Wednesday, November 14, 2007

14/11/07 Wed, 24th week after pentecost, Consecration of Samuel Seabury


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, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

PRAYER (contemporary language)
We give you thanks, O Lord our God, for your goodness in bestowing upon this Church the gift of the episcopate, which we celebrate in this remembrance of the consecration of Samuel Seabury; and we pray that, joined together in unity with our bishops, and nourished by your holy Sacraments, we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal; 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 119:97-120; PM Psalm 81, 82
Neh. 7:73b-8:3,5-18; Rev. 18:21-24; Matt. 15:29-39

From Forward Day by Day:

Psalm 119:97-120. How sweet are your words to my taste! they are sweeter than honey to my mouth. Through your commandments I gain understanding.

When we observe the commandments of God, we come to a greater understanding of them. If we tell ourselves that we will observe the commandments only after we understand them, we will never understand them and we will not reap the benefits of observing them. Doing precedes knowing. It is through practicing the commandments that understanding comes.

People in programs of recovery from addiction learn the steps to take and the maxims to follow in order to achieve freedom from addiction. When they practice the program and do what is suggested, they come to understand how freedom is achieved. Words of guidance, which may have seemed onerous in the beginning, become sweeter than honey when understanding comes.

Let us practice the greatest commandments--to love God and our neighbor--and daily grow in understanding as we grow in love.

Today we remember:

Consecration of Samuel Seabury:
Psalm 133 or 33:1-5,20-21
Acts 20:28-32; Matthew 9:35-38

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

Speaking to the Soul:

Samuel Seabury

Daily Reading for November 14 • Consecration of Samuel Seabury, First American Bishop, 1784

The general practice in this country is to have monthly Communions, and I bless God the Holy Ordinance is so often administered. Yet when I consider its importance, both on account of the positive command of Christ and of the many and great benefits we receive from it, I cannot but regret that it does not make a part of every Sunday’s solemnity. That it was the principal part of the daily worship of the primitive Christians all the early accounts inform us. And it seems probable from the Acts of the Apostles that the Christians came together in their religious meetings chiefly for its celebration. And the ancient writers generally interpret the petition in our Lord’s prayer, ‘Give us this day,’ or day by day, ‘our daily bread,’ of the spiritual food in the Holy Eucharist. Why daily nourishment should not be as necessary to our souls as to our bodies no good reason can be given.

If the Holy Communion was steadily administered whenever there is an Epistle and Gospel appointed, which seems to have been the original intention, I cannot help thinking that it would revive the esteem and reverence Christians once had for it, and would show its good effects in their lives and conversations. I hope the time will come when this pious and Christian practice may be renewed. In the meantime, let me beseech you to make good use of the opportunities you have; and let nothing but real necessity keep you from the heavenly banquet when you have it in your power to partake of it.

May the consideration of this subject have its proper effect upon every one of you! And the God of peace be with you, keep you in the unity of His Church, and in the bond of peace and in all righteousness of life, guide you by His Spirit through this world, and receive you to glory through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From “An Earnest Persuasive to Frequent Communion” by Samuel Seabury, quoted in Love’s Redeeming Work: The Anglican Quest for Holiness, compiled by Geoffrey Rowell, Kenneth Stevenson, and Rowan Williams (Oxford, 2001).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

Insights from myth, dreams, and intuitions, from glimpses of an invisible reality, and from perennial human wisdom provide us with hints and guesses about the meaning of life and what we are here for. Prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action are the means through which we grow and find meaning.
— Jean Shinoda Bolen in Close to the Bone

To Practice This Thought: Talk or write about an insight gained from doing spiritual practice that has given you a deeper sense of the meaning of your life.
++++++++++ Reflections

The spirit of God, insofar as it is hidden in the veins of the soul, is like soft refreshing water which satisfies the thirst of the spirit.
St John of the Cross
Living Flame, 3.8

Reading from the Desert Christians


Behold, this is the true and the Christian humility. In this you
will be able to achieve victory over every vice, by attributing to
God rather than to yourself the fact that you have won.

St. Martin of Braga

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Fruit of Our Communal Life

Our society encourages individualism. We are constantly made to believe that everything we think, say, or do, is our personal accomplishment, deserving individual attention. But as people who belong to the communion of saints, we know that anything of spiritual value is not the result of individual accomplishment but the fruit of a communal life.

Whatever we know about God and God's love; whatever we know about Jesus - his life, death, and resurrection - whatever we know about the Church and its ministry, is not the invention of our minds asking for an award. It is the knowledge that has come to us through the ages from the people of Israel and the prophets, from Jesus and the saints, and from all who have played roles in the formation of our hearts. True spiritual knowledge belongs to the communion of saints.

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

Day Fourteen - The First Way of Service -


Tertiaries seek to live in an atmosphere of praise and prayer. We aim to be constantly aware of God's presence, so that we may indeed pray without ceasing. Our ever deepening devotion to the indwelling Christ is a source of strength and joy. It is Christ's love that inspires us to service, and strengthens us for sacrifice.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

God, I Am Here
November 14th, 2007
Wednesday’s Reflection

ONE EARLY MORNING I stopped and talked with an older man who told me his story. He said, “I am not a religious man, but every morning I say, ‘God, I am here. What do you want me to do?’” His comment seemed more religious to me than pious performances and meaningless rituals.

- Richard Morgan
Settling In

From p. 51 of Settling In: My First Year in a Retirement Community by Richard Morgan. Copyright © 2006 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

A Center for Action and Contemplation

People have liked and affirmed our long name since the beginning. It was cumbersome, but also descriptive and up front. We hoped it would keep us honest and force us toward balance and ongoing integration. No one could meaningfully disagree with the stated goal. It was classic and rather universal spirituality.

But after four years, I have reason to believe that some might agree with the title for the wrong reasons. Activists can see it as an affirmation of their agenda and introverts can use it to affirm quiet time, not working, and leisure-class navel-gazing. Neither is the delicate balance and art that we are hoping for.

Action as we are using the word does not mean activism, busyness, or "do-goodism."Action does mean a decisive commitment toward involvement and engagement in the social order. Issues will not be resolved by mere reflection, discussion or even prayer. God "works together with" all those who love (Romans 8:28).

By contemplation we mean the deliberate seeking of God through a willingness to detach from the passing self, the tyranny of emotions, the addiction to self-image and the false promises of this world. Contemplation is the "divine therapy" and the perennial clearinghouse for the soul.

It is important that we continue to clarify and hold to these two pivots of our lives. Rightly sought, action and contemplation will always regulate, balance and convert one another. Separately, they are dead-ended and trapped in personality. The clear goal of our center is to meet people "where they are" and help them trust "where they are not." For all of us, it is an endless rhythmic dance. The step changes now and then, but Someone Else always leads.

from Radical Grace, Not the Center for Activism and Introspection

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

The word of God is like a two-edged sword

The Savior's command Search the scriptures shows how profitable they are for us. So search them, and hold fast to what they say with great exactitude and faith. Then, when the divine scriptures have given you an accurate knowledge of God's will, you will be able to distinguish without error between good and evil, and will not listen to every spirit, or be carried away by harmful thoughts.

You may be certain that nothing is so conducive to our salvation as following the divine commandments of the Savior. Nevertheless we shall have to shed many tears, and shall need great fear, great patience, and constant prayer before the import of even a word of the Master can be revealed to us. Only then shall we perceive the great mystery hidden in short sayings, and be ready to die for the smallest detail of the commandments of God. For the word of God is like a two-edged sword, cutting off and separating the soul from all bodily desire and sensation. More than that, it is like a blazing fire, because it stirs up zeal in our souls, and makes us disregard all the sorrows of life, consider every trial we encounter a joy, and desire and embrace death, so fearful to others, as life and the means of attaining life.

Symeon the New Theologian

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


"I being in the way, the Lord led me. . ." Genesis 24:27

We have to be so one with God that we do not continually need to ask for guidance. Sanctification means that we are made the children of God, and the natural life of a child is obedience - until he wishes to be disobedient, then instantly there is the intuitive jar. In the spiritual domain the intuitive jar is the monition of the Spirit of God. When He gives the check, we have to stop at once and be renewed in the spirit of our mind in order to make out what God's will is. If we are born again of the Spirit of God, it is the abortion of piety to ask God to guide us here and there. "The Lord led me," and on looking back we see the presence of an amazing design, which, if we are born of God, we will credit to God.

We can all see God in exceptional things, but it requires the culture of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail. Never allow that the haphazard is anything less than God's appointed order, and be ready to discover the Divine designs any where.

Beware of making a fetish of consistency to your convictions instead of being devoted to God. I shall never do that - in all probability you will have to, if you are a saint. There never was a more inconsistent Being on this earth than Our Lord, but He was never inconsistent to His Father. The one consistency of the saint is not to a principle, but to the Divine life. It is the Divine life which continually makes more and more discoveries about the Divine mind. It is easier to be a fanatic than a faithful soul, because there is something amazingly humbling, particularly to our religious conceit, in being loyal to God.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 36: On the Sick

Before all things and above all things,
care must be taken of the sick,
so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person;
for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me" (Matt 25:36),
and, "What you did for one of these least ones, you did for Me" (Matt.25:40).
But let the sick on their part consider
that they are being served for the honor of God,
and let them not annoy their sisters who are serving them
by their unnecessary demands.
Yet they should be patiently borne with,
because from such as these is gained a more abundant reward.
Therefore the Abbess shall take the greatest care
that they suffer no neglect.

For these sick let there be assigned a special room
and an attendant who is God-fearing, diligent and solicitous.
Let the use of baths be afforded the sick
as often as may be expedient;
but to the healthy, and especially to the young,
let them be granted more rarely.
let the use of meat be granted to the sick who are very weak,
for the restoration of their strength;
but when they are convalescent,
let all abstain from meat as usual.

The Abbess shall take the greatest care
that the sick be not neglected by the cellarers or the attendants;
for she also is responsible for what is done wrongly by her disciples.

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

The rabbis say, "The purpose of maintaining the body in good health is to make it possible for you to acquire wisdom." Benedictine spirituality is about coming to a sense of the fullness of life. It is not about being self-destructive or living sour lives or dropping down pits of privacy so deep that no other ever dare intrude. Benedictine spirituality never gives up on life even though death is known to be the entry to its everlasting joy. Why? Because, the rabbi shows us, every day we have gives us another chance to become the real persons we are meant to be. Why? Because, the scripture says, to serve the sick is to serve the Christ.

The point for us all, perhaps, is never to give up on life and never to doubt that every bit of kindness, every tender touch we lay upon another in life can heal what might otherwise have died, certainly in them, perhaps even in ourselves.

Care for the sick, in the mind of Benedict, is not a simple warehousing process, though that in itself could have been a great contribution to a society without hospitals. Care for the sick, in Benedictine spirituality, is to be done with faith, with attention and with a care beyond the technical. The infirmarian is to be "concerned." Baths, a very important part of Roman therapy and hygiene in a hot and sticky climate, and red meat, a treat used only rarely in early monastic houses both because of its scarcity and because of its purported relationship to sexual agitation, are both given generously and recklessly. Care of the sick, you see, is done in the name of God and to the person of the suffering Christ. Nothing was too much. Nothing was to be spared. Nothing that could do good was to be called forbidden.

We have to ask ourselves, in a society of technological health care, how much of it we do with faith and lavish attention and depth of soul and a love that drives out repulsion. We have to ask ourselves how willing we are to take a little of our own energy in behalf of those who are no longer the life of the party, the help on the job? How much of our own precious time do we spend on those with little time left?

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 The Holy and
All-Praised Apostle Philip
Kellia: Judges 19:27-20:11 Epistle: 2 Thessalonians
2:1-12 Gospel: St. Luke 15:1-10

Brotherhood ~ Breached: Judges 19:27-20 11 LXX, especially vss. 8, 9:
"And all the people rose up as one man, saying, No one of us shall
return to his tent, and no one of us shall return to his house. And now
this is the thing which shall be done in Gibeah: we will go up against
it by lot." When God the Lord gave the Law of the Covenant to the
People of Israel at Sinai, He ratified His commitment to the covenant by
declaring to them: "And thou shalt serve the Lord thy God, and I will
bless thy bread and thy wine and thy water and I will turn away sickness
from you" (Ex. 23:25). And afterward, "Moses went in and related to the
people all the words of God and the ordinances; and all the people
answered with one voice, saying, All the words which the Lord has spoken
we will do and be obedient" (Ex. 24:3). This covenant between God and
His People was solemnly ratified: "the appearance of the glory of the
Lord was as a burning fire on the top of the mountain before the
children of Israel" (Ex. 24:17).

Among the statutes of Covenant applicable to the barbarism at Gibeah of
Benjamin are the two obvious ones: "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Ex.
20:13) and "Thou shalt not kill" (Ex. 20:15). Then, there were these
additional specific ordinances: "If [a female slave] be not pleasing to
her master, after she has betrothed herself to him [as in the case of
the concubine], he shall let her go free." (Ex. 21:7). "Thou shalt not
associate with the multitude for evil" (Ex. 23:2), "Thou shalt abstain
from every unjust thing: thou shalt not slay the innocent and just" (Ex.
23:7). "And ye shall not afflict a stranger, for ye know the heart of a
stranger; for ye were yourselves strangers in the land of Egypt" (Ex.
23:9). This extract makes perfectly obvious the violence of the grief
of the Levite and the outrage of the people of Israel against the men of
Gibeah of Benjamin. Do you know the tears? Is outrage coursing in your

The present passage calls what happened "wickedness" (Jdgs. 20:3),
"lewdness" and "abomination" (vs. 20:6). "Abomination" is appropriate
because the acts of the mob were an evil omen completed without cause
against the home and welcomed guests of an old man from "the hill
country of Ephraim" (Jdgs. 19:16-18). Still more, they were direct
affronts to the Lord of the Holy Covenant. The mob swept past the
universal law of God applicable to all men, at all times, everywhere.
Their deed is aptly called "wickedness" because they intended to act in
"a manner likely to cause harm, distress, trouble, and loss of life" -
the language of the dictionary definition of "wickedness." "Lewdness"
applies especially since the gang rape intended against the Levite
(Jdgs. 19:22) and carried out against the concubine (Jdgs. 19:25) was,
either way, both impure and grossly obscene. The balance beam of
justice requires restoration and a setting even of the score.

All Israel heard the facts of this breach of brotherhood within the
People of God (Jdgs. 20:3-6), took counsel before the Lord (vs. 20:2),
and laid a plan to deal with the perpetrators (vss. 20:8-10). They were
unanimous in their response and judgment (vss. 20:1,11), for the Divine
Law received through Moses requires "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand
for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe
for stripe" (Ex. 21:24). When undisguised evil is allowed to stand
within a nation, society descends into the rule of might makes right.
Societies world-wide, including Orthodox nations, must consider vicious
acts worthy of punishment. Otherwise, the mystery of evil in this world
will impose the authority of iniquity over all, and the reign of
degenerate terror inevitably will follow. Pray for the courts and
rulers of your nation so that governments may rightly strive to protect
its citizens and punish criminals. Lord save us!

We beseech Thee, O good Judge and Lord, to bless and preserve all
Christian Rulers and Magistrates, giving them grace to execute justice
and to maintain truth.

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