Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Daily Meditation 02/19/09



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.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 61, 62; PM Psalm 68:1-20(21-23)24-36
Gen. 42:1-17; 1 Cor. 5:1-8; Mark 3:19b-35

From Forward Day by Day:

Psalm 62. God alone is my rock and my salvation.

Both of today's psalms speak of God as refuge, in images of tents and wings and fortresses: safe places to hide from the enemy, to take shelter from the storm.

This was a powerful image of God to the sixteenth-century reformer Martin Luther, who wrote the well-known hymn "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." In the Middle Ages, Mary was often pictured as the "mother of mercy," her protective cloak spread wide as eagles wings to shelter the improbable crowd of children, saints, and kings huddled at her side.

The psalmist longs for this refuge in God to be permanent: "Let me abide in your tent forever."

But the Christian tradition has always insisted that God both shelters us and sends us out. We are reminded of this at the close of every Eucharist: "Send us now into the world," we ask.

Sometimes--by grace--I get a glimpse of this happening not in alternating moments (first sent, then sheltered), but both together at once: Christ calls us, is with us, and simultaneously sends us. He is, now and forever, our only shelter from the storm, even--especially--in the very heart of the tumult.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Church of the Province of Central Africa and the Diocese of Upper Shire

40 Ideas for Lent: A Lenten calendar


Join Book Crossing, and release a much-loved book or two into the wild.

Booking Crossing is a place where people round the world can share their books with others for free. You register your book on the website and then... "leave it on a park bench, at a coffee shop, at a hotel on vacation. Share it with a friend or tuck it onto a bookshelf at the gym – anywhere it might find a new reader! What happens next is up to fate, and we never know where our books might travel next. Track the book's journey around the world as it is passed on from person to person."

Idea by: Bookworm

"The heart is commonly reached, not through the reason, but through the imagination, by means of direct impressions, by the testimony of facts and events, by history, by description. Persons influence us, voices melt us, looks subdue us, deeds inflame us." – John Henry Newman

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

St. Ignatius of Antioch: Letter to Polycarp

Speaking to the Soul:

He is Christ the Savior

Daily Reading for February 19

When Jesus came to Jordan’s stream his Father’s will obeying,
and was baptized by John, there came a voice from heaven saying,
“This is my dear beloved Son upon whom rests my favor,”
And till God’s will is fully done he will not bend or waver,
for he is Christ the Savior.

The Holy Spirit then was shown, a dove on him descending;
the Triune God is thus made known in Christ as love unending.
He taught, he healed, he raised the dead, yet in his great endeavor
to save us, his own blood was shed; but death could hold him never.
He rose, and lives for ever.

He came by water and by blood to heal our lost condition;
he cleanses, reconciles to God, and gives the Great Commission.
Then let us not heed worldly lies nor rest upon our merit,
but trust in Christ who will baptize with water and the Spirit
that we may life inherit.

Hymn text by Martin Luther (1483-1546), paraphrased by F. Bland Tucker. Hymn 139 in The Hymnal 1982. Copyright © 1985. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.

Spiritual Practice of the Day

To be nobody does not mean doing nothing. It means acting without self-display and without craving for results. The mango tree had shade to give, but it did not display its wares or fret whether anyone wanted its shade. This ability allows for inner peace.
— Ayya Khema in Be an Island

To Practice This Thought: Upon waking in the morning, resolve that today you will be a nobody.
++++++++++ Reflections

By how many paths, in how many manners, through how many means do you reveal your love to us.
St Teresa of Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians


Long ago, the wily one cast his weapon and wounded Adam and killed
Indeed, he completely destroyed the weak man.
But now, even if he struck the bodies of the noble men,
he did not destroy their spirits.
He persuaded the first-created man to fall by words,
but not even by deeds, the noble ones.
Bewitching the former, he made promises; he made offers to the
For Adam, the making of a god; for the martyrs, honor.
He offers what he does not have; he suggests bestowing things not
in his authority.
Therefore, saints, having shattered his scheme,
You gained crowns.

Kontakia of Romanos, On the Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia I.

Daily Meditation from

Readings for Day 19

February 19

Psalm 84:1–4 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 3 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young-- a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.

1 Chronicles 15:23–24 Berekiah and Elkanah were to be doorkeepers for the ark. 24 Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah and Eliezer the priests were to blow trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-Edom and Jehiah were also to be doorkeepers for the ark.

Mark 14:32–37,50–52 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch." 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." 37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled. 51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Basis of Our Security

What is the basis of our security? When we start thinking about that question, we may give many answers: success, money, friends, property, popularity, family, connections, insurance, and so on. We may not always think that any of these forms the basis of our security, but our actions or feelings may tell us otherwise. When we start losing our money, our friends, or our popularity, our anxiety often reveals how deeply our sense of security is rooted in these things.

A spiritual life is a life in which our security is based not in any created things, good as they may be, but in God, who is everlasting love. We probably will never be completely free from our attachment to the temporal world, but if we want to live in that world in a truly free way, we'd better not belong to it. "You cannot be the slave both of God and of money" (Luke 16:13).

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

Day Nineteen - The Third Way of Service - Work

Jesus took on himself the form of a servant. He came not to be served, but to serve. He went about doing good: healing the sick, preaching good news to the poor, and binding up the broken hearted.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Longing for Holiness
February 19th, 2008
Tuesday’s Reflection

THE BOTTOM OF THE SOUL may be in repose even while we are in many outward troubles, just as the bottom of the sea is calm, while the surface is strongly agitated.

- John Wesley
A Longing for Holiness

From pp. 62-63 of A Longing for Holiness: Selected Writings of John Wesley, edited by Keith Beasley-Topliffe. Copyright © 1997 by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved.
Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection


Question of the day:
What is it to live with suffering?

Suffering is the necessary feeling of evil. If we don't feel evil we stand antiseptically apart from it, numb. We can't understand evil by thinking about it. The sin of much of our world is that we stand apart from pain; we buy our way out of the pain of being human.

Jesus did not numb himself or withhold from pain. Suffering is the necessary pain so that we know evil, so that we can name evil and confront it. Otherwise we somehow dance through this world and never really feel what is happening.

Brothers and sisters, the irony is not that God should feel so fiercely; it's that his creatures feel so feebly. The totally free person is one who can feel all of it and not be afraid of any of it.

from Days of Renewal

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

The teachings of God

To preserve men and women from sin and from being unworthy of himself God commanded them to love him and taught them to be just in their dealings with other people. By the Ten Commandments he prepared them to live in friendship with himself and in harmony with one another. This was simply for their own good and it was all God asked of them. It conferred great glory on them and gave them the friendship with God they had lacked, but it did not benefit God, for he had no need of their love. The need was all on their side: they needed the glory of God and could obtain it only by serving him. This is why Moses said to the people: Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him. In this your life consists.

And so God has abolished the laws which were given as a sign of their servitude but has amplified the natural laws which are of universal application and befit people who are free. This he has done in his generosity by freely making us his children, so that we might know him as our Father, love him with our whole heart, and unswervingly follow his Word.

Irenaeus of Lyons

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


"Arise, shine." Isaiah 60:1

We have to take the first step as though there were no God. It is no use to wait for God to help us, He will not; but immediately we arise we find He is there. Whenever God inspires, the initiative is a moral one. We must do the thing and not lie like a log. If we will arise and shine, drudgery becomes divinely transfigured.

Drudgery is one of the finest touchstones of character there is. Drudgery is work that is very far removed from anything to do with the ideal - the utterly mean grubby things; and when we come in contact with them we know instantly whether or not we are spiritually real. Read John 13. We see there the Incarnate God doing the most desperate piece of drudgery, washing fishermen's feet, and He says - "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet." It requires the inspiration of God to go through drudgery with the light of God upon it. Some people do a certain thing and the way in which they do it hallows that thing for ever afterwards. It may be the most commonplace thing, but after we have seen them do it, it becomes different. When the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it. Our Lord took on Him our human flesh and transfigured it, and it has become for every saint the temple of the Holy Ghost.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 19, June 20, October 20
Chapter 16: How the Work of God Is to Be Performed During the Day

"Seven times in the day," says the Prophet,
"I have rendered praise to You" (Ps. 118:164).
Now that sacred number of seven will be fulfilled by us
if we perform the Offices of our service
at the time of the Morning Office,
of Prime, of Terce, of Sext, of None,
of Vespers and of Compline,
since it was of these day Hours that he said,
"Seven times in the day I have rendered praise to You."
For as to the Night Office the same Prophet says,
"In the middle of the night I arose to glorify You" (Ps. 118:62).

Let us therefore bring our tribute of praise to our Creator
"for the judgments of His justice" (Ps. 118:164)
at these times:
the Morning Office, Prime, Terce, Sext, None,
Vespers and Compline;
and in the night let us arise to glorify Him.

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

St. Mark 13:14-23 (2/19) Gospel for Tuesday of
the Week of the Prodigal Son

Fleeing: St. Mark 13:14-23, especially vs. 14: "Let those who are in
Judea flee to the mountains." In the face of threatening circumstances,
wisdom often dictates rapid departure, or in plain terms, fleeing. In
today's Gospel, the Lord Jesus says frankly that life does occasionally
suggest urgent reasons for taking flight, and He gives an example of an
appropriate time to withdraw. Furthermore, He counsels that, when
circumstances dictate a quick retreat, we should not just leave, but
really flee - get away as fast as possible. Of greatest importance, the
Lord suggests the basic reason for choosing to flee.

What constitutes a genuinely threatening circumstance according to what
our Lord teaches in this passage? Some background is helpful: first, He
provide this counsel about fleeing during the final days before His
arrest, while He was teaching in and around the Temple precincts (Mk.
12:35,41;13:1,3). Also, His mention of the "abomination of desolation"
(Mk. 13:14) made reference to prior events well-known to His
first-century listeners, events with allusions involving the Temple.
Subsequent events involving the Temple that occurred after the Lord's
Crucifixion and Resurrection add even greater weight to His counsel.

The Lord Jesus warned His first disciples that they would "see the
'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, standing
where it ought not" (vs. 14). In the sixth century BC, the Prophet
Daniel had prophesied that a time would come when "the daily sacrifice
is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up" (Dan.
12:11). Centuries later, during the time of the Seleucid king,
Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-169 BC) , a desecration of that sort
occurred when the king "...set up the abomination of desolation upon the
altar..." (1 Macc. 1:54) in the Temple as part of a total effort to
eradicate every trace of Judaism in Judea.

Since those acts of profanation were past history, our Lord was warning
of a future act of sacrilege, one so appalling that the Temple would be
abandoned by God. At the beginning of the revolt against the Romans in
66 AD, Jewish forces led by the Zealots at first were successful against
the Twelfth Legion of Rome. Still, many knew that the Romans would
return in force.

The Zealots, in the flush of victory, took over the Temple and permitted
outlaws to carry out all sorts of terrible crimes within the Temple,
including murder and dressing up in mockery of the High Priest. A
former High Priest said at that time: "It would have been far better for
me to have died before I had seen the house of God laden with such
abominations."1 Most Jewish members of the Church saw these events as
the signs of which the Lord had warned and they fled to Pella across the
Jordan River. The Lord's prophecies prepared them to flee. There
clearly are times when withdrawal is indicated, and flight by God's
People is fully warranted.

When it is clear that flight is appropriate, one should not hesitate,
but do as the Lord urges (Mk. 13:15,16). By God's mercy, flight will
not be necessary for nursing mothers nor during harsh weather (vss.
17,18). The early Christians who heeded the Lord's prophecy during the
Jewish wars fled Jerusalem without grave difficulties. As Eusebios says
in his Ecclesiastical History: "those who believed in Christ migrated
from Jerusalem. Once the holy men had completely left the Jews and all
Judea, the justice of God at last overtook them [the Jews], since they
had committed such transgressions against Christ and His Apostles."2

One should flee to hold fast to Christ and to reject "false christs and
false prophets" (vs. 22), and many Christians have rightly fled when
social darkness threatened the Faith. Consider also Lot and his family!

O Thou Light of those lying in darkness, O Christ our Savior, enlighten
us with Thy radiance that we may know and serve none other gods beside


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