Thursday, January 17, 2008

Daily Meditation 01/17/08, St. Anthony of the Desert



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.

O God, by your Holy Spirit you enabled your servant Antony to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil: Give us grace, with pure hearts and minds, to follow you, the only God; 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

AM Psalm 18:1-20; PM Psalm 18:21-50
Gen. 4:17-26; Heb. 3:1-11; John 1:43-51

From Forward Day by Day:

John 1:43-51. Philip said to him, "Come and see."

One summer evening before ninth grade I could not find my friend. The next day I asked him, "What did you do last night?" He replied that he had been out playing basketball. I asked, "Where?" He paused and said, "At church. And we had homemade ice cream."

I looked at him silently and he asked, "Want to come next time?" I said, "Yes," and the church has been my spiritual home since that day.

I came to church because my friend of many years invited me. He was my Philip who said, "Come and see." Philip tells his friend Nathanael about Jesus of Nazareth. Nathanael at first expresses the bias of the day about such villages. Ultimately, Nathanael comes to witness the power of Jesus and is convinced that coming and seeing is a good thing.

What is good about my invitation to "come and see" is that I found a vocation in the priesthood. Over forty persons in my family are now members of this part of the body of Christ. One simple invitation to a game of ball and refreshments may lead to much more in the plan of God. I give thanks for all the "Philips" in the history of the church whose faith leads them to "make a friend, be a friend and bring a friend to Christ." Come and see!

Today we remember:

Psalm 91:9-16 or 1
1 Peter 5:6-10; Mark 10:17-21


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

Speaking to the Soul:

Integrity before God

Daily Reading for January 17 • Antony, Abbot in Egypt, 356

Abba Antony said, ‘Whatever you find in your heart to do in following God, that do, and remain within yourself in Him.’ This personal integrity before God, without any disguises or pretensions, is the essence of the spirituality of the desert. All ascetic effort, all personal relationships, life in all its aspects, was to be brought slowly into the central relationship with God in Christ. All the means to this end were just that, means and no more; they could be changed or discarded as necessary. The Sayings of the desert fathers must be used in the spirit in which they were spoken, otherwise they will have less than their true value. They are not just for interest but for use. Radical simplicity and integrity is their aim and purpose.

From The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers by Sister Benedicta Ward SLG (SLG Press, 1975).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

Today's headlines, viewed with the right consciousness, can be seen as a living alphabet through which humanity comes to know itself and God. A deeper meaning is revealed.
— Corrine McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson in Spiritual Politics

To Practice This Thought: Scan the headlines in today's newspaper. What do they tell you about yourself, your world, and God?
++++++++++ Reflections

The beginner must think of themselves as one setting out to make a garden in which the Lord is to take His delight.
St Teresa of Jesus
Life 11.6

Reading from the Desert Christians


There was a man who at a lot and was till hungry, and another who
ate little and was satisfied. The one who ate a lot and was still
hungry received a greater reward than he who ate little and was

Apophthegmata Patrum

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Be Yourself

Often we want to be somewhere other than where we are, or even to be someone other than who we are. We tend to compare ourselves constantly with others and wonder why we are not as rich, as intelligent, as simple, as generous, or as saintly as they are. Such comparisons make us feel guilty, ashamed, or jealous. It is very important to realize that our vocation is hidden in where we are and who we are. We are unique human beings, each with a call to realize in life what nobody else can, and to realize it in the concrete context of the here and now.

We will never find our vocations by trying to figure out whether we are better or worse than others. We are good enough to do what we are called to do. Be yourself!

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

Day Seventeen - The Second Way of Service - Study

"And this is eternal life: that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17:3) True knowledge is knowledge of God. Tertiaries therefore give priority to devotional study of scripture as one of the chief means of attaining that knowledge of God which leads to eternal life.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Working for God
January 17th, 2008
Thursday’s Reflection

REMEMBER FOR WHOM YOU WORK: Whether you work for a private company, the government, a large corporation, or yourself, the true disciple understands that he or she ultimately is working for God in that place. “Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24).

- Norman Shawchuck
A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

From p. 284 of A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God by Norman Shawchuck and Rueben P. Job. Copyright © 2003 by the authors. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Call to Church

Question of the day:
When have you been in solidarity with suffering and ecstasy?

As long as we think that we alone have to save the world, we become arrogant in our methods, impatient in our attitudes and quick in our solutions. We instead must seek the patience and peace of God. The man and woman of God are content simply to lay down their lives for some little bit of unity. Wherever you are, let God create unity. I believe that's what God's doing on earth. I know one sister who sees her primary call as bestowing "benevolent smiles" on everybody she meets. What a threat she must be to disunity!

If Jesus is to be risen among us, we must each individually and in groups together surrender to a love and mystery that is greater than our hearts. We must humbly admit that we really don't know much at all. We have few right answers, it seems to me, and even fewer conclusions. All we can be is what Jesus was: present and enfleshed. In the end it seems to me there's only one gospel: Jesus incarnate, Jesus crucified, Jesus resurrected. Solidarity in suffering and in ecstasy is God's gift to the world.

To be in the Church is to be willing to be part of the rhythm and create little bits of unity wherever we can.

from The Spiritual Family and the Natural Family ++++++++++

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

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

Who is Christ?

If then you wish to learn or be taught something about Christ, do not resort to arguments or cross-examine some person of great learning, but inquire of a prophet, ask an apostle, consult an angel, and if these should be at a loss, have recourse to the Father. If you inquire of the prophets, "Who is this Christ?" the prophetic choir will answer you, This is our God; no other can be compared to him. He has found out the whole way of knowledge and imparted it to Jacob his servant, to Israel his beloved. At last he appeared on earth and lived among us. Perhaps you will pursue your investigation, asking, "But who is this Christ, and how was he born?" You may indulge your busy curiosity about the divine child, and if so the prophets will curb your boldness, asking you in their turn, "What our reasoning could not compass, do you think to compass? If you wish to learn, learn that he is God. You presume to pry into the manner of his birth, but you must learn from our words: Who shall recount his origin?"

Severian of Gabala

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

January 17, May 18, September 17
Chapter 3: On Calling the Brethren for Counsel

In all things, therefore, let all follow the Rule as guide,
and let no one be so rash as to deviate from it.
Let no one in the monastery follow his own heart's fancy;
and let no one presume to contend with his Abbot
in an insolent way or even outside of the monastery.
But if anyone should presume to do so,
let him undergo the discipline of the Rule.
At the same time,
the Abbot himself should do all things in the fear of God
and in observance of the Rule,
knowing that beyond a doubt
he will have to render an account of all his decisions
to God, the most just Judge.

But if the business to be done in the interests of the monastery
be of lesser importance,
let him take counsel with the seniors only.
It is written,
"Do everything with counsel,
and you will not repent when you have done it" (Eccles. 32:24).

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

Benedictine monasticism is life lived within the circuit of four guy wires: the Gospel, the teachings of its abbots and prioress, the experience of the community and the Rule of Benedict itself.

The Gospel gives meaning and purpose to the community. The teaching of its abbots and prioresses gives depth and direction to the community. The experience of the community, spoken by its members in community Chapter meetings, gives truth to the community. But it is the Rule of Benedict that gives the long arm of essential definition and character to the community.

Each of us, monastic or not, deals with the same elements in life. We are all bound to the Gospel, under leadership of some kind, faced with the dictates of tradition or the cautions of experience and in need of a direction. Monastic spirituality offers enduring principles and attitudes far beyond whatever culture embodies them. Once embraced, they guide our way through whatever the psychological fads or religious practices or social philosophies of the time that offer comfort but lack staying power. "All are to follow the teaching of the Rule," Benedict, the great abbot teaches, "and no one shall rashly deviate from it." Adapt the Rule, yes. Abandon the Rule, no.

The fact is that it is in the Rule itself that the principles and values of Benedictine spirituality are stored and maintained. No matter how far a group goes in its attempts to be relevant to the modern world, it keeps one foot in an ancient one at all times. It is this world that pulls it back, time and time again, to the tried and true, to the really real, to a Beyond beyond ourselves. It is to these enduring principles that every age looks, not to the customs or practices that intend to embody them from one age to another.

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

St. Luke 6:17-23 Gospel for Holy Monks: Anthony the Great, Euthymios
the Great, et. al.
The Blessings of Ascesis: St. Luke 6:17-23, especially vs. 20: "Then He
lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: 'Blessed are you
poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." Among the Saints of God, St.
Anthony is a shining example of the blessings of asceticism. He was
born of well-to-do, Christian parents in Egypt, yet from his youth he
displayed an unusual and singular desire to devote himself completely to
the Lord Jesus. Whenever he heard the Scriptures read in Church, he
immediately applied the teachings to himself in the most direct,
practical manner - a good plan!

When he was twenty, his parents died and he inherited the family
fortune. Hearing in Church the Gospel of the rich, young ruler (Lk.
18:18-30), St. Anthony gave away his worldly possessions and fully
embraced the ascetic disciplines. Through twenty years of struggle, he
defeated every temptation. He reduced his diet to bread, salt and
water, eating no more than once a day, sometimes only every other day,
frequently even less often. He lived in absolute solitude all those
years, maintaining unceasing prayer and overcoming every imaginable
demonic wile.

By the grace of God, the ascetic blessings manifested in St. Anthony
ignited, within the Church, the monastic movement - a permanent, visible
witness to the value of utter self-surrender to the Lord. Today, the
Church's monastics continue to demonstrate that blessings can come to
you from embracing poverty, hunger, tears, and austerity. These
consecrated souls provide living models of what our Lord teaches in this
passage (Lk. 6:20-23). Read these verses with care, for they reveal how
to attain the riches of the life in Christ through ascetic practice
instead of blindly embracing the fleeting pleasures of the consumerist
environment so ready to sell you "the real thing."

Consider the Lord's teaching. On the one hand, those who choose poverty
are blessed with the Kingdom of God (vs. 20). Quite to the opposite,
secular society promotes convenience and comfort through abundance.
Television and the other media repeatedly emphasize your "need" for
things to fulfill your life. How blessed you are with the reminder in
the funeral Liturgy that "all things are vanity and exist not after
death. Riches endure not, neither doth glory accompany on the way: for
when death cometh, all these things vanish utterly."
Admittedly, in the "climate" of consumerism, without the monastic
influence, can you imagine finding a blessing in poverty as did St.
Anthony? But you can embrace the blessings of ascesis amidst the swirl
of consumerism! Surely, there is nothing to prevent cutting back on
conveniences, simplifying your lifestyles, and doing with less that you
may give to the poor.

Also, the Lord teaches the blessing of hunger (vs. 21). The Holy
Fathers of the Church similarly insist on the necessity of fasting, and
not by monastics only, but by all the Faithful. Beloved, how blessed we
are: our Orthodox Faith has not sold-out to the modern, cultivated
palate. The Church still teaches discipline for the stomach as the
birthright of every Christian. Actually, is it really difficult for you
to fast from fish, meat, dairy products, wine and oil on Wednesdays and
Fridays and the four seasonal fasts? God promises spiritual blessings
if you will faithfully and diligently keep the fasting disciplines and
train your appetite in preparation for serving Him.

Finally, Christ teaches you to "weep now" in repentance (vs. 21), that
you may join in the rejoicing of the widow of Nain, of Jairus, of the
woman with the precious ointment, and of the friends of Tabitha. Weep
now that you may know joy and healing from our Savior. Let your Pastors
guide you in self-examination, confession, and unleashing the tears of
cleansing. Devote regular time to prayer and the struggle against the
demons who aim to disrupt and mislead you.

O Christ our God, implant in me the fear of Thy blessed commandments
that I may trample down all carnal desires, and enter upon a spiritual
manner of living.


Post a Comment

<< Home