Thursday, January 31, 2008

Daily Meditation 01/31/08


Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Collect for the Renewal of Life

God, the King eternal, who divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 50; PM Psalm [59, 60] or 8, 84
Gen. 16:15-17:14; Heb. 10:1-10; John 5:30-47

From Forward Day by Day:

Genesis 16:15-17:14. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham.

Abram was doing quite well, thank you. His was a contented and successful life. But the Lord God calls Abram to move from his country and leave everything behind. He chooses to walk before God, heeds this call, and follows the promise of the Lord. Abram's experience is so transformational that even his name changes to Abraham. It is only two letters, but it makes all the difference in the story of faith.

Faith is about engaging spiritual journey. We are to be sojourners. There may be obstacles that tempt us to be "sour-journers," but we are reminded that it is a holy quest. With us is a God who guides, shapes, and changes us.

A favorite saying in Spanish is: Caminante, no hay camino; se hace el camino al andar. It is translated: "Walker, there isn't one way; one makes the way by walking." Let us choose daily steps in God who prepares the way, leads our feet, accompanies us on the road, and blesses our conversion now and forever.

Conversion may occur in an instant, but the process of coming from sinfulness into a new life can be a long and arduous journey.
--Charles Colson (b. 1931)

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles (Scotland)

Praying for those attending General Convention, 2009:

Speaking to the Soul:

The monastery at Kildare

Daily Reading for January 31

“And who can describe in words the supreme beauty of this church, and the countless wonders of that minster—of that city as we may say, if it can rightly be called a city when it is surrounded by no circuit of walls? But because countless people come together in it, it earns the name ‘city’ from the gathering of crowds there. This city is supreme and metropolitan, in whose suburbs, which holy Brigit marked out with a precise boundary, is feared no mortal adversary nor onslaught of enemies. But it is the safest city of refuge, with all its external suburbs, in the whole land of the Irish for all fugitives. . . . And who can count the varied crowds and countless peoples flocking together from all provinces? Some come because of the abundance of feasts, others to obtain healing of their ailments, others to stare at the crowds; others bring great gifts and offerings to the celebration of holy Brigit’s birth.”

Thus the seventh-century Irishman Cogitosus praised Kildare. He was writing in a tradition, suffused with biblical conceptions of cities of refuge and the heavenly city, which presented the minsters of Ireland as places of safety, centrality, and popular resort as well as places of cult. The main centres of early Christian Ireland were indeed its monastic sites, and several of them have now yielded archaeological evidence for complex zoning of activities, including specialized craft production and industry, during the seventh to ninth centuries.

From The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society by John Blair (Oxford, 2005).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

Maybe one day we'll grow weary of whining and celebrate the rain, the manna, the half-filled glass of water, the little gifts from heaven that make each day bearable. Instead of cloaking ourselves in the armor of pessimism, maybe we'll concede that we are who we are: capricious, unfortune, wonderful, delicate, alive. Forgiven.
— Mark Collins in On the Road to Emmaus

To Practice This Thought: The next time you start complaining about your lot in life, don't listen.
++++++++++ Reflections

We must have no confidence whatever in our own strength, but trust in His mercy - and until we do this all is weakness.
St. Teresa of Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians


For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the
stumblings of sinners by is necessary to make a man
better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have autority
granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we
know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are
kept from evil, not by force, but by choice.

St. John Chrysostom

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Joy of Being Like Others

At first sight, joy seems to be connected with being different. When you receive a compliment or win an award, you experience the joy of not being the same as others. You are faster, smarter, more beautiful, and it is that difference that brings you joy. But such joy is very temporary. True joy is hidden where we are the same as other people: fragile and mortal. It is the joy of belonging to the human race. It is the joy of being with others as a friend, a companion, a fellow traveler.

This is the joy of Jesus, who is Emmanuel: God-with-us.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Your Merciful Love
January 31st, 2008
Thursday’s Reflection

LORD AND LIGHT of the world,
set our hearts on fire
so that we may pass your merciful love,
one to another,
throughout the world.

- Hart Ford-Hodges
devozine Magazine

From devozine Magazine, November/December 2002. Copyright © 2002 by The Upper Room. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Things Hidden

Question of the day:
When have I stumbled and fallen “into the hands of the living God”?

The smallest of events can teach us everything, if we learn Who is doing them with us, through us and for us. But have no doubt: That is the total goal. We want law for the sake of order, obedience and “moral purity”; God and Paul want law for the sake of channeling us toward a realization of divine union, to force the honest person to stumble (see Romans 7:7-13—that’s really what it says!), and then “fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrew 10:31). Juridically, law is an end in itself, absolutely good and necessary for social order.

Spiritually, though, law is a means, not an end at all.

Why did Paul come to this so clearly? Because Paul himself was a man of the law. As he tells us in Philippians (3:6-8), he was a perfect Pharisee. “As far as the Law can make you perfect, I was faultless,” he says. Yet in the next line he admits that he was a mass-murderer. “How could such perfect religious observance still create hateful and violent men like me?” That was his transformative question, and for him it worked. This still needs to be the question for many religious groups today.

Then what is the law really for? It’s not to make God love you. That issue is already solved once and forever, and you are powerless to change it one direction or the other. The purpose of spiritual law is simply to sharpen our awareness about who we are and who God is, so that we can name our own insufficiency and, in that same movement, find God’s fullness.

from Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality

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

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


"Separated unto the Gospel." Romans 1:1

Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be proclaimers of the Gospel of God. The one thing that is all important is that the Gospel of God should be realized as the abiding Reality. Reality is not human goodness, nor holiness, nor heaven, nor hell; but Redemption; and the need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker to-day. As workers we have to get used to the revelation that Redemption is the only Reality. Personal holiness is an effect, not a cause, and if we place our faith in human goodness, in the effect of Redemption, we shall go under when the test comes.

Paul did not say he separated himself, but - "when it pleased God who separated me. . ." Paul had not a hypersensitive interest in his own character. As long as our eyes are upon our own personal whiteness we shall never get near the reality of Redemption. Workers break down because their desire is for their own whiteness, and not for God. "Don't ask me to come into contact with the rugged reality of Redemption on behalf of the filth of human life as it is; what I want is anything God can do for me to make me more desirable in my own eyes." To talk in that way is a sign that the reality of the Gospel of God has not begun to touch me; there is no reckless abandon to God. God cannot deliver me while my interest is merely in my own character. Paul is unconscious of himself, he is recklessly abandoned, separated by God for one purpose - to proclaim the Gospel of God (cf. Rom. 9:3.)

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

January 31, June 1, October 1
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."

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

St. Mark 10:17-27 (1/31) For Thursday of the 36th Week after
Pentecost (Thurs of 31st Week)

Worlds Apart: St. Mark 10:17-27 RSV, especially vs. 17: "Now as He was
going out on the road, one came running, and knelt before Him and asked
Him, 'Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?'"
How far apart this earnest man was from the Lord Jesus and the from the
journey upon which the Lord was embarked - toward Jerusalem, the
Passion, and the Cross! So intent was the Lord upon this goal that His
disciples were "amazed" as He pressed ahead (Mk. 10:32-34). The
earnestness of the unnamed man - to learn how to inherit eternal life -
is demonstrated in his unusual behavior: he ran rather than walked up to
the Lord Jesus. He knelt before One he considered to be a Rabbi (that
was not customary with Rabbis). He addressed the Lord in an unusual
way, one not practiced by either Jews or Greeks - when he called Him

As the account unfolds, the gap between the Lord Jesus and the man
becomes more and more evident: to overcome the man's obsession with
"inheriting" eternal life, the Lord confronts him with an extreme demand
- to renounce all and follow Him to death (vs. 21). That demand reduces
the man to grief, and he walks away (vs. 22).

This petitioner believed that a finite, mortal man could rationally
understand how to inherit eternal life. The Lord knew better. The man
was deluded. He believed that God expects more than is revealed in the
Law for men to inherit eternal life (Deut. 30:19). The Lord Jesus, Who
actually gave the Law, reminded him that the Divine standard does not
change (Mk. 10:19). The man assumed that sinners, by their own effort,
could win eternal life. Christ our God knows that only He makes eternal
life possible (vs. 10:27). They were worlds apart.

The Lord Jesus' response when He was called "Good," reveals a basic
error in the man - the man believed Jesus could set the terms by which a
person inherits eternal life. The man believed that the person he saw
before him, the famous Rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, as a man knew the
answer. The Lord's question and assertion, "Why do you call Me good?"
rejected the assumption that any human can be "good," for only God is
good (vs. 18). St. Hilary of Poitiers points out that the Lord "would
not have rejected the attribute of goodness if it had been attributed to
Him as God."1

The idea that human beings have the capacity to discover and take the
path to eternal life is inherent in most all of the world's religions,
but it is utterly foreign with respect to serving the true God. From
the first Divinely stated requirement for life (Gen. 2:17), to the
Apostolic declaration that "eternal life which was with the Father and
was manifested to with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ"
(1 Jn. 1:2,3), God alone reveals and extends the mystery of eternal life.

There is no esoteric knowledge for the earnest who desire eternal life.
Through His Holy People - Israel and the Church - God has revealed to
mankind "what is good; or what...the Lord require of do
justice, and love mercy, and be ready to walk with the Lord thy God"
(Micah 6:8). Still, the man who came to the Lord wrongfully sought a
human answer. This the Lord exposed by quoting the Law (Mk. 10:19). As
St. John adds: "I write no new commandment to you, but an old
commandment which you have had from the beginning" (1 Jn. 2:7).

The distance between the deluded man and the Lord Jesus was fully
revealed when Christ exposed his sin to him. Still, what the Lord
requires is for all (Mk. 8:34). Knowing the state of the man's heart,
the Lord placed this demand before him in unavoidable terms which he
could not rationalize. The man chose to turn away, for he knew he was
incapable of doing what he was told was required to obtain eternal
life. Sadly, he did not wait to hear the Gospel caveat: "With men it is
impossible; but not with God; for with God all things are possible" (Mk.

O the precepts which Thou teachest, save me Thine
undeserving servant....


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