Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Daily Meditation 02/12/09


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.


Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 45; PM Psalm 47, 48
Gen. 37:12-24; 1 Cor. 1:20-31; Mark 1:14-28

From Forward Day by Day:

1 Corinthians 1:20-31. God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

One morning many years ago, my husband and I sat at a sidewalk café in Dakar, Senegal. Newly arrived in Africa, we were stunned by heat, noise, flies, and the beggars who surrounded our tiny table. Uneasily we dropped small unfamiliar copper coins into the most importunate of the empty hands.

One particularly heart-wrenching beggar approached a second time: a boy with a beautiful face and no legs at all. He negotiated the chaotic traffic on an improvised skateboard, propelling himself along the street with his powerful arms. His hands were as calloused and filthy as bare feet would have been.

Distressed by his circumstances, and dismayed that my hastily thrust coin had not removed him from my delicate privileged sensibilities, I shook my head. No more.

But: "Cadeau, madame," he insisted with a radiant smile, "a gift for you." He pressed a silver French franc into my astonished hand. Then he flipped himself
expertly around and disappeared into the crowd, leaving me staggered by the sudden reversal of so many assumptions at once.

I still have that coin, to remind myself that God continues to choose what is weak to shame the strong.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Anglican Church of Canada

40 Ideas for Lent: A Lenten calendar


Find a midweek service near your place of work and join them for worship. This week, if possible.

Idea by: frin

"O God, open to us today the sea of your love. Strengthen our weakness by your power. Bind us closer to you and to each other." – Prayer of the Syrian Church

A Celtic lenten Calendar

The Earth is Alive with the Glory of God

1. All Creation is alive with the presence of God. "Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Celtic Christianity is its affinity with nature. (Iona is an absolutely stunning island, where the line between God and the world is what MacLeod called 'tissue thin'.) The Celts enthusiastically affirmed the psalmist's declaration, 'The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims (God's) handiwork' (Psalm 19:1). The Celts believed that all creation is alive with God's presence. Because God's Spirit dwells in all living things, everything is inherently good... Every moment, every location could therefore become a time and place for encountering God.

For a Celtic Lent: "Celebrate the wonder of creation. Plant a flower and watch it grow. Take time each day to sense the changes taking place, even those changes you cannot see. Do what is necessary to nurture its growth. Marvel at the wonder of Creation and give thanks to God for the gift of life.

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

St. Ignatius of Antioch: Letter to the Magnesians

Speaking to the Soul:


Spiritual Practice of the Day

In America, an hour is forty minutes.
— German proverb

To Practice This Thought: Today, try being patient with the imperfections and complexities so common and so disliked in American life.
++++++++++ Reflections

Though we are always in the presence of God, it seems to me that the manner is different for those who practice prayer, for they are aware that he is looking at them.
St Teresa of Jesus
Book of Her Life, ch. 8

Reading from the Desert Christians


When despondency seizes us, let us not give in to it. Rather,
fortified and protected by the light of faith, let us with great
courage say to the spirit of evil: "What are you to us, you who
are cut off from God, a fugitive for Heaven, and a slave of evil?
You dare not do anything to us: Christ, the Son of God, has
dominion over us and over all. Leave us, you thing of bane. We are
made steadfast by the uprightness of His Cross. Serpent, we
trample on your head."

St. Seraphim of Sarov

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Words That Feed Us

When we talk to one another, we often talk about what happened, what we are doing, or what we plan to do. Often we say, "What's up?" and we encourage one another to share the details of our daily lives. But often we want to hear something else. We want to hear, "I've been thinking of you today," or "I missed you," or "I wish you were here," or "I really love you." It is not always easy to say these words, but such words can deepen our bonds with one another.

Telling someone "I love you" in whatever way is always delivering good news. Nobody will respond by saying, "Well, I knew that already, you don't have to say it again"! Words of love and affirmation are like bread. We need them each day, over and over. They keep us alive inside.

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

Day Twelve - The Third Aim, cont'd

Personal spending is limited to what is necessary for our health and well-being and that of our dependents. We aim to stay free from all attachment to wealth, keeping ourselves constantly aware of the poverty in the world and its claim on us. We are concerned more for the generosity that gives all, rather than the value of poverty in itself. In this way we reflect in spirit the acceptance of Jesus' challenge to sell all, give to the poor, and follow him.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Our Only Hope
February 12th, 2008
Tuesday’s Reflection

MANY FIND JESUS’ teaching on enemy love and forgiveness a stumbling block to faith. Because we find it too difficult to practice, we dismiss it as unrealistic and utopian. We should think again, and we should pray that it is not unrealistic, because this congruence of Jesus — the consistency between his teaching on forgiveness and his action on the cross — is really our only hope. It is all that stands between us and the consequences of our monumental frailty. Thank God today that Jesus died as he lived, because with those words, “Father, forgive …” he forgives us all, and he forgives us still.

- Peter Storey
Listening at Golgotha: Jesus’ Words from the Cross

From pp. 18-19 of Listening at Golgotha by Peter Storey. Copyright © 2004 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection


Question of the day:
What part of your story needs to be claimed before transformation?

Steps 4, 5 and 6 of The Twelve Steps:


4. Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admit to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

The story of the woman caught in adultery is a perfect example of Jesus giving people the "gift of guilt". He said two things to her: (1) "I do not condemn you" (shame is not the answer) and (2) "Go and sin no more" (take ownership of yourself and change).

In this he teaches the same lesson as steps 4 and 5 and 6 of the Twelve-Step program. Be entirely ready to have God remove all of these defects of character, which means we've got to own all those defects of character. That's the narrow and healthy road that the gospel and Twelve-Step programs make possible.

from Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the 12 Steps

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

Fix your eyes on Jesus

We must persevere patiently in the course we have begun, without growing faint or discouraged. Let us run the race that lies ahead of us, the apostle urges. Then, as the highest encouragement, the supreme exhortation, the first and last of all the examples he proposes to us, he goes on to say: We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection. Our Lord himself continually taught his disciples the same lesson. For this reason the apostle tells us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus means that we must observe the example Christ gave us if we are to learn to run our race. In all arts and athletics the skill of our instructors is impressed upon our minds as we watch them, and we ourselves become proficient by observing these masters in action. So also, in the race of life, if we want to run well and learn to keep a straight course, we must fix our eyes on Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection.

What does this imply? Surely it means that Christ has given us our faith, and we owe its very first movement within us to his inspiration. As he said to his disciples: You did not choose me, it was I who chose you.

John Chrysostom

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


"And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die." Exodus 20:19

We do not consciously disobey God, we simply do not heed Him. God has given us His commands; there they are, but we do not pay any attention to them, not because of wilful disobedience but because we do not love and respect Him. "If ye love Me, ye will keep My commandments." When once we realize that we have been "disrespecting" God all the time, we are covered with shame and humiliation because we have not heeded Him.

"Speak thou with us . . . but let not God speak with us." We show how little we love God by preferring to listen to His servants only. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we do not desire that God Himself should speak to us. Why are we so terrified lest God should speak to us? Because we know that if God does speak, either the thing must be done or we must tell God we will not obey Him. If it is only the servant's voice we hear, we feel it is not imperative, we can say, "Well, that is simply your own idea, though I don't deny it is probably God's truth."

Am I putting God in the humiliating position of having treated me as a child of His whilst all the time I have been ignoring Him? When I do hear Him, the humiliation I have put on Him comes back on me - "Lord, why was I so dull and so obstinate?" This is always the result when once we do hear God. The real delight of hearing Him is tempered with shame in having been so long in hearing Him.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 12, June 13, October 13
Chapter 10: How the Night Office Is to Be Said in Summer Time

From Easter until the Calends of November
let the same number of Psalms be kept as prescribed above;
but no lessons are to be read from the book,
on account of the shortness of the nights.
Instead of those three lessons
let one lesson from the Old Testament be said by heart
and followed by a short responsory.
But all the rest should be done as has been said;
that is to say that never fewer than twelve Psalms
should be said at the Night Office,
not counting Psalm 3 and Psalm 94.


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

St. Mark 12:18-27 (2/12) Gospel for Tues. of the Week of the
Publican & the Pharisee

Death and Resurrection: St. Mark 12:18-27, especially vs. 27:"He is not
the God of the dead, but the God of the living...." In today's Gospel,
the Lord Jesus addresses not only the reality of death, but also the
greater coming reality, the defeat of death in the resurrection promised
for our mortal bodies. Undeniably, it is the common lot of mankind that
all die, that everybody shall fall in time, that every single body to
whom God gives life also shall languish and go down into the grave.
Yet, straight in the teeth of universal death, the Lord Jesus draws our
attention to the witness of Holy Scripture in opposition to the
"...Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection..." (vs. 18). Centuries
before Christ, the Prophet Isaiah, moved by the Holy Spirit, confessed
to God: "The dead shall rise, and they that are in the tombs shall be
raised, and they that are in the earth shall rejoice: for the dew from
Thee is healing to them..." (Is. 26:19).

In refuting the Sadducees and their fanciful tale of a woman married in
serial fashion to seven brothers, the Lord Jesus teaches three truths
about resurrection of the body: 1) that the promise of resurrection for
our bodies arises from the nature of God as Life and Life-Giver, 2) that
resurrection shall occur in the general resurrection, sometime after
each of us dies, and 3) that each of our mortal bodies shall be raised
as the Apostle says, to "newness of life" (Rom. 6:4), in a "spiritual
body" (1 Cor. 15:44), which Christ Jesus already has manifested.
Anciently, the People of God already had learned to look to God as the
Source of life, a truth we ourselves hear regularly in the Vesperal
Psalm: "Thou wilt take their spirit, and they shall cease; and unto
their dust they shall return. Thou wilt send forth Thy Spirit, and they
shall be created; and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth" (Ps.
103:31,32). Thus the Lord has ordained life and death for all flesh.
He gives life and takes away our breath. We live and die - the great
mystery of life and death. However, the dramatic announcement of the
Lord Jesus in this passage "concerning the dead [is] that they rise"
again (vs. 26).

The Lord Jesus reminds us of what He had said to Moses from the burning
bush: "I Am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob" (Ex. 3:6). The Lord Jesus' point clearly is that God speaks in
present tense. "Now, in the present, I Am the God of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob." He does not say, "Centuries ago I was the God of the
Patriarchs." God the Lord is He Who renews the face of the earth and
restores the dead to life. Of course, for God is the Life-Giver! He is
Life and the One from Whom all life derives and exists. As St. Cyril of
Alexandria adds, "God created all things for incorruption, as it is
written...'He hath swallowed up death, having waxed mighty, and God
shall again take away all weeping from every countenance; He shall
remove the reproach of the people from the whole earth'"1 (see Is. 25:8).

One of the reasons the Sadducees denied the reality of resurrection -
just as do our modern-day secularists - is because they could only see
and touch death. Hence, men do not accept the Apostolic witness that
Christ is risen, "and has become the firstfruits of those who have
fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 15:20). Resurrection for mankind is a future
gift that God has for those who unite themselves now to Christ and
partake now of His Resurrection power for new life. "For as in Adam all
die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own
order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His
coming" (1 Cor. 15:22, 23).
Physically, in the resurrection, men's bodies shall be like the body of
the risen Lord, as St. John of Damascus says, "such that it entered
through the closed doors without difficulty and needed neither food, nor
sleep, nor drink,"2 for they shall be "like angels in heaven" (Mk. 12:25).

Thy cross do we adore, O Christ, and Thy holy Resurrection we praise and


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