31/01/07 week of Epiphany 4
Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Today's Scripture http://www.satucket.com/lectionary/
Ps 72; 119:73-96; Isa 54:1-10(11-17); Gal 4:21-31; Mark 8:11-26
From Forward Day by Day: http://www.forwardmovement.org/todaysreading.cfm
Mark 8:11-26. "I can see people, but they look like trees, walking."
I like this story because the healing does not immediately take. This is unprecedented in Mark, or in any of the gospels for that matter. Once again Jesus heals by touch, this time rubbing the blind man's eyes with saliva, and laying hands on him. But to our surprise (and, who knows?--perhaps to Jesus' surprise as well) the healing is only half successful at first: "I can see people," the man says in wonder, "but they look like trees, walking." Jesus has to touch his eyes again; and only then, as the man looks intently, is his sight restored. "He saw everything clearly." What a wonderful thing for Mark to say, and what a wonderful story, so human and humane at once. I like to think the man's partial vision is what Paul talked about when he said that in this life we see but we see as in a mirror, darkly. Then when Jesus touches him again, the face of Jesus must be the first face he sees--or, to paraphrase Paul again, he sees God "face to face." I like to think he laughed out loud with delight at such a sight. And I like to think that Jesus laughed with him.
Today we remember: http://satucket.com/lectionary/Calendar.htm
January 31 is a feria, which means "free day". Today let us reflect on this new Psalm:
By Micahel Anne, Haywood, 2007
My God, how like a mother you are,
that you have known and named and loved us
even before we were born.
Like a mother you have nurtured us, every one,
from your own body: your substance, your essence,
making us all related through our birth in your love.
Namasté, we greet each other,
greeting that of God which is in every creature and creation.
You care for us most lovingly,
preparing for us in the arms of the natural world
a bounty of all that we need to survive;
surrounding us with loving friends and family,
wise leaders (although some become so foolish in the flush of power --
forgive them, and us that we do not oppose their folly),
and prophets who speak your word,
even if we do give them a hard time for their efforts.
I have seen your love and mercy,
I have heard your voice,
I have felt your touch
and smelled your earthy presence beside me.
Yet fearful and ashamed of my childish faults,
I have turned away and hidden my face
in my own preoccupations.
I have denied your goodness by refusing it.
I have diluted your love with my worries and preoccupations.
I have stupidly put myself in the forefront of my thoughts.
Save me from my multitude of peccadilloes,
Let me not worship them by giving them my time and energy.
Show me that you can accept and use my flaws and weaknesses
just as easily as you can use my strengths and talents.
Now that's a humbling thought!
God our mother, hold us close
when we wake and as we sleep.
Feed us generously --
with the bread and fish you have provided
and which now you have received from our hands
and blessed and multiplied --
that we might share in your life by caring for one another.
Take us by the hand and walk with us,
for we know that you will take us
farther than we have ever imagined.
Selah. And amen.
Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Manchester (York, England)
Carmelite.com: Reflections http://www.carmelite.com/spirituality/reflection.php
In giving us His Son, His only Word (for He possesses no other), God spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word - and He has no more to say ... because what He spoke before to the prophets in parts, He has now spoken all at once by giving us the All who is His Son.
St John of the Cross
Reading from the Desert Christians http://www.cin.org/dsrtftin.html
An old man was asked, "What is humility?" and he said in reply, "Humility is a great work, and a work of God. The way of humility is to undertake bodily labour and believe yourself a sinner and make yourself subject to all." Then a brother said, "What does it mean, to be subject to all?" The old man answered, "To be subject to all is not to give your attention to the sins of others but always to give your attention to your own sins and to pray without ceasing to God."
An old man said, "Every time a thought of superiority or vanity moves you, examine your conscience to see if you have kept all the commandments, whether you love your enemies, whether you consider yourself to be an unprofitable servant and the greatest sinner of all. Even so, do not pretend to great ideas as though you were perfectly right, for that thought destroys everything."
Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen) http://www.henrinouwen.org/home/free_eletters/
Due to technical difficulties, this is not available today.
From the Principles of the Third Society of St. Francis:
There is no official Principle for Day 31. So having followed the
Principles through the last thirty days, let us not forget to have a
little leisure and fun too.
Merciful God, you have made Your church rich through the poverty of
blessed Francis: help us like him, not to trust in earthly things, but
to seek Your heavenly gifts through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection
"God Has No Grandchildren"
Judges 2:10 (JB) says: "When that generation too had been gathered to its fathers, another generation followed it which knew neither Yahweh nor the deeds that he had done for the sake of Israel." They had forgotten. We must become children of God. Every generation has to be Converted anew. Each generation has to be called into God's life to know the fidelity of God, to step out, and to base their life on the word of God. It's not enough to say that my mother was Catholic, my father was Christian. Until you come to that moment in your life when you choose the God you will serve, you have not begun to experience conversion. The reason that the word of the Lord does not speak to our people is because, most simply, they have never been converted. Many church-goers are in fact baptized pagans. Our parent's faith is not ours until we walk the journey ourselves. God has no grandchildren.
from The Great Themes of Scripture
From John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., Tradition Day by Day: Readings from Church Writers. Augustinian Press. Villanova, PA, 1994.
How sublime the humility of God the most high!
Our exalted Savior lost nothing by his humility, but we gained very much. By it the Most High was not lowered, but the lowly were exalted. In order to carry out perfectly the work of our redemption, the Son of God, Creator of all flesh, condescended to be born of the Virgin's flesh in the way all true flesh is born.
God, our Maker, became a real human being born of a human being. He was wrapped in swaddling bands, confined in a narrow manger, circumcised on the eighth day, and carried by human hands to his own temple.
How gracious is the kindliness of God! How sublime the humility of God most high! As a tiny baby he was nursed by his mother, he the boundless God who had created her. As a little child he was carried to his own temple by his parents, he the great God who was prayed to in that temple by his holy people. And he also ordained the offering of a sacrifice for himself, he who had come sinless to be immolated for our betrayals. Reflect, then, on what you owe to the Most High who was humbled for your sake, your exalted Creator and humbled Redeemer.
Fulgentius of Ruspe, (468 - 533), bishop of Ruspe in northern Africa, was a faithful disciple of Augustine and the best theologian of his time.
Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict http://www.osb.org/rb/
Chapter 7: On Humility
The third degree of humility is that a person
for love of God
submit himself to his Superior in all obedience,
imitating the Lord, of whom the Apostle says,
"He became obedient even unto death."
It is so simple, so simplistic, to argue that we live for the God we do not see when we reject the obligations we do see. Benedictine spirituality does not allow for the fantasy. Benedict argues that the third rung on the ladder of humility is the ability to submit ourselves to the wisdom of another. We are not the last word, the final answer, the clearest insight into anything. We have one word among many to contribute to the mosaic of life, one answer of many answers, one insight out of multiple perspectives. Humility lies in learning to listen to the words, directions and insights of the one who is a voice of Christ for me now. To stubbornly resist the challenges of people who have a right to lay claim to us and an obligation to do good by us--parents, spouses, teachers, supervisors--is a dangerous excursion into arrogance and a denial of the very relationships that are the stuff of which our sanctity is made.
Rungs one and two call for contemplative consciousness. Rung three brings us face to face with our struggle for power. It makes us face an authority outside of ourselves. But once I am able to do that, then there is no end to how high I might rise, how deep I might grow.
Prayer of Mother Teresa
Dear Jesus, help us to spread your fragrance
everywhere we go.
Flood our souls with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly
that our lives may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through us and be so in us
that every soul we come in contact with
may feel your presence in our soul.
Let them look up and see no longer us, but only Jesus.
Stay with us and then we shall begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be light to others.
The light, O Jesus, will be all from you.
None of it will be ours.
It will be you shining on others through us.
Let us thus praise you in the way you love best
by shining on those around us.
Let us preach you without preaching,
not by words, but by our example;
by the catching force -
the sympathetic influence of what we do,
the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you.
Thomas Merton made the following entry in his journals on January 31, 1965, his 50th birthday (he had been living full-time in his hermitage since August 15, 1965)
Special Reflection for January 31, 2007
“When I enter my house, I shall find rest with her, for nothing is bitter in her company; when life is shared with her there is no pain, nothing but pleasure and joy (Wisdom 8:16).”
I can imagine no greater cause for gratitude on my fiftieth birthday than that on it I wake up in a hermitage!..Last night, before going to bed, realized what solitude really means: when the ropes are cast off and the skiff is no longer tied to land but heads out to sea without ties, without restraints! Not the sea of passion but, on the contrary, the sea of purity and love that is without care. (..Through the cold and the darkness I hear the Angelus ringing at the monastery.) The beautiful jeweled shining of honey in the lamplight. Festival!