Friday, January 11, 2008

Daily Meditation 01/11/08


We Are One
Let go
take deep steadying breaths
there is no time, there is no purpose
there is nothing to be anxious about
God is here
God is here
God is here
every One is present and
accounted for
none are left out, none are excluded
all are wearing their wedding garment
holding their arms open to
the child born in Bethlehem
the King who will restore and heal
the One who made and loves all
the gift of belonging and relationship
letting go of the need to control or
the need for answers
and the fear of difference of change of tomorrow
there is no time but now
there is no place but here
there is no one but
God and you and me and them
and we are One

by L. Zoe Cole


O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; 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 148, 150; PM Psalm 61, 62
Isa. 55:3-9; Col. 3:1-17; John 14:6-14


From Forward Day by Day:

Colossians 3:1-17. If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above.

David Robinson was a Naval Academy midshipman, basketball player, and Olympic medalist. His talents took him to a career with the San Antonio Spurs. Robinson played in two championships and is considered one of the best basketball players of all time.

I heard David Robinson give a personal testimony of faith after a basketball game about ten years ago. Mr. Robinson spoke of "seeking things that are above." He explained how his three sons will someday receive a significant inheritance due to his earnings as a professional athlete. Nonetheless, he assured us that his sons will be beneficiaries of an inheritance in the reign of Christ that promised far more riches and greater blessings than any money found on earth.

I witnessed a gifted human being who believes and lives so that the gifts of God may be shared among the people of God.

Do not let your thoughts be upset by things here on earth, but keep your mind's gaze on "Jerusalem which is above." Ensure that you let go of everything that belongs to this world.
--Babai the Great (d. 628)

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Aipo Rongo (Papua New Guinea)

Speaking to the Soul:

Be not afraid

Daily Reading for January 11

The question is not whether the things that happen to you are chance things or God’s things because, of course, they are both at once. There is no chance thing through which God cannot speak—even the walk from the house to the garage that you have walked ten thousand times before, even the moments when you cannot believe there is a God who speaks at all anywhere. He speaks, I believe, and the words he speaks are incarnate in the flesh and blood of our selves and of our own footsore and sacred journeys. We cannot live our lives constantly looking back, listening back, lest we be turned to pillars of longing and regret, but to live without listening at all is to live deaf to the fullness of the music. Sometimes we avoid listening for fear of what we may hear, sometimes for fear that we may hear nothing at all but the empty rattle of our own feet on the pavement. But be not affeard, says Caliban, nor is he the only one to say it. “Be not afraid,” says another, “for lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” He says he is with us on our journeys. He says he has been with us since each of our journeys began. Listen for him. Listen for the sweet and bitter airs of your present and your past for the sound of him.

From The Sacred Journey by Frederick Buechner (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1982).


Spiritual Practice of the Day

In Tibet, practitioners would sometimes be instructed to go into a cave or canyon and alternately yell compliments and insults at themselves, listening to the echoed sounds and watching the mind's reactions to the praise and criticism.
— Glenn H. Mullin in Gems of Wisdom from the Seventh Dalai Lama

To Practice This Thought: Make a tape recording of your own personal barrage of praise and insults. Play it back to yourself and note how you respond.
++++++++++ Reflections

O living flame of love, that tenderly wounds my soul, in it deepest centre! Since now you are not oppressive, now consummate! if it be your will: tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!
St John of the Cross
Living Flame, stanza 1.

Reading from the Desert Christians


We truly love God and keep His commandments if we restrain
ourselves from our pleasures. For he who still abandons himself to
unlawful desires certainly does not love God, since he contradicts
Him in his own intentions. . . Therefore, he loves God truly,
whose mind is not conquered by consent to evil delight. For the
more one takes pleasure in lower things, the more he is separated
from heavenly love.

St. Gregory the Great

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Trusting the Catcher

Trust is the basis of life. Without trust, no human being can live. Trapeze artists offer a beautiful image of this. Flyers have to trust their catchers. They can do the most spectacular doubles, triples, or quadruples, but what finally makes their performance spectacular are the catchers who are there for them at the right time in the right place.

Much of our lives is flying. It is wonderful to fly in the air free as a bird, but when God isn't there to catch us, all our flying comes to nothing. Let's trust in the Great Catcher.

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

Day Eleven - The Third Aim, cont'd

Although we possess property and earn money to support ourselves and our families, wo show ourselves to be true followers of Christ and of Saint Francis by our readiness to live simply and to share with others. We recognize that some of our members may be called to a literal following of Saint Francis in a life of extreme simplicity. All of us, however, accept that we avoid luxury and waste, and regard our possessions as being held in trust for God.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Finding a Friend
January 11th, 2008
Friday’s Reflection

LET YOUR PRAYER be against the malice of your enemies, that it may die and they may live. For if your enemy were dead, it might seem you have lost an enemy, yet have you not found a friend. But if your enemy’s malice died, you have at once lost and enemy and found a friend.

- Augustine
Hungering for God

From p. 76 of Hungering for God: Selected Writings of Augustine edited by Keith Beasley-Topliffe. Copyright © 1997 by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection


Question of the day:
Can you name in your life what matters, what lasts and what is?

In the centuries of fighting over the humanity and the divinity of Christ, the Western Church has gradually lost touch with the larger and more universal message: "The image of the unseen God, the firstborn of all creation, for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth...and he holds all things in unity...because God wanted all perfection to be found in him and all things to be reconciled through him and for him" (Colossians 1:15-20).

This is not a problem-solving Christ, not a denominational or cultural Christ, not a Christ domesticated by the Churches. This Christ names in his life and person what matters, what lasts, and finally what is. He holds it all together in significance, reveals the redemptive pattern that we call the life and death of things and holds the meaning and value of our lives outside of ourselves!

Because we no longer worship such a Christ, we are condemned to worship smaller stories. We try to replace him with colorized myths of pilgrims, George Washington and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but none of them are big enough or real enough to give universal order and meaning. We look to the private psyche, but it is just not big enough or connected enough to encompass human spiritual longing.

The Church's efforts at evangelization will remain trapped in culture and fundamentalism until we are, ourselves, large enough to proclaim a Cosmic Christ.

from Sojourners, "Why Does Psychology Always Win?"

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

Christ fans our hearts into flames

You may wonder how it can be that people are children of God. But just as what is born of a human being is human, of deer, deer, and of peacock, peacock, in the same way what is born of God is also God. What, then, becomes of the human nature, the flesh and blood, as they say, then it changes into God? In other words, does it become God and is God produced? But why do you marvel that humanity becomes God? Was not God made human and the Word made flesh? For if God, who has in himself the highest existence, becomes human, why then should not humanity, whose final resting place is in God, be changed into God? Imperfect things are drawn to perfection by something in nature that stimulates them. But they are born of God through love, not nature. And why not nature? Because the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and he begot us when he was conceived in our hearts in a way very different from how children are generally begotten. For children are conceived to be born, while Christ dwells within us that he might beget us even before he is conceived by us. Lying hidden within us, Christ draws out of his very self seeds of fire. For he is stone and flint; and, as you know, seeds of fire are hidden in the veins of flint. Thus when Christ knocks out sparks, he kindles the soul and fans the heart into flames. How are hearts burned within us on the way, said those journeying to Emmaus.

Giles of Viterbo, O.S.A.

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


"They laid hold upon one Simon . . . and on him they laid the cross." Luke 23:26

If we obey God it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the sting comes in. If we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything, it is a delight, but it costs those who do not love Him a good deal. If we obey God it will mean that other people's plans are upset, and they will gibe us with it - "You call this Christianity?" We can prevent the suffering; but if we are going to obey God, we must not prevent it, we must let the cost be paid.

Our human pride entrenches itself on this point, and we say - I will never accept anything from anyone. We shall have to, or disobey God. We have no right to expect to be in any other relation than our Lord Himself was in (see Luke 8:2-3).

Stagnation in spiritual life comes when we say we will bear the whole thing ourselves. We cannot. We are so involved in the universal purposes of God that immediately we obey God, others are affected. Are we going to remain loyal in our obedience to God and go through the humiliation of refusing to be independent, or are we going to take the other line and say - I will not cost other people suffering? We can disobey God if we choose, and it will bring immediate relief to the situation, but we shall be a grief to our Lord. Whereas if we obey God, He will look after those who have been pressed into the consequences of our obedience. We have simply to obey and to leave all consequences with Him.

Beware of the inclination to dictate to God as to what you will allow to happen if you obey Him.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

January 11, May 12, September 11
Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be

Therefore, when anyone receives the name of Abbess,
she ought to govern her disciples with a twofold teaching.
That is to say,
she should show them all that is good and holy
by her deeds even more than by her words,
expounding the Lord's commandments in words
to the intelligent among her disciples,
but demonstrating the divine precepts by her actions
for those of harder hearts and ruder minds.
And whatever she has taught her disciples
to be contrary to God's law,
let her indicate by her example that it is not to be done,
lest, while preaching to others, she herself be found reprobate (1 Cor. 9:27),
and lest God one day say to her in her sin,
"Why do you declare My statutes
and profess My covenant with your lips,
whereas you hate discipline
and have cast My words behind you" (Ps. 49:16-17)?
And again,
"You were looking at the speck in your brother's eye,
and did not see the beam in your own" (Matt. 7:3).

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

The Tao says,

"We join spokes together in a wheel
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move."

Benedict says that those who hold authority in a community are not to be above the group, they are to be the centers of it, the norm of it, the movers of it. They themselves are to mirror its values. Their job is not simply to give orders. Their job is to live out the ideals. It is an authority far removed from office elitism or pompous hierarchy or highhanded parenting.

Benedict calls a community to obedience, yes, but he does not call it to servitude. He does not call people to conformity for the sake of conformity. That's where modern concepts of blind obedience and the monastic concept of cenobitic obedience are so distinct from one another. Blind obedience demands that underlings comply with authority without thought of consequences. Cenobitic obedience insists that equals must bring a thoughtful concern for what is best for everyone before they ask anything of consequence.

Autocrats and militarists and spiritual charlatans and abusive parents and corporate moguls want the people under them to obey laws from which their exalted positions hold them exempt. Benedict says that the only authentic call for obedience comes from those who themselves demonstrate the value of the law.

The point is that what we do not live we do not have a right to require, and that for two reasons: first, because it is a hollow call to insist that others do what we do not do ourselves and secondly, because it requires for the sake of requiring something rather than for the merit of the requirement itself. To hold people under us to a law which we ourselves have no intention of respecting is to make a mockery of what we ask. Employees whom we require to work because we will not; children who are told to avoid what they see us doing with impunity; citizens who must do what they see us declaring exempt for ourselves, do learn from us. They learn that law is useless and that we are frauds and that power protects only the powerful. Benedict is saying that if the laws are good, then people will be able to see that in the lawgiver.

But Benedict is saying even more than this. Benedict is saying that the function of spiritual leadership is not to intimidate people into submission by fear or guilt. The function of spiritual leadership is to show in our own lives the beauty that oozes out of those who live the spiritual life to its fullness. The function of spiritual leadership is to enshrine what a good life can be.

The abbot and prioress are to make of themselves the light that guides and the crystal that rings true. Otherwise, why should anyone else attempt the Way at all. "Love work and hate lordship," the Hasidim teach their rabbis. It is Benedict's teaching, too.

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

St. Matthew 11:27-30 (1/11) For Holy Monks (For
Theodosios & Thurs, 4th APE)

Believing in God and Knowing God: St. Matthew 11:27-30: "All things have
been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the
Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to
whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn
from Me, for I Am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for
your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." To know God
is to enter into the very life of the Holy Trinity. We have come to
know the Father through the Son as the Son reveals Him to us by the Holy

Knowing God is not simply acknowledging His existence nor even bending
to His sovereignty and dominion. Knowing God is a personal acquaintance
that grows from living a relationship. It has similarities to knowing
other human beings. but intellectual concepts play only a minor part.
Knowing God is greater, permitting infinite growth of interpersonal
knowledge unknown in human relationships. The path to this knowledge is
through union with and submission to Christ, Who fills us with Divine
life. As He "knows the Father," He enables us to have a relationship
with the Unoriginate "Father." For the Father has given over all things
to Christ, including access to and knowledge of Himself. "No one comes
to the Father except through Me" (Jn. 14:6).

We cannot say that those who claim to believe in God know the True God.
There are many false gods of human creation and speculation. Men have
inclined to invent and worship these in place of the True God, the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Pride leads men to create gods
having a human image, human likeness, and human limitations. Mankind,
without the light of the knowledge of God given in Christ, prefers the
idolatrous service of gods who fulfill human desires at the beck and
call of finite creators. Idolatry allows men to blame the gods they
have fashioned for the disorder and failure that they themselves
create. Men are able to project responsibility onto "the gods," onto
the works of their own hands. While false gods are convenient, their
service leaves no peace, no joy, and no fulfillment - rather it gives
place to demons.

Beloved, idolatry is a temptation and a "religious solution" into which
even we who call ourselves Orthodox Christians may fall. Enthroning a
lesser god, and calling it "Christ" or "our Father" is actually a
contrivance that conveniently avoids the real difficulties and the
actual demands of a living knowledge of the God Who is God. Such
"packaging" and modification of true faith is death to the soul, for the
Source of true Life is replaced with a manageable deity, a tidy little
distortion that allows us to pursue our passions and desires. Guard
yourself against every self-created, subtle movement of your heart and
mind that would raise up false gods to suit your pride and your ego.
When you refuse to surrender to the True God, you presume to bear the
whole world and your own sins upon your own shoulders. In fact, the
world and our sins bear us down to hell.

Remember: knowing God requires surrender of your preoccupations and of
your petty, inadequate delusions about yourself and especially about
God. But if you will struggle for union with Christ and submit to Him,
if you will answer His call and take up His yoke and His Cross, then He
will bless you with a true rest in Himself. You shall be able to cry
out from your ongoing relationship and to say, "Our Father." It is in
your surrendering to Christ that the Lord Jesus lifts away the heavy
yoke of our sins from you and yokes you to Himself (Mt. 11:28,29). He
shoulders the unbearable burden now made light for you. "Blessed are
the poor in spirit," who mourn meekly before God (Mt. 5:3-5) to whom He
grants His own life and Sonship with the Father.

Save us, O Lover of mankind, in the multitude of Thine infinite
compassion and mercy!


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