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Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Today's Scripture http://www.satucket.com/lectionary/
Psalm 45;Psalm 47, 48; Deut. 9:4-12; Heb. 3:1-11; John 2:13-22
From Forward Day by Day: http://www.forwardmovement.org/todaysreading.cfm
Deuteronomy 9:4-12. Know therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness...
This is a remarkable statement, coming from the writer of Deuteronomy. The idea that good things come to us because we are good is so entrenched as part of his worldview that he has given a name to that way of thinking: if you expect there to be a fairly immediate relationship between act and reward or punishment, your outlook is "deuteronomic."
We all start out that way: young children think their behavior causes their fortunes. When their parents divorce, they often think it's their fault. It doesn't take most of us long, though, to notice that this is far from a hard-and-fast rule: many fine people suffer terribly, while some perfect sons of guns have a generally easy time of it. For good or ill, the math doesn't always work.
Many have joked that we'd better hope that God isn't perfectly just--if he is, we're all in trouble! I'm counting on God not following each of my errors with a disaster of equal weight--there are just too many of them. And I already suspect that my many blessings do not, for the most part, flow directly from my virtuous deeds--there are too many blessings, too, for that to be the case.
Today we remember: http://satucket.com/lectionary/Calendar.htm
Psalm 23 or 1;1 Peter 5:1-4; Matthew 5:1-10
Our God and King, who called your servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in your temple: Give us grace, we pray, joyfully to perform the tasks you give us to do, knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
How fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
are Thy returns! Even as the flowers in spring,
to which, besides their own demean,
the late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
Grief melts away
like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.
Who would have thought my shrivelled heart
could have recovered greenness? It was gone
quite underground, as flowers depart
to see their mother-root, when they have blown;
where they together
all the hard weather,
dead to the world, keep house unknown.
These are Thy wonders, Lord of power,
killing and quickening, bringing down to hell
and up to heaven in an hour;
making a chiming of a passing-bell.
We say amiss
this or that is;
Thy word is all, if we could spell.
Oh, that I once past changing were,
fast in Thy paradise, where no flower can wither!
Many a spring I shoot up fair,
offering at heaven, growing and groaning thither;
nor doth my flower
want a spring shower,
my sins and I joining together.
But while I grow in a straight line,
still upwards bent, as if heaven were mine own,
Thy anger comes, and I decline.
What frost to that? What pole is not the zone
where all things burn,
when Thou dost turn,
and the least frown of Thine is shown?
And now in age I bud again;
after so many deaths I love and write;
I once more smell the dew and rain,
and relish versing. O my only Light,
it cannot be
that I am he
on whom Thy tempests fell all night.
These are Thy wonders, Lord of love,
to make us see we are but flowers that glide;
which when we once can find and prove,
Thou hast a garden for us where to bide.
Who would be more,
swelling through store,
forfeit their paradise by their pride.
Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
guilty of dust and sin. But quicked-ey'd Love, Observing me grow slack
from my first entrance in, Drew near to me, sweetly questioning,
if I lack'd any thing.
A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here:
Love said, You should be he. I the unkinde, engrateful? ah my deare,
I can not look on thee. Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?
Truth Lord, but I hav marr'd them: let my shame
go where it doth deserve. And know you not, sayes Love, who bore the blame?
My deare, then I will serve. You must sit down, sayes love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.
Glory to God on High And on earth Peace good will toward man.
Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Milwaukee (Prov. V, U.S.)
40 Ideas for Lent: A Lenten calendar http://ship-of-fools.com/lent/index.html
6. YOUR CHORE IS MY CHORE
TUES 27 FEB
Do one chore today that is always done by someone else in your office or home.
Idea by: John Forrest
Lent quote: "O God, remember I am dust, and wind, and shadow. May your eternal mercy rescue me!" – Bede
A Celtic lenten Calendar
Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works.
If you see a poor man, take pity on him.
If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him.
Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye and the ear and the
feet and the hands and all the members of our bodies.
Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice.
Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin.
Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is
Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip.
Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism.
For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and
devour our brothers and sisters?
May He who came to the world to save sinners strengthen us to complete
the fast with humility, have mercy on us and save us.
St. John Chrysostom
Carmelite.com: Reflections http://www.carmelite.com/spirituality/reflection.php
Take God for your friend and walk with him - and you will learn to love.
St John of the Cross
Reading from the Desert Christians http://www.cin.org/dsrtftin.html
It was said of Abba Ammoes that he had fifty measures of wheat for his use and had put them out in the sun, Before they were properly dried off, he saw something in that place which seemed to him to be harmful so he said to his servants, 'Let us go away from here.' But they were grieved at this. Seeing their dismay he said to them, 'Is it because of the loaves that you are sad? Truly, I have seen monks fleeing, leaving their white-washed cells and also their parchments, and they did not close the doors, but went leaving them open.'
Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen) http://www.henrinouwen.org/home/free_eletters/
Creating Space for God
Discipline is the other side of discipleship. Discipleship without discipline is like waiting to run in the marathon without ever practicing. Discipline without discipleship is like always practicing for the marathon but never participating. It is important, however, to realize that discipline in the spiritual life is not the same as discipline in sports. Discipline in sports is the concentrated effort to master the body so that it can obey the mind better. Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God's guidance.
Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God. Solitude requires discipline, worship requires discipline, caring for others requires discipline. They all ask us to set apart a time and a place where God's gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to.
From the Principles of the Third Society of St. Francis:
Day Twenty-Seven - The Second Note (Cont.)
The Third Order is a Christian community whose members, though varied in
race, education, and character, as bound into a living whole through the
love we share in Christ. This unity of all who believe in him will become,
as our Lord intended, a witness to the world of his divine mission. In our
relationships with those outside the Order, we show the same Christ-like
love, and gladly give of ourselves, remembering that love is measured by
God, you resist the proud and give grace to the humble: help us not to think
proudly, but to serve you with the humility that pleases you, so we may walk
in the steps of your servant Francis and receive the gift of your grace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord
>From : http://www.joyfulheart.com/stpatrick/peace_of_god.htm
The peace of God, the peace of men,
The peace of Columba kindly,
The peace of Mary mild, the loving,
The peace of Christ, King of tenderness,
The peace of Christ, King of tenderness.
Be upon each window, upon each door,
Upon each hole that lets in light,
Upon the four corners of my house,
Upon the four corners of my bed,
Upon the four corners of my bed;
Upon each things my eye takes in,
Upon each thing my mouth takes in,
Upon my body that is of earth
And upon my soul that came from on high,
Upon my body that is of earth
And upon my soul that came from on high.
Ancient Celtic prayer collected by Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912),
published in Carmina Gadelica (Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1992). These are
prayers, hymns, and incantations collected in the Highlands and Islands of
Scotland in the 18th century.
Upper Room Daily Reflection http://www.upperroom.org/reflections/
THE LINK BETWEEN the faith we profess and the lifestyle we live is crucial. … As Christians, as living witnesses in a secular world, no longer can we believe one thing and act a different way. The faith that truly guides us is reflected in our lifestyles. More often than not, that faith is secular or idolatrous. No longer can I speak of faith apart from the reality of how I live. Faith must inform my thoughts, actions, and behaviors. For all of us, faith must be the central core of our being. We must live our faith in all of our life and not limit our discipleship to particular times or areas.
- Ann Hagmann
Climbing the Sycamore Tree
From page 18 of Climbing the Sycamore Tree: A Study on Choice and Simplicity by Ann Hagmann. Copyright © 2001 by Ann Hagmann.
Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection
In the final chapters of the Book of Joshua we hear Joshua's last words to the people. He sets a vocation before the people and asks them once again to choose the Lord. He says, "Stand firm...and fulfill all that is written...never turning aside from it to right or left" (23:6, JB). Then he says to obey the commandments, which we immediately think refers to the Ten Commandments. The commandment, in fact, is to trust the one God. That is the commandment they are called to live by. It is in that relationship that they find their power. "Do not utter the names of [other] gods. Do not swear by them" (23:7, JB). To our world God says: Do not put your trust in gods that cannot save - your looks, intelligence, money, your home. Do not put your trust in your children, wife, husband, your high position. They cannot save you. What is your money going to do for you? God is security, the rock of our salvation. No one has trusted in God and ever been put to shame.
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.
The wealth of Christ's love for us
If, having been made in the image of God, you wish to be like him, follow his example. Christians, whose very name is a profession of love for everyone, should imitate the love of Christ.
Consider and wonder at the wealth of Christ's love for us. When he was about to show himself to us in our own nature, he sent John the Baptist to preach repentance by word and example. Before John he sent all the prophets. They too were to teach people to amend their lives. Then he came himself and with his own voice cried out: Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. And how did he receive those who listened to his call and followed him? He readily forgave them their sins, instantly relieving them of all their cause for grief. The Word made them holy, the Spirit set his seal on them. Their old self was buried in the waters of baptism and a new self born; their youth was renewed by grace. And the result? Enemies of God became his friends, strangers to him became his children, idolaters became worshipers of the true God.
Asterius of Amasea,metropolitan of Amasea, was a preacher of considerable power. He lived in the fourth century.
Daily Readings From "My Utmost for His Highest", Oswald Chambers
IMPOVERISHED MINISTRY OF JESUS
"From whence then hast Thou that living water?" John 4:11
"The well is deep" - and a great deal deeper than the Samaritan woman knew! Think of the depths of human nature, of human life, think of the depths of the "wells" in you. Have you been impoverishing the ministry of Jesus so that He can not do anything? Suppose there is a well of fathomless trouble inside your heart, and Jesus comes and says - "Let not your heart be troubled"; and you shrug your shoulders and say, "But, Lord, the well is deep; You cannot draw up quietness and comfort out of it." No, He will bring them down from above. Jesus does not bring anything up from the wells of human nature. We limit the Holy One of Israel by remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and by saying, "Of course I cannot expect God to do this thing." The thing that taxes almightiness is the very thing which we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. We impoverish His ministry the moment we forget He is Almighty; the impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We will come to Jesus as Comforter or as Sympathizer, but we will not come to Him as Almighty.
The reason some of us are such poor specimens of Christianity is because we have no Almighty Christ. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying - "Of course He cannot do any thing," and we struggle down to the deeps and try to get the water for ourselves. Beware of the satisfaction of sinking back and saying - "It can't be done"; you know it can be done if you look to Jesus. The well of your incompleteness is deep, but make the effort and look away to Him.
Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict http://www.osb.org/rb/
Chapter 21: On the Deans of the Monastery
If the community is a large one,
let there be chosen out of it
brethren of good repute and holy life,
and let them be appointed deans.
These shall take charge of their deaneries in all things,
observing the commandments of God
and the instructions of their Abbot.
Let men of such character be chosen deans
that the Abbot may with confidence
share his burdens among them.
Let them be chosen not by rank
but according to their worthiness of life
and the wisdom of their doctrine.
If any of these deans should become inflated with pride
and found deserving of censure,
let him be corrected once, and again, and a third time.
If he will not amend,
then let him be deposed
and another be put in his place who is worthy of it.
And we order the same to be done in the case of the Prior.
CHAPTER 21. THE DEANS OF THE MONASTERY
Feb. 26(27) - June 28 - Oct. 28
If the community is rather large, some chosen for their good repute and holy life should be made deans. They will take care of their groups of ten, managing all affairs according to the commandments of God and the orders of their prioress or abbot. Anyone selected as a dean should be the kind of person with whom the prioress or abbot can confidently share the burdens of office. They are to be chosen for virtuous living and wise teaching, not for their rank.
In one simple paragraph Benedict does away with the notion of absolute hierarchy and the divine right to anything. The abbot and prioress are to be the last word in a Benedictine community but they are not to be its only word. They are to "share the burdens of their office," not simply delegate them, with those members of the community who themselves are models of the monastic life. The age of a person or the number of years they've been in the monastery has nothing to do with the decision to give one person rather than another a position of responsibility or authority in the group. What counts is the quality of their community life, the prayerfulness of their lives, their commitment to Benedictine values.
Whoever the leaders, the central thesis of the chapter remains: the community belongs to the community. Its sanctity and success does not rise and fall on the shoulders of one leader alone. It rises and falls on the shoulders of its members. What they are the community shall be.
It is an important concept in a culture that calls itself classless but which relies heavily on connections and prestige and money to define its centers of power and so overlooks the values and voices of many.
If perhaps one of these deans is found to be puffed up with any pride, and so deserving of censure, they are to be reproved once, twice and even a third time. Should they refuse to amend, they must be removed from office and replaced by another who is worthy. We prescribe the same course of action in regard to the subprioress or prior.
To share authority is not the same as to give it away. To share authority means that those who are responsible for the group must arrive at common decisions, share a common wisdom, come to a common commitment and then teach it together in such a way that the community is united, not divided, by the people chosen to lead it. To give authority away is to abdicate it, to leave the group open to division, disunity and destruction.
The government of a Benedictine community is to come out of a common vision, a common heart. There is one interpreter of the Rule in every Benedictine monastery, the abbot or prioress, who themselves are immersed in scripture and who have listened to the experience of the community and bring those elements to bear on every present situation. The unity of the community depends on the centrality of that teaching. To divide a group into factions until the unity of the teaching pales, to tear at its center until its fabric frays and rends, to refuse to give focus to its focus is to strike at the very heart of Benedictine spirituality. It is not possible to form a group when the group is being divided over the very items on which it should be being developed.
What Benedict is inveighing against, then, is the spirit of the coup d'etat, that war that is waged against authority by the very people named by the authority to uphold it. The person with a Benedictine mindset goes into the parish council or the union office or the hospital board to cooperate with the leadership, to carry the group, not to tug it to pieces over inconsequential matters for some gain of personal aggrandizement and ego satisfaction. A Benedictine family does not draw and quarter the children with two different sets of expectations. Benedictine spirituality uses authority to weld a group, not to fracture it.
Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan
Read Excerpts from the Church Fathers during Lent
St. Ignatius of Antioch: Letter to the Magnesians