then how, brothers and sisters, can we do any differently? The genius of biblical faith is the grace to keep one foot firmly in both camps at the same time: the world as it is and the world as it should be.

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.

Heal me

Have mercy on me, O God, in your great kindness. Let us imagine a man seriously injured and gasping for his last draughts of life-giving air. Lying naked on a rubbish heap, he points to his still unbandaged wounds; he longs for a doctor to come, and in his distress begs for pity.

Sin is the soul's wound. You who are wounded, recognize in your hearts who your physician is and uncover to him the wounds of your sins. May he who knows every secret thought hear the groaning of your hearts. Let your suffering reach him, so that to you also it may be said: The Lord has taken away your sin. Cry out with David — see how he speaks: Have mercy on me, O God, in your great kindness. It is as if he were saying: I am in peril from a great wound which no physician can heal, unless the omnipotent physician comes to my aid. No wound is beyond his power of healing; he heals without asking a fee, he restores health by a mere word. I should despair of my wound did I not rely on the Almighty. Have mercy on me, O God, in your great kindness.

Gregory the Great

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


"Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. . . ." Colossians 1:24

The Christian worker has to be a sacramental "go-between," to be so identified with his Lord and the reality of His Redemption that He can continually bring His creating life through him. It is not the strength of one man's personality being superimposed on another, but the real presence of Christ coming through the elements of the worker's life. When we preach the historic facts of the life and death of Our Lord as they are conveyed in the New Testament, our words are made sacramental, God uses them on the ground of His Redemption to create in those who listen that which is not created otherwise. If we preach the effects of Redemption in human life instead of the revelation regarding Jesus, the result in those who listen is not new birth, but refined spiritual culture, and the Spirit of God cannot witness to it because such preaching is in another domain. We have to see that we are in such living sympathy with God that as we proclaim His truth He can create in souls the things which He alone can do.

What a wonderful personality! What a fascinating man! Such marvellous insight! What chance has the Gospel of God through all that? It cannot get through, because the line of attraction is always the line of appeal. If a man attracts by his personality, his appeal is along that line; if he is identified with his Lord's personality, then the appeal is along the line of what Jesus Christ can do. The danger is to glory in men; Jesus says we are to lift Him up.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

March 10, July 10, November 9
Chapter 32: On the Tools and Property of the Monastery

For the care of the monastery's property
in tools, clothing and other articles
let the Abbess appoint sisters
on whose manner of life and character she can rely;
and let her, as she shall judge to be expedient,
consign the various articles to them,
to be looked after and to be collected again.
The Abbess shall keep a list of these articles,
so that
as the sisters succeed one another in their assignments
she may know what she gives and what she receives back.

If anyone treats the monastery's property
in a slovenly or careless way,
let her be corrected.
If she fails to amend,
let her undergo the discipline of the Rule.

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

To those who think for a moment that the spiritual life is an excuse to ignore the things of the world, to go through time suspended above the mundane, to lurch from place to place with a balmy head and a saccharine smile on the face, let this chapter be fair warning. Benedictine spirituality is as much about good order, wise management and housecleaning as it is about the meditative and the immaterial dimensions of life. Benedictine spirituality sees the care of the earth, and the integration of prayer and work, body and soul, as essential parts of the journey to wholeness that answers the emptiness in each of us.

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

Friday, November 9, 2007 Nektarios
of Pentapolis, the Wonderworker
Kellia: Judges 18:1-13 Epistle: 1 Thessalonians 5:9-13, 24-28
Gospel: St. Luke 13:31-35

Anomie II ~ Doing God's Will: Judges 18:1-13, especially vs. 1: "In
those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of
the Danites was seeking for itself an inheritance to dwell in; for until
then no inheritance among the tribes of Israel had fallen to them."
Life in the age of the Judges was similar to the anomie of frontier life
in North America. The Europeans came to settle. Here was a land
"broad; yea, God...given...into [their] hands, a place where there [was]
no lack of anything that is in the earth" (vs. 10). And, as was the
case on the North American frontier, with "no king" and few effective
layers of local government, the social situation of the peoples in
ancient Palestine was free-wheeling, lawless, and often self-justifying.

The tribe of Dan, as the present reading shows, lived an unsettled life
constantly on the defensive against the Philistine peoples who were
settling the coastal region of Palestine from the Mediterranean sea and
encroaching on the territory allotted by God to the tribe of Dan (Josh.
19:40-46). The Danite hero and strong-man, Samson (Jdg. 13:2), spent
twenty years mingling with these invaders and fighting them, and still
conflicts plagued the Danites after his death. With no supportive
central government to aid them (Jdg. 18:1), they resorted to solving
their problems by perpetual migration, always searching for a secure
place of settlement.

The present account of the Danite migration from southwestern Palestine
to the far northeastern reaches of the Promised Land provides a window
for examining the question of how to determine when one is doing the
will of God rather than patching God's Name onto his own desires and
decisions. Clearly, not all of what we call "God's will" is necessarily
of the Lord.

First, the migration of the Danites illustrates the problem of
avoidance, or flight from struggle (Jdg. 18:1). When the tribes entered
Palestine, God specifically declared to Joshua, "...go over this Jordan,
you and all this people, into the land which I Am giving to them, to the
people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread
upon I have given to the Great Sea toward the going down of the
sun shall be your territory" (Josh. 1:2-4). Only because of
disobedience, because of covenanting with the inhabitants of the land,
did the Lord later say, "I will not drive them out before you; but they
shall become adversaries to you, and their gods shall be a snare for
you" (Jdg. 2:3). The problems of the tribe of Dan (as Samson's life
reveals) resulted from "mingling," not from conflict nor from the power
of the Philistines. Flight to solve your problems denies God's
sovereignty and will leave you in endless, fruitless struggle.

Second, the Danites sought spiritual counsel from religious leaders who
were functioning apart from the places of true worship ordained of God.
They decided to scout the land and to migrate, and then they consulted a
Levite at a personal, independent shrine. The scouts asked about the
journey they had already chosen and were pursuing (Jdg. 18:5).
Following the teachings of evangelists or other ministries outside the
Church is a repudiation of what the Lord has provided - a rejection of
God Himself!

Finally, when the scouts found a territory in the far northeast of the
Holy Land - a settlement of Sidonians at Laish - they saw a potential
homeland for their tribe with "none to reprove - none in the land to put
them to shame for any thing" and far away from "intercourse with any
man" (vs. 7). It looked like the perfect paradise apart. But God does
not remove one from this world. Rather, He gives grace within the
circumstances of your present life to struggle so as to grow closer to
Him. The only lasting solution in life is obeying the Lord.

O Christ, our true God, by the might of Thy precious and life-giving
Cross, the protection of Thy Bodiless Powers, and the prayers of all Thy
Saints, have mercy upon us and save us!



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