Friday, February 22, 2008

Daily Meditation 02/22/08



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 95 [for the Invitatory] 69:1-23(24-30)31-38; PM Psalm 73
Gen. 43:1-15; 1 Cor. 7:1-9; Mark 4:35-41

From Forward Day by Day:

Psalm 69:1-23(24-30)31-38. I have come into deep waters.

Perhaps the disciples, in their terror of the storm that today's gospel describes, were praying from the psalm appointed for today: "Save me, O God...I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me."

Jesus, exhausted, is asleep in the stern of the boat; the disciples wake him, reproachful of his apparent indifference to their peril. Jesus rebukes the sea and the wind, which obey him, instantly becoming calm.

This gospel story was dear to the heart of Saint Therese of Lisieux, who died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-four, and spent most of her short life as a Carmelite nun in spiritual darkness. She clung bravely to the conviction that Jesus was nonetheless present with her in her tempest-tossed boat: he might seem to be asleep, but he was with her, even when the waters closed over her head.

May we, like the disciples, be filled with awe at the power of Christ over our wildest inner darkness. May we, with Therese of Lisieux, want not so much to be delivered from deep waters, as to find God with us in the midst of them.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Bathurst (New South Wales, Australia)

40 Ideas for Lent: A Lenten calendar


Choose a Psalm or other passage from the Bible which means a lot to you, and learn it off by heart. You might find it best to start learning it at home, and then trying to recall it when you're out walking or driving, or on your journey to work. Here are some suggested passages...

> Psalm 23
> Romans 8:38-39
> 1 Corinthians 13
> Psalm 121

Idea by: Lord Kevin

"The holy scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts." – St John Chrysostom

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

St. Justin Martyr: First Apology: 36-47

Speaking to the Soul:

Daily Reading for February 22

A door opens in the centre of our being and we seem to fall through it into immense depths which, although they are infinite, are all accessible to us; all eternity seems to have become ours in this one placid and breathless contact. God touches us with a touch that is emptiness and empties us. He moves us with a simplicity that simplifies us. All variety, all complexity, all paradox, all multiplicity cease. Our mind swims in the air of an understanding, a reality that is dark and serene and includes in itself everything. Nothing more is desired . . . you feel as if you were at last fully born.

From Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton (Dell, 1949).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

Make a commitment to act on every generous impulse that arises in you. . . . Pray that your anxiety about your own life and possessions and about the future be lessened so that your generosity to others can become more and more fearless.
— Andrew Harvey in The Direct Path

To Practice This Thought: Expand your generosity by thinking less about your needs.
++++++++++ Reflections

Come, then, O beautiful soul. Since you know now that your desired Beloved lives hidden within your heart, strive to be really hidden with Him, and you will embrace Him within you and experience Him with loving affection.

St John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, 1.8

Reading from the Desert Christians


It was said about John the Little that one day he said to his
older brother: I want to be free from care and not to work but to
worship God without interruption. And he took his robe off, and
went into the desert. After staying there one week, he returned to
his brother. And when he knocked at the door, his brother asked
without opening it: Who is it? He replied: It's John, your
brother. The brother said: John has become an angel and is not
among people anymore. Then he begged and said: It's me! But his
brother did not open the door and left him there in distress until
the next morning. And he finally opened the door and said: If you
are a human being, you have to work again in order to live. Then
John repented, saying: Forgive me, brother, for I was wrong.

Sayings of the Desert Fathers

Daily Meditation from

Meditation for Day 22

Enrich, Lord, heart,
hands, mouth in me
with faith, with hope
and charity,
that I may run, rise,
rest in Thee.
George Herbert

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Balance Between Closeness and Distance

Intimacy between people requires closeness as well as distance. It is like dancing. Sometimes we are very close, touching each other or holding each other; sometimes we move away from each other and let the space between us become an area where we can freely move.

To keep the right balance between closeness and distance requires hard work, especially since the needs of the partners may be quite different at a given moment. One might desire closeness while the other wants distance. One might want to be held while the other looks for independence. A perfect balance seldom occurs, but the honest and open search for that balance can give birth to a beautiful dance, worthy to behold.

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

Day Twenty Two - The First Note -


We always keep before us the example of Christ, who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and who, on the last night of his life, humbly washed his disciples' feet. We likewise seek to serve one another with humility.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Cries for Mercy
February 22nd, 2008
Friday’s Reflection

LIFE DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. No matter how hard we try to make it so, it doesn’t. No matter how much we want everything to turn out okay, it doesn’t always. Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. That’s the way it is. If we are religious, prayer gets mixed into the mystery and the frustration of that reality. Sometimes we can’t tell what difference prayer is making. Even though we pray, life falls short of our sense of justice and cry for mercy.

- Steve Harper
Talking in the Dark: Praying When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

From p. 9 of Talking in the Dark by Steve Harper. Copyright © 2007 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved.
Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection


Question of the day:
What is the oppressed part of your being?

Do you realize with what difficulty surrender will come to a fixing, managing mentality? There's nothing in that psyche prepared to understand the spiritual wisdom of surrender. All of the great world religions teach surrender. Yet most of us, until we go through the hole in our soul—our weak spot in the middle—just don't think surrender is necessary.

But we have to face our limitations, it seems, in the interior world. That's our liberation theology. We must recognize our own poor man, our own abused woman, the oppressed part of ourselves that we hate, that we deny, that we're afraid of. That's the hole in our soul. It's the way through, maybe the only way, says the crucified Jesus.

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.

The true passover

Now that divine power has been made manifest in the assumption of human weakness, there must be no sadness among the faithful to cast a shadow upon the paschal solemnity, no sorrow in recalling the events of the past, since our Lord could so use the malice of his enemies that their evil intentions served the purpose of his mercy. At the time of the exodus, Israel's freedom was restored through the blood of a lamb and the wrath of the destroying angel was averted through the sacrifice of a beast. And if this deliverance was marked by the institution of a solemn festival, how great should be the joy of Christian people, for whose sake the almighty Father spared not his only Son! He delivered him up for us all, so that the death of Christ might become the true passover and unique sacrifice, no longer saving a single people from subjection to Pharaoh, but delivering the whole world from bondage to the devil.

Leo the Great

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


"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire. Tenacity is more than hanging on, which may be but the weakness of being too afraid to fall off. Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered. The greatest fear a man has is not that he will be damned, but that Jesus Christ will be worsted, that the things He stood for - love and justice and forgiveness and kindness among men - will not win out in the end; the things He stands for look like will-o'-the-wisps. Then comes the call to spiritual tenacity, not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be worsted.

If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God. "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience."

Remain spiritually tenacious.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 22, June 23, October 23
Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said

At Terce, Sext and None on Monday
let the nine remaining sections of Psalm 118 be said,
three at each of these Hours.

Psalm 118 having been completed, therefore,
on two days, Sunday and Monday,
let the nine Psalms from Psalm 119 to Psalm 127
be said at Terce, Sext and None,
three at each Hour,
beginning with Tuesday.
And let these same Psalms be repeated every day until Sunday
at the same Hours,
while the arrangement of hymns, lessons and verses
is kept the same on all days;
and thus Prime on Sunday will always begin with Psalm 118.

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

St. Mark 14:3-9 (2/22) The Gospel for Friday of
the Week of the Prodigal Son

Adoration and Liturgy: St. Mark 14:3-9, especially vs. 8: "She has come
beforehand to anoint My body for burial." An unnamed woman anointed the
Lord Jesus at Bethany, offering, thereby, a devout and loving liturgy, a
prayerful work of one of the People of God. Her action discloses the
realities of her heart and soul as motions of the Holy Spirit, not
calculations nor logic. Her appearance at the table strained the limits
of propriety, and she exceeded the boundaries of social acceptability by
anointing the Lord's head. Her gesture could not be ignored, being both
extravagant and dramatic. She offered worship and adoration to God
Incarnate - God at a dining table, a type of the Divine Liturgy.
Understanding this, the Lord brushed away the offense which others took
and united her act to the mystery of His Passion and Resurrection,
exposing a depth of purpose formed beyond her conscious intent.

The Divine Liturgy may be a similar act of devotion, if you offer it
fervently and with love. It allows you to express inexplicable, hidden,
holy mysteries lodged in your breast, for your mind never will contain
the depths of Orthodox worship that moves you beyond yourself toward
God.. Given Christ's revelation to "Do this," the Liturgy moves you
beyond yourself toward God. You too may kiss the Lord in kissing His
Holy Ikon. You may receive His Immaculate Body with arms crossed over a
broken heart. Partake of His Precious Blood in affection and
reverence. While you make the sign of the Cross to honor Him, she
poured precious spikenard on His head.

As Father Alexander Schmemann says, "The eucharistic experience of the
Church discloses...her own ascent to the heavenly reality, which Christ
has manifested and granted, once and for all time...for today we are
gathered in the same Kingdom, at the same table."1 The woman's gesture
at Bethany was a sacrifice of herself, her ascension to Christ's table
and His Kingdom, her adoration of His Body and Blood - yes, Communion
with the Lord Jesus Himself! It does not matter that she did not
understand what she did. We do not comprehend what we are doing in the
Liturgy! It is sufficient that God understands. That is more than enough.

What of the Liturgy? Does our worship go beyond the limits of social
propriety as we are accustomed to observing it? Does it exceed our
normal rules of etiquette? It would seem so: who would come into the
home of an employer or a social superior and light candles to him? Who
would make solemn prostrations before an office manager or an
"important" official of government? Where do we see the exuberant
offering of clouds of incense raised around a dining table, carried
throughout the house, and bestowed upon the guests and family members?
What we say and do in the Liturgy expresses great "social distance," but
also respect and affection for God. Our gestures exceed the ways in
which we acknowledge the rank and status of those "above us" in this
life. A respectful "Sir," a crisp military salute, a rigid stance at
attention, a modulated greeting - all these gestures pale beside the
actions of "ordinary" Orthodox worship.

Does not your heart understand this woman? Do you not agree that her
memory should be eternal (vs. 9)? She had no hesitation to anoint the
Lord out of pure love and adoration. Thus she became a vessel of God to
prepare the way for His burial. Others plotted to destroy Him. A
disciple conspired to betray Him. Beloved, let her Liturgy of adoration
poured out upon the Person of the All-compassionate One encourage you to
extravagance in worship. Lavish Him with exuberance, for as St. Ambrose
points out, "How much where the Church is, and where His Mysteries are,
does He vouchsafe to impart His Presence!"2

Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ. O Son of God, Who art
wondrous in Thy Saints, save us who sing unto Thee, Alleluia!


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