Saturday, February 09, 2008

Daily Meditation 02/09/09


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.


O God, who before the passion of your only­begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; 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 30, 32; PM Psalm 42, 43
Ezek. 39:21-29; Phil. 4:10-20; John 17:20-26

From Forward Day by Day:

Philippians 4:10-20. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

My beloved Lutheran grandmother was a fiercely independent woman. She strongly resisted moving from her little house, even when she was a widow living alone in her nineties. After a fall which broke a hip--when her doctor insisted that she be discharged from the hospital directly into a nursing home--I was afraid she would be furious. After all, she had been summarily evicted from her home, able to take from a lifetime's cherished possessions only enough to furnish a small room.

To my surprise, I arrived at the nursing home to find her reading in bed, relaxed and cheerful.

"What happened?" I couldn't resist asking. "How can you seem so calm about this?" She smiled ruefully and quoted Saint Paul: "I have learned in whatever state I am to be content...I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

For my grandmother as for Paul--writing to the Philippians from a prison cell--external circumstances could not determine peace of mind. Theirs was not a complacent self-sufficiency, however: it was God who strengthened them to be as content with little as with much.

May this Lent lead us to a similar freedom.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Athabasca (Rupert's Land, Canada)

40 Ideas for Lent: A Lenten calendar


Find out about the impact of plastic shopping bags on the environment – here's a good place to start, ( )where you can find out about your country and plastic bags. Work out the best way you can cut down your consumption of plastic bags – maybe by taking your own durable bags out when you shop. Plan to do this all next week, and see if this is something you can do long-term.

For the purposes of bagging up waste, you might be interested to look at biodegradable cornstarch bags. ttp://

Idea by: comet and Hazey*Jane

"Repentance is a contract with God for a second life." – John Climacus

A Celtic lenten Calendar

Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan
Read Excerpts from the Church Fathers during Lent

Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians: complete

Speaking to the Soul:

Lent in Jerusalem

Daily Reading for February 9

When the season of Lent is at hand, it is observed in the following manner. Now whereas with us the forty days preceding Easter are observed, here they observe the eight weeks before Easter. This is the reason why they observe eight weeks: On Sundays and Saturdays they do not fast, except on the one Saturday which is the vigil of Easter, when it is necessary to fast. Except on that day, there is absolutely no fasting here on Saturdays at any time during the year. And so, when eight Sundays and seven Saturdays have been deducted from the eight weeks—for it is necessary, as I have just said, to fast on one Saturday—there remain forty-one days which are spent in fasting, which are called here “eortae,” that is to say, Lent.

This is a summary of the fasting practices here during Lent. There are some who, having eaten on Sunday after the dismissal, that is, at the fifth or sixth hour, do not eat again for the whole week until Saturday, following the dismissal from the Anastasis. These are the ones who observe the full week’s fast. Having eaten once in the morning on Saturday, they do not eat again in the evening, but only on the following day, on Sunday, that is, do they eat after the dismissal from the church at the fifth hour or later. Afterwards, they do not eat again until the following Saturday, as I have already said. Such is their fate during the Lenten season that they take no leavened bread (for this cannot be eaten at all), no olive oil, nothing which comes from trees, but only water and a little flour soup. And this is what is done throughout Lent.

From the Travels of Egeria, Abbess, and Pilgrim to Jerusalem [late fourth century]. From Readings for the Daily Office from the Early Church, edited by J. Robert Wright. Copyright © 1991. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.

Spiritual Practice of the Day

Work of the eyes is done. Now go and do heart work.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

To Practice This Thought: Use this mantra whenever you finish reading a book.
++++++++++ Reflections

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


Go and have pity on all, for through pity, one finds freedom of
speech before God.

Abba Pambo

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Giving and Receiving Consolation

Consolation is a beautiful word. It means "to be" (con-) "with the lonely one" (solus). To offer consolation is one of the most important ways to care. Life is so full of pain, sadness, and loneliness that we often wonder what we can do to alleviate the immense suffering we see. We can and must offer consolation. We can and must console the mother who lost her child, the young person with AIDS, the family whose house burned down, the soldier who was wounded, the teenager who contemplates suicide, the old man who wonders why he should stay alive.

To console does not mean to take away the pain but rather to be there and say, "You are not alone, I am with you. Together we can carry the burden. Don't be afraid. I am here." That is consolation. We all need to give it as well as to receive it.

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

Day Nine - The Second Aim, cont'd

As Tertiaries, we are prepared not only to speak out for social justice and international peace, but to put these principles into practice in our own lives, cheerfully facing any scorn or persecution to which this may lead.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Acts of Loving Obedience
February 9th, 2008
Saturday’s Reflection

WITHIN SPIRITUAL formation, a spiritual discipline is something we offer to God as a means of God’s grace in our lives. It is an act of loving obedience offered to God to be used for God’s purposes in our lives.

Anything and everything we do can be a spiritual discipline if we offer it to God as a means for God to use in our lives if God so chooses. “Doing” becomes “being” when we offer our “doing” to God and keep offering it and keep offering it as a means for God to do whatever God wants to do in and through our lives.

- M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.
Shaped by the Word

From p. 114 of Shaped by the Word by M. Robert Mulholland, Jr. Copyright © 1985 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Path of Descent

Question of the day:
Where do you find meaning?

The spirituality behind the Twelve Steps is a "low Church" approach to evangelization and healing that is probably our only hope in a suffering world of six-and-a-half billion people. Do we really need to verify belief in atonement doctrines and the Immaculate Conception when most of God's physical, animal and human world is on the verge of mass suicide and extinction?

Our suffering is psychological, relational and addictive: the suffering of people who are comfortable on the outside but oppressed and empty within. It is a crisis of meaninglessness and the false self, which had tried to find meaning in possessions, prestige and power. It doesn't work. So we turn to ingesting and buying to fill our empty souls.

The Twelve Steps walk us back out of our addictive society. Like all steps toward truth, they lead downward.

Bill Wilson and his A.A. movement have shown us that the real power is when we no longer seek, need or abuse power. Real power is not at the top but at the bottom. Those who admit they are powerless have the only power that matters in the world or in the Church. Saint Bill W., pray for us.

from Radical Grace, "The Twelve Steps: An Amazing Gift of the Spirit"

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

Unmerited grace

In human experience it is a rare thing for one person to die for another, even if the latter be one who is outstandingly good, though there might be a few who would have the courage to do it. Perhaps we coud find someone willing to die for a really good person, but who save Christ alone would be prepared to die for an unjust and godless sinner?

Christ, the Holy One, was willing to lay down his life in order to bring sinners to holiness. We human beings have never had a single good deed to our credit. But God in his mercy never abandoned us on account of our sinful ways. Instead of exacting the well-deserved penalty which was our due, he gave us unmerited grace, sending his Son to redeem us, not with gold or silver, but by the outpouring of his precious blood. As a spotless lamb he was led to the slaughter, offered in sacrifice for blemished sheep. We have received this grace; let us live in a manner that is worthy of it, and not abuse so precious a gift. The greatest of physicians has come to us and forgiven all our sins. If by our own will we fall sick again, not only shall we do ourselves harm, but we shall also be guilty of ingratitude toward the physician who has healed us.

Augustine of Hippo

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


"The everlasting God . . . fainteth not, neither is weary." Isaiah 40:28

Exhaustion means that the vital forces are worn right out. Spiritual exhaustion never comes through sin but only through service, and whether or not you are exhausted will depend upon where you get your supplies. Jesus said to Peter - "Feed My sheep," but He gave him nothing to feed them with. The process of being made broken bread and poured out wine means that you have to be the nourishment for other souls until they learn to feed on God. They must drain you to the dregs. Be careful that you get your supply, or before long you will be utterly exhausted. Before other souls learn to draw on the life of the Lord Jesus direct, they have to draw on it through you; you have to be literally "sucked," until they learn to take their nourishment from God. We owe it to God to be our best for His lambs and His sheep as well as for Himself.

Has the way in which you have been serving God betrayed you into exhaustion? If so, then rally your affections. Where did you start the service from? From your own sympathy or from the basis of the Redemption of Jesus Christ? Continually go back to the foundation of your affections and recollect where the source of power is. You have no right to say - "O Lord, I am so exhausted." He saved and sanctified you in order to exhaust you. Be exhausted for God, but remember that your supply comes from Him. "All my fresh springs shall be in Thee."

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 9, June 10, October 10
Chapter 7: On Humility

The twelfth degree of humility
is that a monk not only have humility in his heart
but also by his very appearance make it always manifest
to those who see him.
That is to say that whether he is at the Work of God,
in the oratory, in the monastery, in the garden, on the road,
in the fields or anywhere else,
and whether sitting, walking or standing,
he should always have his head bowed
and his eyes toward the ground.
Feeling the guilt of his sins at every moment,
he should consider himself already present at the dread Judgment
and constantly say in his heart
what the publican in the Gospel said
with his eyes fixed on the earth:
"Lord, I am a sinner and not worthy to lift up my eyes to heaven" (Luke 18:13; Matt. 8:8);
and again with the Prophet:
"I am bowed down and humbled everywhere" (Ps. 37:7,9; 118:107).

Having climbed all these steps of humility, therefore,
the monk will presently come to that perfect love of God
which casts out fear.
And all those precepts
which formerly he had not observed without fear,
he will now begin to keep by reason of that love,
without any effort,
as though naturally and by habit.
No longer will his motive be the fear of hell,
but rather the love of Christ,
good habit
and delight in the virtues
which the Lord will deign to show forth by the Holy Spirit
in His servant now cleansed from vice and sin.

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

St. Luke 17:3-10 (2/9) For Saturday of the 37th Week after
Pentecost (Sat., 32nd Week)

Christian Duties: St. Luke 17:3-10, especially vs. 10: "...'We are
unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'" St.
Paul glimpsed a truth deep within the Person of the Lord Jesus: that He
is an anadochos - One Who assumes burdens (comp. Lk. 9:41). Hence, the
Apostle says that we should "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil
the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). How may we apply this truth of the
Lord? In today's Gospel, Christ Jesus gives us four specific duties to
carry out in Him - as members of His Body: to rebuke fellow Christians
as needed, to repent ourselves, to forgive others, and to persist in
carrying out these duties. As we do, He will make "burden bearers" of
us in His likeness.

First: the Lord encourages us to rebuke one another (Lk. 17:3). Do you
recoil from this command and ask, "Are we not supposed to be kind to one
another?" Ah, but, rebuke of a fellow Christian may be a kindness. In
teaching us to rebuke, the Lord also says, "'Hypocrite! First remove
the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the
speck from your brother's eye'" (Mt. 7:5). Therefore, first apply the
rebuke to yourself and ask God to forgive you. Then, rebuke if it can
help. Indeed, you must rebuke if the Lord asks you to do so!

Rebuke has an important place in the struggle to mature in Christ. It
aims to put one back on the right course. God admonishes us as a duty,
as a gift, to rebuke our companions in their life in Christ. Help for
one another among the wounded is a blessing. Rebuke need not be a trap
to triumph over another in weakness. Let it have an honored place in
the economy of love, for even the Lord Jesus rebukes those whom He
loves. "For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son
whom He receives" (Heb. 12:6).

Second, remember that rebuke is mutual. If the Lord prompts you to
rebuke, He also prompts you to receive rebuke. We are to bear one
other's burdens, even as others bear ours. Rebuke is not an end-point;
it has a purpose - repentance and correction. Hence, the second
Christian duty is repentance. Receive rebuke yourself as a gift, a
grace from God; and when you rebuke, do so in such a manner that others
are likely to awaken and repent. Be kindly and firm.

Third, when you rebuke and the other repents, for God's sake, forgive!
You must, or you ought to quit the Faith. Forgiveness is basic
Christianity. How else can you ask God to forgive you your trespasses
as you forgive those who trespass against you? In the Community of
sinners, the struggle goes on and on. To forgive repeatedly may stir up
irritation or impatience in you. Confess that sin. After all, fighting
the same cursed sin over and over is tedious for us sinners. Who does
not know this? As you know God's compassion, forgive and without measure.

These three activities, beloved, describe the scope of Christian life.
Reflect on these duties, and how little we achieve them in fact! Is it
not appalling? You and I need to look to our own darkness and sin. Cry
out with St. Peter in shame: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O
Lord!" (Lk. 5:8). As the Apostles understood how little they were able
to carry out these duties without God's grace, they begged the Lord,
"'Increase our faith'" (Lk. 17:5). Seek greater faith!

The Lord's reply to this request to "increase our faith" leads us back
to our own sin, and so He speaks of pulling a tree up by the roots and
planting it in the ocean (see vs. 6). Impossible? His hyperbole
presses us to depend on God! Now we are ready for a final duty: to
persist. As we cannot plant the Tree of life, neither shall we receive
rest (vs. 7-10). Labor in Christ is the life-long task of a disciple.
God gives the profit, and He is faithful to help you attain the
impossible. You only have to persist. That is our duty. He will plant
and He will give growth.

Grant, O Lord that we may complete the remaining time of our life in
peace and repentance.


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