Monday, February 18, 2008

Daily Meditation 02/18/09



O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

O God, our refuge and our strength, who raised up your servant Martin Luther to reform and renew your Church in the light of your word: Defend and purify the Church in our own day and grant that, through faith, we may boldly proclaim the riches of your grace, which you have made known in Jesus Christ our Savior, who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 56, 57, [58]; PM Psalm 64, 65
Gen. 41:46-57; 1 Cor. 4:8-20(21); Mark 3:7-19a

From Forward Day by Day:

1 Corinthians 4: 8-20(21). The kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power.

Years ago, an eager new member of our church joined the congregation's hunger task force. After only a few meetings, however, she stopped coming. When I asked her why, she shrugged and explained, "I thought we would be making a difference in people's lives, but all we did was sit in a circle of folding chairs and talk about it."

That young woman understood, and devastatingly revealed, a weakness in church life that Paul warned the Corinthians about nearly two millennia ago:
the kingdom consists not in talk, but in action.

In today's gospel, Jesus withdraws from the crowds and calls the disciples to join him on the mountain. But he did not choose the Twelve to be with him in a cozy and exclusive isolation--the Galilean equivalent of a circle of folding chairs. He called them to "be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons."

God calls us to join him in bringing in the kingdom, and will give us power in the Holy Spirit to change the world. Sitting and talking about it is not enough.

Today we remember:

Martin Luther
Psalm 46;
Isaiah 55:6-11; John 15:1-11

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Barbados (West Indies)

40 Ideas for Lent: A Lenten calendar

11. SING!

Regardless of what kind of day you are having, sing your favourite song or hymn, out loud.

Idea by: Susan

"I arise today through a mighty strength: God's power to guide me, God's eyes to watch over me; God's way to lie before me." – St Brigid of Gael

A Celtic lenten Calendar Meditation for the week

The Armour of God

2. God's good creation has been corrupted by evil. "The Celts were not naive about the perniciousness of sin. Evil was an invading army that had to be driven out. Protection was needed. St. Paul tells us to "put on the whole armor of God" (Ephesians 6:11), so through prayer Celts 'bound' to themselves spiritual breastplates, called Loricas, to reassure them of divine protection. With the right arm outstretched they would turn sunward making a full circle as they recited St. Patrick's famous cairn or prayer:

Christ be with me, Christ within me
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger'.

For a Celtic Lent: "Be aware of the evil that corrupts creation around you. As you face each day this week, recite Patrick's cairn, or write one of your own. Know that you are sheltered by divine love and grace. As you face any challenge or crisis, remind yourself that Christ is with you and within you, and that nothing can separate you from God's love.

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

St. Ignatius of Antioch: Letter to Polycarp

Speaking to the Soul:

One thing necessary

Daily Reading for February 18 • Martin Luther, 1546

One thing, and only one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom. That one thing is the most holy Word of God, the gospel of Christ, as Christ says, John 11, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.”. . . Let us then consider it certain and firmly established that the soul can do without anything except the Word of God and that where the Word of God is missing there is no help at all for the soul. If it has the Word of God it is rich and lacks nothing, since it is the Word of life, truth, light, peace, righteousness, salvation, joy, liberty, wisdom, power, grace, glory, and of every incalculable blessing. . . .

You may ask, “What then is the Word of God, and how shall it be used, since there are so many words of God?” I answer: The Apostle explains this in Romans 1. The Word is the gospel of God concerning his Son, who was made flesh, suffered, rose from the dead, and was glorified through the Spirit who sanctifies. To preach Christ means to feed the soul, make it righteous, set it free, and save it, provided it believes the preaching. Faith alone is the saving and efficacious use of the Word of God.

From “The Freedom of a Christian” by Martin Luther, in Martin Luther, Three Treatises, second revised edition (Fortress Press, 1970).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

Don't get your hopes up too high. This was one of my self-protective devices. I think it's a common parental warning, because parents are afraid to see their children disappointed.
— Rick Hamlin in Finding God on the A Train

To Practice This Thought: Banish this fear-based approach to hope.
++++++++++ Reflections

Be sure that the Lord will never forsake those who love Him when they run risks solely for His sake.
St Teresa of Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians


First of all it must be understood that it is the duty of all
Christians - especially of those whose calling dedicates them to
the spiritual life - to strive always and in every way to be
united with God, their creator, lover, benefactor, and their
supreme good, by Whom and for Whom they were created. This is
because the center and the final purpose of the soul, which God
created, must be God Himself alone, and nothing else - God whom
Whom the soul has received its life and its nature, and for Whom
it must eternally live.

St. Dimitry of Rostov

Daily Meditation from

Meditation for Day 18

Primeval fire fused a cradle of rock.

Borne by the rocking tides,
smooth sand folded its hollows;
frail seeds flew
on the winds' shoulders;
blessed by soft rain
and warmth of sun,
grass and herb
bound the shifting dunes.
Lastly, trusted servants came, led by Christ
to build a home for restless souls,
a beacon to shed forth His light.

Lord of rock and tide,
of sun and air,
Bringer of light:
may Your blessing rest
on this Your house.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Creating Beautiful Memories

What happens during meals shapes a large part of our memories. As we grow older we forget many things, but we mostly remember the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners in our families. We remember them with joy and gratitude or with sadness and anger. They remind us of the peace that existed in our homes or the conflicts that never seemed to get resolved. These special moments around the table stand out as vivid reminders of the quality of our lives together.

Today fast-food services and TV dinners have made common meals less and less central. But what will there be to remember when we no longer come together around the table to share a meal? Maybe we will have fewer painful memories, but will we have any joyful ones? Can we make the table a hospitable place, inviting us to kindness, gentleness, joy, and peace and creating beautiful memories?

Weekly Reflection from the Merton Institute

Brilliant and gorgeous day, bright sun, breeze making all the leaves and high brown grasses shine. Singing of the wind in the cedars. Exultant day in which even a puddle in the pig lot shines like precious silver.

Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself and, if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself. For it is the unaccepted self that stands in my way and will continue to do so as long as it is not accepted. When it has been accepted--it is my own stepping stone to what is above me. Because this is the way man has been made by God. Original sin was the effort to surpass oneself by being "like God"--i.e. unlike oneself. But our God-likeness begins at home. We must first become like ourselves and stop living "beside ourselves."

Thomas Merton. A Search for Solitude. Edited by Lawrence S. Cunningham (San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 1996): 220-221

Thought for the Day

My vocation and task in this world is to keep alive all that is usefully individual and personal to me, to be a "contemplative" in the full sense and to share it with others, to remain as a witness of the nobility of the private person and his primacy over the group.

A Search for Solitude: 221

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

Day Eighteen - The Second Way of Service, cont'd

As well as the devotional study of Scripture, we all recognize our Christian responsibility to pursue other branches of study, both sacred and secular. In particular, some of us accept the duty of contributing, through research and writing, to a better understanding of the church's mission in the world: the application of Christian principles to the use and distribution of wealth; questions concerning justice and peace; and of all other questions concerning the life of faith.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

In Heart and Mind
February 18th, 2008
Monday’s Reflection

[A] WORKDAY PRACTICE is carrying a person in heart and mind in intercessory prayer. This practice does not mean thinking about the individual all the time but intending to remember and then offering the person to God whenever he or she comes to mind or in conjunction with any thought of God that arises. … The experience of faith through the centuries affirm[s] that all souls are interconnected in God, bound together in a fellowship of mutual support and caring that transcends the barriers of space and time.

- Robert Corin Morris
Wrestling with Grace: A Spirituality for the Rough Edges of Daily Life

From pp. 66-67 of Wrestling with Grace by Robert Corin Morris. Copyright © 2003 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved.
Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection


Question of the day: What imprints were left by your desert experiences?

When I was young, I wanted to suffer for God. I pictured myself being the great and glorious martyr. There's something so romantic about laying down your life. I guess every young person might see themselves that way. But there is nothing glorious about the moment of suffering when you're in the middle of it. You swear it's meaningless. You swear it has nothing to do with goodness or holiness.

The very essence of the desert experience is that you want to get out. A lack of purpose, of meaning—that's what causes us to suffer. When you find a pattern in your suffering, a direction, you can accept it and go with it. The great suffering, the suffering of Jesus, is when that pattern is not given.

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.

God's desire for our salvation

God's will is to save us, and nothing pleases him more than our coming back to him with true repentance. The heralds of truth and the ministers of divine grace have told us this from the beginning, repeating it in every age. Indeed, God's desire for our salvation is the primary and preeminent sign of his infinite goodness, and it was precisely in order to show that there is nothing closer to God's heart that the divine Word of God the Father, with untold condescension, lived among us in the flesh, and that he died, suffered, and said all that was necessary to reconcile us to God the Father when we were at enmity with him, and to restore us to the life of blessedness from which we had been exiled. He healed our physical infirmities by miracles; he freed us from our sins, many and grievous as they were, by suffering and dying, taking them upon himself as if he were answerable for them, sinless though he was. He also taught us in many different ways that we should wish to imitate him by our own kindness and genuine love for one another.

Maximus the Confessor

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


"Rise, let us be going." Matthew 26:46

The disciples went to sleep when they should have kept awake, and when they realized what they had done it produced despair. The sense of the irreparable is apt to make us despair, and we say - "It is all up now, it is no use trying any more." If we imagine that this kind of despair is exceptional, we are mistaken, it is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize that we have not done that which we had a magnificent opportunity of doing, then we are apt to sink into despair; and Jesus Christ comes and says - "Sleep on now, that opportunity is lost for ever, you cannot alter it, but arise and go to the next thing." Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ, and go out into the irresistible future with Him.

There are experiences like this in each of our lives. We are in despair, the despair that comes from actualities, and we cannot lift ourselves out of it. The disciples in this instance had done a downright unforgivable thing; they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus, but He came with a spiritual initiative against their despair and said - "Arise and do the next thing." If we are inspired of God, what is the next thing? To trust Him absolutely and to pray on the ground of His Redemption.

Never let the sense of failure corrupt your new action.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 18, June 19, October 19
Chapter 15: At What Times "Alleluia" Is to Be Said

From holy Easter until Pentecost without interruption
let "Alleluia" be said
both in the Psalms and in the responsories.
From Pentecost to the beginning of Lent
let it be said every night
with the last six Psalms of the Night Office only.
On every Sunday, however, outside of Lent,
the canticles, the Morning Office, Prime, Terce, Sext and None
shall be said with "Alleluia,"
but Vespers with antiphons.

The responsories are never to be said with "Alleluia"
except from Easter to Pentecost.

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

St. Mark 13:9-13 (2/18) Gospel for Monday of
the Week of the Prodigal Son

Counting the Cost: St. Mark 13:9-13, especially vs. 13: "But he who
endures to the end shall be saved." In today's Gospel the Lord Jesus
warns of the possible consequences in one's life and family
relationships for professing Christ. He begins with a blunt caution:
"watch out for yourselves" (vs. 9). Later in this same chapter, He
again admonishes and urges keeping alert and watchful for His return
(vss. 33, 35, 37).
Skim through this Gospel and notice that the specifics of the Lord
Jesus' warnings parallel, step by step, what later occurred to Him in
His Passion, events described in the following chapters (Mk. 14-15).
Then, glance ahead, notice that the final teachings of our Lord in this
Gospel transition directly into the plot against Him in St. Mark
14:1-2. In love, the Lord is warning us to count in advance the cost of
discipleship and the price of our salvation.

The sufferings of the Lord Jesus in His Passion, as well as the
afflictions that countless martyrs and confessors have endured, pose a
serious question: "Why follow Christ if arrest, beating, interrogation,
public confession, betrayal, hatred, and execution are possibilities?"
Let us be forthright: there are many answers to such a question, but the
true answer is salvation - your eternal life (vs. 13). If you call
yourself a Christian, heed St. Makarios of Egypt's chilling observation
that "Many are moved by repentance and many become partakers of heavenly
grace and are wounded by divine love; but unable to bear the ensuing
tribulations and the wily and versatile assaults of the devil, they
submit to the world and are submerged in its depths."1 Thus, sadly,
some who profess Christ will hear Him say, "I never knew you" (Mt. 7:23).

As the Lord Jesus advises, count the cost of discipleship in advance,
(Lk. 14:28-30). As you do, you might come to admit that there are real,
tangible benefits for deciding against discipleship. Uninhibited
pleasures in this life are the principle reason for deciding against
real Faith. However, you should also examine the ineffable benefits of
the salvation to which you are called. Genuine humanity is found only
in Christ. Deliverance from sin and eternal death is of incalculable
worth, beyond all measure. Even union with God becomes a radiant

The world offers what can be touched, consumed, held, and tasted.
Committing to Christ can often imply forgoing momentary pleasures.
However, when one looks at the confusion, bitterness, and sterility that
so often accompany unbridled indulgence, the promises of the Gospel -
love, hope, faith, life, light, integrity, and purity - shine very

Having looked at the "why" of being Christ's disciple, we must also
look, with the Lord Jesus, at what may have to be endured to be saved.
Loyalty to Him may require resisting social consensus (vs. 9),
advocating for the Gospel (vss. 10-11), or denying some family demands
(vs. 12). Such resistance, such taking of a stand, may exact a price
ranging from loss of life to the surrender of some mere trifle. Make no
mistake: our secular culture constantly presses against loyalty to
Christ, incessantly demanding that we defend our beliefs, values, and
practices. These pressures are the essential price of enduring "to the
end," in order to be saved (vs. 13).

Finally, how long may you have to endure if you stand for Christ? In
one respect, the answer is simple. Until the "end." And when is that?
The Apostle teaches that "it is appointed for men to die once, but after
this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27). In other words, we have to endure until
we are judged. And so we pray for "a Christian ending to our life,
painless, blameless, peaceful; and a good defense before the dread
Judgment Seat of Christ."2

Yea, let my humble heart be lighted by Thy fear lest it rise and fall
from Thee, O all compassionate One. Purify me before Thou raisest me
from this place.


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