Monday, January 14, 2008

Daily Meditation 01/14/08


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.


Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 1, 2, 3; PM Psalm 4, 7
Gen. 2:4-9(10-15)16-25; Heb. 1:1-14; John 1:1-18

From Forward Day by Day:

Genesis 2:4-25. ...breathed into his nostrils the breath of life...

"It takes your breath away," I thought to myself. It was noontime, and someone at the local university community told me the news: An individual with a gun had killed as many as twenty persons, including students, in Virginia. At the end of that terrible day, the number of those who died was thirty-three. It had happened yet again, a horrific massacre. These were bright and promising lives taken away. They no longer breathe.

The Lord God breathed into the first human beings the breath of life."Breath" in the Hebrew is the same word as spirit and wind. The Spirit of God enters our being and we are carried by the Wind of the Lord. In the beginning the Lord God intended for women and men to dwell in goodness of creation and live in harmony with all creatures. Sometimes it goes wrong. On the other hand, the Lord God is faithful to what has been made, and offers redemption to all who fall.

I pray to God our Redeemer. May there be comfort for all who mourn. May there be mercy for those who hurt and hate. May those who are vulnerable receive divine strength. May our breath given by the Lord be returned with eternal peace.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Akure (Ondo, Nigeria)

Speaking to the Soul:

Beloved one

Daily Reading for January 14

A voice from heaven tells Jesus he is a beloved son who is well pleasing. Close your eyes. Silently or aloud say, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Then in your mind’s eye, see Jesus and imagine his unspoken response.

Now visualize what it would be like for you to have God descend upon you. Ask yourself:
—If that were to happen in my life, what might I have to give up or take on?
—The word beloved—what does it mean to be a beloved one?

Look around your office or school or dining room table and wonder:
—Who has ever called me a beloved son, daughter, friend, spouse, lover, or colleague?
—From whom do I yearn to hear those words?
—To whom have I given that blessing?
—Who has waited and still waits to hear me say: “You are my beloved in whom I am well pleased”?

From Finding Jesus, Discovering Self: Passages to Healing and Wholeness by Caren Goldman and William Dols. Copyright © 2006. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Posted by Vicki K. Black on January 14, 2008 4:00 AM

Spiritual Practice of the Day

Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
to gather us up.
— Rumi translated by Coleman Barks

To Practice This Thought: Remember who's in charge.
++++++++++ Reflections

She lived in solitude, and now in Solitude has built her nest; and in Solitude her beloved alone guides her, who also bears in solitude the wound of love.
St John of the Cross
Spiritual Canticle, 35.

Reading from the Desert Christians


The knowledge of the Cross is concealed in the sufferings of the

St. Isaac the Syrian

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

From Unceasing Thinking to Unceasing Prayer

Our minds are always active. We analyze, reflect, daydream, or dream. There is not a moment during the day or night when we are not thinking. You might say our thinking is "unceasing." Sometimes we wish that we could stop thinking for a while; that would save us from many worries, guilt feelings, and fears. Our ability to think is our greatest gift, but it is also the source of our greatest pain. Do we have to become victims of our unceasing thoughts? No, we can convert our unceasing thinking into unceasing prayer by making our inner monologue into a continuing dialogue with our God, who is the source of all love.

Let's break out of our isolation and realize that Someone who dwells in the center of our beings wants to listen with love to all that occupies and preoccupies our minds.

The Merton Reflection for the Week of January 14, 2008

Our glory and our hope--We are the Body of Christ. Christ loves us and espouses us as His own flesh. Isn't that enough for us? But we do not really believe it. No! Be content, be content. We are the Body of Christ. We have found Him, He has found us. We are in Him, He is in us. There is nothing further to look for except for the deepening of this life we already possess. Be content.

Thomas Merton. A Search for Solitude. Edited by Lawrence S. Cunningham (San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 1996): 70

Thought for the Day

Spiritual Reading puts us in contact not just with words, with ideas, but with reality-with God.

To seek God is to seek reality. And this must be something more than a flight from images to ideas. The interior life is not merely what is not exterior.

A Search for Solitude: 67

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

Dependence on God
January 14th, 2008
Monday’s Reflection

DEPENDENCE ON GOD forms the foundation of true humility, and our experience of dependence — so easily forgotten — returns to us in our weaker moments. When I try to pray and my mind wanders, even this tiny setback can remind me of my humanity, my vulnerability, and my need for God.

- Sarah Parsons
A Clearing Season: Reflections for Lent

From p. 74 of A Clearing Season: Reflections for Lent by Sarah Parsons. Copyright © 2005 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Call to Church

Question of the day:
How do you love the unlovely?

Nothing in this world is an end in itself, including Church, pastors, priests, bishops, popes, laws, Bible—nothing! Only God is an end; everything else is a means. Only God can save us, not the Church.

I say that out of a great love for the Church. God saves, and the Church is that beautiful gift given by God to preach that word which will set us free. But when we preach "Church" and raise up "Church," we are not necessarily proclaiming the Lord. We often are preaching ourselves. Jesus never preached Israel, he preached Yahweh. He preached the absolute transcendence of Yahweh and fidelity and obedience to Yahweh.

At the same time Jesus never put Israel down. He loved Israel. Insofar as Israel was true to the covenant and true to the prophets, Jesus was obedient to Israel, obedient to the priests, obedient to "the Church." But he wasn't afraid to keep knocking on the door. He kept inviting Israel to be true to itself. Jesus taught us to love the unlovely, exactly as it was.

If we simply love that which is worthy of love, we will never love at all. The Lord loved "the Church," Israel, exactly as it was. You cannot love the Church as it was fifty years ago. That's a cop-out. The only Church you must love is the Church today.

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.

May I always hold fast to my baptism

According to the apostle, Lord, your Holy Spirit fully understands and penetrates your inmost depths; he also intercedes on my behalf, saying to you things for which I cannot find the words. Nothing can penetrate your being but what is divine already; nor can the depths of your immense majesty be measured by any power which itself is alien or extrinsic to you. So, whatever enters into you is yours already, nor can anything which has the power to search your very depths ever have been other than your own.

I beg you therefore, Father, to preserve in me that pure and reverent faith and to grant that to my last breath I may testify to my conviction. May I always hold fast to what I publicly professed in the creed when I was baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. May I worship you, the Father of us all, and your Son together with you and may I be counted worthy to receive your Holy Spirit who through your only Son proceeds from you. For me there is sufficient evidence for this faith in the words: Father, all that I have is yours, and all that is yours is mine, spoken by Jesus Christ my Lord who remains, in and from and with you, the God who is blessed for endless ages. Amen.

Hilary of Poitiers

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


"Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." Isaiah 6:8

God did not address the call to Isaiah; Isaiah overheard God saying, "Who will go for us?" The call of God is not for the special few, it is for everyone. Whether or not I hear God's call depends upon the state of my ears; and what I hear depends upon my disposition. "Many are called but few are chosen," that is, few prove themselves the chosen ones. The chosen ones are those who have come into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ whereby their disposition has been altered and their ears unstopped, and they hear the still small voice questioning all the time, "Who will go for us?" It is not a question of God singling out a man and saying, "Now, you go." God did not lay a strong compulsion on Isaiah; Isaiah was in the presence of God and he overheard the call, and realized that there was nothing else for him but to say, in conscious freedom, "Here am I, send me." Get out of your mind the idea of expecting God to come with compulsions and pleadings. When our Lord called His disciples there was no irresistible compulsion from outside. The quiet passionate insistence of His "Follow Me" was spoken to men with every power wide awake. If we let the Spirit of God bring us face to face with God, we too shall hear something akin to what Isaiah heard, the still small voice of God; and in perfect freedom will say, "Here am I; send me."

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

January 14, May 15, September 14
Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be

The Abbess should always remember what she is
and what she is called,
and should know that to whom more is committed,
from her more is required (Luke 12:48).
Let her understand also
what a difficult and arduous task she has undertaken:
ruling souls and adapting herself to a variety of characters.
One she must coax, another scold, another persuade,
according to each one's character and understanding.
Thus she must adjust and adapt herself to all
in such a way that she may not only suffer no loss
in the flock committed to her care,
but may even rejoice in the increase of a good flock.

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

To "vary with the circumstances" may be the genius of the entire Rule of Benedict. It is undoubtedly clear here.

The Rule of Benedict does not turn people into interchangeable parts. Benedict makes it quite plain: people don't all learn the same way; they don't all grow the same way; they can't all be dealt with the same way. Those concepts, of course, have become commonplace in a culture that is based on individualism. But they were not commonplace as recently as fifty years ago. Historically, there has been a more acceptable way for just about everything: a more acceptable way to pray; a more acceptable way to celebrate the Mass; a more acceptable way to think; a more acceptable way to live. Not everyone did it, of course, but everyone had very clear criteria by which to judge the social fit of everyone else.

Personalism is a constant throughout the Rule of Benedict.Here, though, in a chapter on the abbot or prioress, you would certainly expect at least to find a clear call for order, if not for perfection and discipline and conformity. There is no room in Benedictine spirituality, though, for bloodless relationships between people in authority and the people for whom they have responsibility. Benedictine authority is expected to have meaning. It is to be anchored in the needs and personality of the other person. For the prioress or abbot or parent or supervisor, it is an exhausting task to treat every individual in our care as an individual but nothing else is worth our time. It is easy to intimidate the stubborn with power. It is simple to ignore the mediocre. It is possible to leave the docile on their own and hope for the best.

In the Rule, though, the function of the leader is to call each individual to become more tomorrow than they were today. The point of the paragraph is not how the calling is to be done, with firmness or tenderness or persuasion or discipline. The theories on that subject change from period to period. Some types respond to one approach, some respond better to another. The point here is simply that the calling is to be done. The person who accepts a position of responsibility and milks it of its comforts but leaves the persons in a group no more spiritually stirred than when they began, no more alive in Christ than when they started, no more aflame with the gospel than when they first held it in their hands, is more to be criticized than the fruitless group itself. It was Eli, Benedict points out, the father who did not correct his sinful sons, whom God indicts, not the sons alone.


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

St. Luke 20:27-44 (1/14) For Mon of the 34th Week after Pentecost
(Mon of the 29th Week)

Denying Resurrection: St. Luke 20:27-44, especially vs. 27: "Then some
of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to
Him...." In the original text, St. Luke opens this passage with an
unusual double negative, which the New Jerusalem Bible, among our
English translations, renders clearly: "Some Sadducees - those who argue
that there is no resurrection - approached Him..." (vs. 27). Both
"deny" and "argue" are used to translate "antilegontes," meaning "those
who speak against," to which the Evangelist added "there is no
resurrection," thereby drawing attention to the strict opposition of the
Sadducees to any belief in resurrection. Many of the Jews believed in a
resurrection at the end of time (Jn. 11:23,24), and so some of the
scribes hastened to say, "Teacher, You have spoken well" (Lk. 20:39).

In our day, the Sadducees have colleagues, pundits who reject any
reality except this present existence. Both deny resurrection. These
drink deeply from the materialist wellspring. St. Cyril of Alexandria
aptly characterizes all such secular "thinkers" in his description of
the Sadducees as persons who "attach great importance to their wretched
fancies" and "imagine themselves possessed of such knowledge as no man
can gainsay." Thus, when the Lord corrected the fanciful tale of the
Sadducees - of a woman married to seven brothers (vss. 29-32) - He
exposed the faulty, underlying assumptions of all who deny resurrection
in every age.

First, the Lord addresses the materialist bias of those who deny
resurrection. He shows that all who reject the reality of a spiritual
dimension think solely in terms of the physical realm and cannot imagine
another "age," "sphere," or state of existence beyond that which can be
measured and tested objectively. To correct them, the Lord Jesus points
out that, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage" while
those in the age to come do not marry, "nor can they die anymore" (vss.
34-36). As St. Theophylact states: "Here, there is marriage because
there is death....There, where death has been abolished, what need is
there of marriage?"

Second, the Lord Jesus shows that all materialists - from Sadducees to
contemporary secularists - consistently exclude God. Western Societies
generally favor separation of Church and State. There must be little or
no mention of God or His Name. Notice the contrast between the Lord's
manner of speaking about "those who are counted worthy to attain that
age" (vs. 35) and the style of the Sadducees. Our Lord, as God, acts
supremely - as the One Who counts men worthy or not of that age; for He
is the One by Whom "the dead are raised" (vs. 37). In forming their
challenge and telling their story, the Sadducees never even once mention
God (vss. 28-33).

Of course, the process of thrusting God "out of the picture" results in
calculating all events and problems in terms of tangible objects and
relationships. The Mosaic Law served the Sadducees as their objective
measure for everything. Therefore, they reasoned that there was no
resurrection because Moses did not mention it in the Law. And, of
course, it was from Moses' teaching that they drew the problem of the
story of the seven brothers (vs. 28; Deut. 25:5-10).

The Lord Jesus, on the other hand, laced His reply with references to
God and God's revelation of Himself (vss. 35-38). Notice that the Lord
Jesus' basis for knowledge of resurrection rested squarely on Divine
revelation. As the Great Prophet who revealed God's gift of
resurrection, "Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead
are raised, when he called the Lord 'the God of Abraham, the God of
Isaac, and the God of Jacob'" (vs. 37). Thus, today, the Church, on the
basis of recorded revelation, declares to all who deny resurrection,
"Christ is risen!"

O how noble! O how dear! O how sweet is Thy voice, O Christ; for Thou
hast verily made us a true promise, that Thou shalt be with us to the
end of time, an anchor for our hopes.



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