Monday, February 25, 2008

Daily Meditation 02/25/08


Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve: Grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be guided and governed by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 80; PM Psalm 77, [79]
Gen. 44:18-34; 1 Cor. 7:25-31; Mark 5:21-43

From Forward Day by Day:

John 15:1, 6-16. You did not choose me, but I chose you.

In The Silver Chair (volume four of C. S. Lewis's
The Chronicles of Narnia), young Jill assumes that Aslan, the great golden Christlike lion, has opened the way into Narnia for the children because they called on him to help them. But Aslan corrects her gently: "You would not have called me, unless I had been calling you," echoing Jesus' words to his disciples on the night he was betrayed: "You did not choose me, but I chose you."

Today we remember Saint Matthias, the apostle the disciples chose to replace the traitor Judas in the fellowship of the Twelve. Matthias had been with them from the beginning, Peter reminds the others, and thus is qualified to "become a witness with us to Christ's resurrection."

Matthias is never mentioned in scripture again; we know nothing else about him. Nonetheless he was called and chosen to complete the apostolic band, to become a witness to our Risen Lord.

Matthias, it seems to me, could be the patron saint for all of us (and our name is legion) of whom history may record nothing, but who have been chosen and called by God to be faithful witnesses of the power of Christ's resurrection in the world and in our lives.

Today we remember:

St. Matthias
AM: Psalm 80; 1 Samuel 16:1-13; 1 John 2:18-25
PM: Psalm 33; 1 Samuel 12:1-5; Acts 20:17-35


Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Bendigo (Victoria, Australia)

40 Ideas for Lent: A Lenten calendar


Today, in the morning, in the afternoon, and before you sleep, take a few minutes to notice that you are breathing... and how it is quietly keeping you alive.

Idea by Simon P

"Men go abroad to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering." – St Augustine

A Celtic lenten Calendar

The Image of God

3. Salvation is the restoration of goodness. "For the Celts salvation was the restoration of original goodness. What had been covered needed to be uncovered. What had been lost needed to be found. This finding and uncovering was the work of Jesus, who came to banish evil and restore creation's goodness. God's Spirit was fully present in Jesus, and the gracefulness of his life, makes our restoration possible. As Jesus healed the sick and forgave sinners, he restored the divine image in us. Once again we can all live as God's sons and daughters. Knowing that they were God's sons and daughters and were given the grace to live that way, the Celts understood their goal was to become more and more like Jesus in their own life and work.

For a Celtic Lent: "Think of yourself as being created in the image of God. How does it feel to know that you too are God's beloved child, that God's spirit is within you? What is covering up that image, choking that Spirit in your life. What needs to happen to uncover, to revive it, in you this Lent?

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

St. Justin Martyr: First Apology: 60-68

Speaking to the Soul:

The hidden ones

Daily Reading for February 25 • St. Matthias the Apostle

All we know is that his name was Matthias and that for some reason he was chosen to replace the traitor Judas in the circle of Jesus’ apostles. . . . I have a feeling that Matthias turns up many times in our lives. He is the person who just failed to get into the photograph; either he was not there when it was taken or he stood behind someone taller or bigger. Matthias is the new neighbor we have glimpsed only once; is he worth getting to know? Or is he the person we have met only briefly, and yet when he walks out of our lives forever we are intrigued and haunted?

Matthias turns up many times in the lives of parish churches, especially in the very large ones, the kind we call corporate parishes these days. These are the people that you never really get to know beyond the shake of the hand at coffee hour, the exchange of smiles. At first she may volunteer her name, but somehow it never settles in your mind and she remains anonymous in her quiet, faithful way. Months, even years, go by until something happens or something is said that makes you realize that there is within this person a very great soul. Perhaps it turns out that the whole congregation comes to realize that hidden within its life is someone whose courage or faithfulness or generosity puts others to shame. I call someone like that my Matthias.

From For All the Saints: Homilies for Saints’ and Holy Days by Herbert O’Driscoll (Cowley Publications, 1995).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

Blessed, therefore, are the strangers.
— Muhammad quoted in The Knowing Heart by Kabir Helminski

To Practice This Thought: Repeat this statement when you are out in a crowd and see how it affects your attitudes toward others.
++++++++++ Reflections

Enter within yourself and work in the presence of your Spouse Who is ever present loving you.
St John of the Cross
Spiritual Canticle, 1.8

Reading from the Desert Christians


Christ is Risen!
O the marvel! the forbearance! the immeasurable meekness!
The Untouched is felt; the Master is held by a servant,
And He reveals His wounds to one of His inner circle.
Seeing these wounds, the whole Creation was shaken at the time.
Thomas, when he was considered worthy of such gifts,
Lifted up a prayer to the One Who deemed him worthy,
Saying, "Bear my rashness with patience,
Have pity on my unworthiness and lighten the burden
Of my lack of faith, so that I may sing and cry,
`Thou art our Lord and God.'"

Kontakia of Romanos, V. 1, On Doubting Thomas

Daily Meditation from

Meditation for Day 25

Of all in earth and heaven
the dearest name to me
is the matchless name of Jesus
the Christ of Calvary!
The Christ of Calvary!
The dearest name to me
is the matchless name of Jesus
the Christ of Calvary.
I cannot help but love Him
or tell His love to me
for He became my ransom,
the Christ of Calvary.
The Christ of Calvary!
The dearest name to me
is the matchless name of Jesus
the Christ of Calvary.
I could not live without Him,
His love is life to me.
My blood-bought life I give Him,
the Christ of Calvary.
The Christ of Calvary!
The dearest name to me
is the matchless name of Jesus
the Christ of Calvary.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Hidden Greatness

There is much emphasis on notoriety and fame in our society. Our newspapers and television keep giving us the message: What counts is to be known, praised, and admired, whether you are a writer, an actor, a musician, or a politician.

Still, real greatness is often hidden, humble, simple, and unobtrusive. It is not easy to trust ourselves and our actions without public affirmation. We must have strong self-confidence combined with deep humility. Some of the greatest works of art and the most important works of peace were created by people who had no need for the limelight. They knew that what they were doing was their call, and they did it with great patience, perseverance, and love.

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

Day Twenty Five - The Second Note -


Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35) Love is the distinguishing feature of all true disciples of Christ who wish to dedicate themselves to him as his servants.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

God Is Near
February 25th, 2008
Monday’s Reflection

GOD IS BEYOND but also near, transcendent and immanent. Seen not only with telescopic vision but also in the microscopic view of deep intimacy. God is the Source beyond my imagining and also the Love who is immediately present. God, the Center of all, dwells at the center of my being. So when I am centered, I open the eyes of my heart to perceive God’s presence, transcendent in glory and present here and now. I receive the gift of an intimate relationship with God deeper than words can express. I let go of my efforts to reach God and simply rest in the love of the Trinity. I let go of my attachments and surrender myself to Christ. I release whatever thoughts come to me and consent to the Presence and to the restoring action of the Spirit within.

- J. David Muyskens
Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God: The Practice of Centering Prayer

From pp. 13-14 of Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God by J. David Muyskens. Copyright © 2006 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Contemplative Prayer

Question of the day:
How do we know when we are transformed?

Religion teaches us about the transformed self. It's a different I. Paul uses that wonderful phrase, "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20). It is a different sense of self. I think until you have come to that realization, you have not been transformed.

Contemplative prayer draws us to our true self. This is the only self that's ever existed. We came forth from God and our deepest DNA is divine. We are not human beings trying to become spiritual, we are already spiritual beings and the profound question is how to be human. I believe that is why Jesus came as a human being.

from Contemplative Prayer
Weekly Reflection from the Merton Institute

The Burial of Herman Hanekamp

[The following entry from Merton's private journals describes the funeral of Herman Hanekamp, who did not succeed as a novice at Gethsemani, but who was allowed to live on Linton Farm, a property the Abbey owned. When Herman moved in, Merton wrote: "He came over in the rain with all his possessions in a mule cart. It was a pathetic sight." Many at the Abbey considered Hanekamp a "character" and a "bum". But Merton attests, perhaps seriously, that, of all the members of Gethsemani's community he had known to that point, he would have most wanted to be like Herman.]

This morning I went to the funeral of Herman Hanekamp in New Haven. Started out in the frost after dawn. The body laid out in the funeral parlor was that of a millionaire, a great executive. I never before saw Herman shaven, in a suit, least of all, in a collar and tie. He looked like one of the great of the earth. I was a pallbearer along with Andy Boone, Hanekamp's old friend Glen Price (a great stout man with a lined face like the side of an old building but very humble and gentle). Brothers Clement and Colman were pallbearers and another man with a shoelace necktie. . . .

When we came out of the church into the sun, carrying the coffin, the bright air seemed full of great joy and a huge freight train came barreling through the valley with a sound of power like an army. All the pride of the world of industry seemed, somehow, to be something that belonged to Herman. What a curious obsession with the conviction of him as a great, rich man, tremendously respected by the whole world! We drove back to bury him in the graveyard outside the monastery gate.

The bare woods stood wise and strong in the sun as if they were proud of some great success that had been achieved in secret with their connivance and consent.

As we carried the coffin through the sunlit yard, I listened with exaltation: it was hailed by the singing of skylarks on the second day of January.

What has triumphed here is not admired by anyone, despised even by the monks who also could not help thinking of Herman as a lazy man and an escapist. He had not taken seriously the world of business so important to us all. And now behold--a captain of industry!

Thomas Merton. A Search for Solitude. Edited by Lawrence S. Cunningham (San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 1996): 245.

Thought for the Day

Herman, who was once a novice here (in the days before the first world war) is one of the very few members or former members of the community that I have ever had any desire to imitate.

A Search for Solitude: 242.

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

God's way is an ascent

We might suppose a path pointed out by God would be a smooth and pleasant one, free of obstacles and requiring no effort from the traveler, but in fact God's way is an ascent, a tortuous and rugged climb. There can be no downhill road to virtue—it is uphill all the way, and the path is narrow and arduous. Listen also to the Lord's warning in the gospel: The way that leads to life, he says, is narrow and hard. Notice how close the agreement is between the gospel and the law. In the law the way of virtue is shown to be a tortuous climb; the gospels speak of the way that leads to life as narrow and hard. Is it not obvious then, even to the blind, that the law and the gospels were both written by one and the same Spirit?

And so the road they followed was a winding ascent, an ascent surmounted by a beacon. The ascent refers to works and the beacon to faith, so that we can see the great difficulty and laborious effort involved in both faith and works. Many are the temptations we shall meet and many the obstacles to faith that lie in store for us in our desire to pursue the things of God.

Origen of Alexandria

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


"Though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved." 2 Corinthians 12:15

Natural love expects some return, but Paul says - I do not care whether you love me or not, I am willing to destitute myself completely, not merely for your sakes, but that I may get you to God. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor." Paul's idea of service is exactly along that line - I do not care with what extravagance I spend myself, and I will do it gladly. It was a joyful thing to Paul.

The ecclesiastical idea of a servant of God is not Jesus Christ's idea. His idea is that we serve Him by being the servants of other men. Jesus Christ out-socialists the socialists. He says that in His Kingdom he that is greatest shall be the servant of all. The real test of the saint is not preaching the gospel, but washing disciples' feet, that is, doing the things that do not count in the actual estimate of men but count everything in the estimate of God. Paul delighted to spend himself out for God's interests in other people, and he did not care what it cost. We come in with our economical notions - "Suppose God wants me to go there - what about the salary? What about the climate? How shall I be looked after? A man must consider these things." All that is an indication that we are serving God with a reserve. The apostle Paul had no reserve. Paul focuses Jesus Christ's idea of a New Testament saint in his life, viz.: not one who proclaims the Gospel merely, but one who becomes broken bread and poured out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for other lives.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 25, June 26, October 26
Chapter 19: On the Manner of Saying the Divine Office

We believe that the divine presence is everywhere
and that "the eyes of the Lord
are looking on the good and the evil in every place" (Prov. 15:3).
But we should believe this especially without any doubt
when we are assisting at the Work of God.
To that end let us be mindful always of the Prophet's words,
"Serve the Lord in fear" (Ps. 2:11)
and again "Sing praises wisely" (Ps. 46:8)
and "In the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to You" (Ps. 137:1).
Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves
in sight of the Godhead and of His Angels,
and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way
that our mind may be in harmony with our voice.

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

St. Mark 11:1-11 (2/25) The Gospel for
Monday of the Week of Meatfare

Responses to Christ's Passion I ~ Understanding: St. Mark 11:1-11,
especially vs. 10: "Blessed is the Kingdom of our father David That
comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" The Gospels
for the next five days trace St. Mark's account of the Passion of our
Lord Jesus Christ. The narrative begins with the Lord's regal-style
arrival in Jerusalem for what would be His last pilgrimage to celebrate
Passover. Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of the Bulgarian Church at
the end of the 11th Century, observes that on numerous occasions the
Lord Jesus had come to the Holy City. His earlier visits largely had
been private, subdued, or unobtrusive (but see Lk. 2:46-47; Jn. 2:13-24;
7:37-52). However, on this occasion, Christ and His growing notoriety
converged to transform His entry into a significant public event.

Blessed Theophylact notes Jesus' reason for going public: "The Lord did
this so that they might understand His glory if they wanted to
understand, and so that by seeing in Him the fulfillment of the
prophecies, they might know that He is truly God. But if they did not
wish to understand, it would be to their greater condemnation, that not
even with such glorious miracles did they believe."1 Thus, we too must
observe Him and choose: how shall we understand Jesus?

By speaking of "understanding," Blessed Theophylact does not refer to
our having certain information. Rather, he focuses attention on
Christ's true nature and purpose in order to separate those who
understand and accept Jesus as Lord and those who refuse His
sovereignty. Will you open your hearts to God, or will you choose to
avoid, resist, or ignore Him?

The Saint echoes the universal call of all the Prophets, Apostles, and
other Biblical writers. For example, the Prophet Jeremiah grieves with
the Lord that the people of his day, "'like their bow...have bent their
tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For
they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me,' says the Lord"
(Jer. 9:3).

Like our original parents, we choose to sin and stultify our
understanding - not only of God, but of ourselves as well. St. Paul
says that all men fall under the wrath of God because they "...suppress
the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is
manifest in them, for God has shown it to them" (Rom. 1:18,19). In
practice "...although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God,
nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts and their foolish
hearts were darkened" (Rom. 1:21). Willful ignorance leads to confusion
and darkness.

No fault may be placed against God for our failure to understand. Even
in our legal tradition, the principle of "ignorantia juris," or
"ignorance of the law," admits of no exception. Compassion and common
sense allow for "mitigating circumstances" about facts, but not in cases
involving duty. St. Paul says that even those who never have read the
Law of God " the work of the law written in their hearts, their
conscience also bearing witness..." (Rom. 2:15).

God has revealed Himself to all of us in a manner that everyone can
understand - as fellow human beings. He has revealed His will through
all cultures and in all periods of history. Truly the Lord has gone out
of His way to help all men understand His will and purpose: "Has it not
been told thee, O man, what is good? or what does the Lord require of
thee but to do justice, and love mercy, and be ready to walk with the
Lord thy God?" (Mic. 6:8). So, you may choose to "understand" and to
pray with the Prophet David, "Let my supplication draw nigh before Thee,
O Lord; according to Thine oracle give me understanding" (Ps. 118:169).
Among those who welcomed the Lord in triumph, there were those who
wanted true knowledge of God. Join them and cry "Blessed is He Who
comes in the Name of the Lord" (Mk. 11:9)!

O loving Christ, deliver us from the darkness of ignorance, and fill us
with the stream of Thy knowledge, that we may become sons and daughters
of Thine undying Light.


Post a Comment

<< Home