Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Daily Meditation 02/26/08



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.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 78:1-39; 78:40-72
Gen. 45:1-15; 1 Cor. 7:32-40; Mark 6:1-13

From Forward Day by Day:

Mark 6:1-13. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff.

I travel a lot, and I pride myself on traveling light. However, the idea of taking nothing for a journey ("no bread, no bag, no money") seems wildly impractical, foolish, even terrifying. But so Jesus ordered the Twelve, and "so they went out."

This ideal of radical dependence on God alone appealed to the young Francis of Assisi: his devotion to "Lady Poverty" proved to be too much, however,
for those who came after him. Even before Francis died, his Rule was modified to allow the brethren to take more with them on their journey.

Radical dependence is tough.
In my own dependence on so much that is not God, I cling to the fact that Jesus allowed his disciples to carry a staff--something to help them over the rocky stretches along the way, to lean on when they grew weary, to defend themselves against attack.

When I travel I will doubtless continue to take the equivalent of "bread, bag, money"--but perhaps, at least when I pray, I could check my baggage and
take with me only Jesus, to help me over the rough places, to lean on, to defend me.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America and the Diocese of El Salvador

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. Cyprian: On the Unity of the Church (Treatise I): 1-9

Speaking to the Soul:

Let's fight

Daily Reading for February 26

Two old men had lived together for many years and they had never fought with one another. The first said to the other, “Let us also have a fight like other men.” The other replied, “I do not know how to fight.” The first said to him, “Look, I will put a brick between us and I will say: it is mine; and you will reply: no, it is mine; and so the fight will begin.” So they put a brick between them and the first said, “This brick is mine,” and the other said, “No, it is mine.” And the first replied, “If it is yours, take it and go.” So they gave it up without being able to find a cause for an argument.

From The Desert of the Heart: Daily Readings with the Desert Fathers, edited by Benedicta Ward (Darton, Longman and Todd, 1988).


Spiritual Practice of the Day

A hasid complains to his rebbe that wherever he goes, people step on his toes. The rebbe says, "You don't give people room, so they have no where to step but on your toes."
— Nilton Bonder quoted in Working on God by Winifred Gallagher

To Practice This Thought: Don't hog the spotlight; give others a chance to strut their stuff.
++++++++++ Reflections

For me, prayer means launching out of the heart towards God; it means lifting up ones' eyes, quite simply, to heaven, a cry of grateful love, from the crest of joy or the trough of despair.
St Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians


Make glad, O Jerusalem, and all ye who love Sion, keep feast.
Today the ancient bond of the condemnation of Adam is loosed.
Paradise is opened to us: the serpent is laid low; for of old he
deceived the woman in Paradise, but now he seeth a woman become
the Mother of the Creator. O the depth of the riches of the wisdom
and knowledge of God! The instrument of sin that brought death
upon all flesh hath become the first fruits of salvation for the
whole world through the Theotokos. For God the All-perfect is born
a babe of her, and by His birth He doth set a seal upon her
virginity. By His swaddling bands he doth loose the bands of sin,
and by becoming a child He doth heal Eve's pangs in travail.
Wherefore, let all creation sing and dance for joy, for Christ
hath come to restore it and to save our souls.


Daily Meditation from

Meditation for Day 26

No pictured likeness of my Lord
I have;
He carved no record
of His ministry
on wood or stone,
He left no sculptured tomb
nor parchment dim
but trusted for all memory of Him
the heart alone.

Who sees the face but sees in part;
Who reads the spirit which it hides,
sees all;
he needs no more.

Thy life in my life, Lord,
give Thou to me;
and then, in truth,
I may forever see
my Master's face!
William Hurd Hillyer

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Facing Our Mortality

We all have dreams about the perfect life: a life without pain, sadness, conflict, or war. The spiritual challenge is to experience glimpses of this perfect life right in the middle of our many struggles. By embracing the reality of our mortal life, we can get in touch with the eternal life that has been sown there. The apostle Paul expresses this powerfully when he writes: "We are subjected to every kind of hardship, but never distressed; we see no way out but we never despair; we are pursued but never cut off; knocked down, but still have some life in us; always we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus, too, may be visible in our ... mortal flesh" (2 Corinthians 4:8-12).

Only by facing our mortality can we come in touch with the life that transcends death. Our imperfections open for us the vision of the perfect life that God in and through Jesus has promised us.

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

Day Twenty Six - The Second Note, cont'd

Therefore, we seek to love all those to whom we are bound by ties of family or friendship. Our love for them increases as their love for Christ grows deeper. We have a special love and affection for members of the Third Order, praying for each other individually and seeking to grow in that love. We are on our guard against anything which might injure this love, and we seek reconciliation with those from whom we are estranged. We seek the same love for those with whom we have little natural affinity, for this kind of love is not a welling up of emotion, but is a bond founded in our common union with Christ.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Moments of Loneliness
February 26th, 2008
Tuesday’s Reflection

CONTEMPORARY LIFE provides precious little space for discernment, given the overriding burden of time. We hurry from one task to another, expressing thoughts and emotions on the fly but rarely sitting down to discern what they may be saying to us. Even accomplished multitaskers know moments of loneliness. In a quiet, predawn moment or while daydreaming between gulps of coffee at a traffic light, an ache may surface. We yearn to share the ordinary ups and downs of our lives with someone, the unspoken prayers we don’t feel comfortable uttering at a church meeting, and experiences like the moment when we realized God had healed our heart after years of grieving a loss.

- Stephanie Ford
Kindred Souls: Connecting through Spiritual Friendship

From p. 63 of Kindred Souls by Stephanie Ford. 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:
Where do you abide?

"Whoever remains in me as I in them, will bear much fruit." (John 15:5) That's the language of all of the mystics—the language of union. If it's not the language of union, don't trust it.

Mother Teresa said a person consciously filling a vase with water out of union and love of God is giving more glory to God than a priest at the altar who is standing there in a state of anger or separateness. It's all about the who, not the what, and we spend all of our time concentrating on what "I" should do.

from Contemplative Prayer

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


Our Lord Jesus Christ nourishes us for eternal life both by his commands, which teach us how to live holy lives, and by the eucharist. He in himself therefore is truly the divine, life-giving manna. Anyone who eats it will be exempt from corruption and will escape death, unlike those who ate the material manna. That type had no power to save, but was merely an imitation of the reality.

God sent down manna like rain from above, and ordered everyone to gather as much as necessary, those who shared a tent gathering together if they wished. Gather it, each of you, he said, with those who share your tent. Let none of it be left over till the morning. That is to say, we must fill ourselves with the divine teaching of the gospel.

Christ indeed gives us his grace in equal measure, whether we are great or small, and bestows life-giving food on all alike. He wishes the stronger among us to gather for the others, working on behalf of their sisters and brothers, lending them their labor so that all may share in the heavenly gifts.

Cyril of Alexandria

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


"Sir, Thou hast nothing to draw with." John 4:11

"I am impressed with the wonder of what God says, but He cannot expect me really to live it out in the details of my life!" When it comes to facing Jesus Christ on His own merits, our attitude is one of pious superiority - Your ideals are high and they impress us, but in touch with actual things, it cannot be done. Each of us thinks about Jesus in this way in some particular. These misgivings about Jesus start from the amused questions put to us when we talk of our transactions with God - Where are you going to get your money from? How are you going to be looked after? Or they start from ourselves when we tell Jesus that our case is a bit too hard for Him. It is all very well to say "Trust in the Lord," but a man must live, and Jesus has nothing to draw with - nothing whereby to give us these things. Beware of the pious fraud in you which says - I have no misgivings about Jesus, only about myself. None of us ever had misgivings about ourselves; we know exactly what we cannot do, but we do have misgivings about Jesus. We are rather hurt at the idea that He can do what we cannot.

My misgivings arise from the fact that I ransack my own person to find out how He will be able to do it. My questions spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, let me bring them to the light and confess them - "Lord, I have had misgivings about Thee, I have not believed in Thy wits apart from my own; I have not believed in Thine almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it."

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 26, June 27, October 27
Chapter 20: On Reverence in Prayer

When we wish to suggest our wants to persons of high station,
we do not presume to do so
except with humility and reverence.
How much the more, then,
are complete humility and pure devotion necessary
in supplication of the Lord who is God of the universe!
And let us be assured
that it is not in saying a great deal that we shall be heard (Matt 6:7),
but in purity of heart and in tears of compunction.
Our prayer, therefore, ought to be short and pure,
unless it happens to be prolonged
by an inspiration of divine grace.
In community, however, let prayer be very short,
and when the Superior gives the signal let all rise together.

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

St. Mark 14:10-42 (2/26) Gospel for Tuesday, Week of the Last
Judgment (Meatfare)

Responses to Christ's Passion-II ~ Moments of Choice: St. Mark 14:10-42,
especially vs. 38: "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation." As
we begin the Great Fast, St. Mark's Passion account (Chapters 11, 14,
15) invites reflection on the Lord Jesus' Passion, that we might
meditate on the sufferings and death whereby Christ our God has given
unto us life and immortality. Later, in Great and Holy Week, the Church
will again place our Savior's Passion before us in the narratives from
the other Gospels, thus framing our Lenten journey.

Today's Gospel reading places six real-life choices before us, decisions
one might face on any given day: to betray, obey, follow, protect one's
self, desert, or suffer with.
1) Judas, as one of the Twelve most trusted, betrayed the Lord (vs.
10). He chose to approach the chief priests that he might betray the
Lord. His choice - to seek out the authorities, to cooperate with the
Lord's enemies - was his own. The religious leaders did not come to him
(vs. 10). Yes, but we face the same choice every day. We may betray
Christ by compromising His truth (I do not have any sins to confess), by
deserting Him (I do not need to attend Liturgy every Sunday), by acts of
petty self-interest (I have to tell a little lie to get ahead), or by
mindless, plain carelessness (I like to see how fast my new car really
will go).

2) Then, there is the choice to carry out tasks thoroughly and
diligently. At Jesus' bidding, two of His disciples "went out and came
into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they
prepared the Passover" (vs. 16). Opportunities of this sort fill every
day of life. We may do our chores as God-given tasks, as would please
Him, following directions, doing the task correctly, carrying out every
detail with care and attention. On the other hand, we may do just
enough to get by, give a project a quick fix, but not follow through
with every detail. In what moment is the choice to obey Christ not
present? Do we always work and speak to please Him?

3) To follow the Lord, is to remain close to Him. When the Supper
ended, and "...they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of
Olives" (vs. 26). Wandering off and "doing our own thing" are available
choices. Those who finally would meet Him in the Resurrection followed
Him as the clouds of suffering and death gathered. Yes, they fell
asleep (vs. 37); but who among us has not discovered that the spirit is
willing but the flesh is weak (Mk. 14:38)?

4) At the Supper, the Lord told the disciples, "All of you will be made
to stumble because of Me..." (vs. 27). Sooner or later every disciple
of the Lord fails Him through "self interest." Were it not for the
Cross and His forgiveness, for His Resurrection, and for the Gift of the
Spirit, we would all fail our gracious Lord and live permanently in
despair. Save us, O Savior!

5) Like St. Peter, we prefer to think of ourselves as those who would
never flee from Christ for any reason (vss. 29,31), yet we make little
evasions and forsake Him (Mk. 14:50). We protect a false "self" when we
fib to avoid the crosses that inevitably come our way. Who is our true
"self"? Have we not chosen to put on Christ, to stand with Him, not to
gloss the truth? When others make coarse jokes about sacred matters, do
we laugh? Do we go to movies or watch TV programs that insult the
Faith? Beloved brethren, we choose! Pray for the grace to be loyal!

6) Finally, there is the possibility of suffering with Christ and for
Him. Yes, that night in the garden, He said, " Rise, let us be going.
See, My betrayer is at hand" (vs. 42). But notice: those who did flee
thereafter met Him risen and alive, chose His salvation, and embraced
death. Christ was very forthright with us: "as I said to the Jews,
'Where I Am going, you cannot come'" (Jn. 13:33) - there is only one
Savior; but He does tell us, "Love one another" (Jn. 13:34)!

O Christ our Salvation, Who didst suffer in pity for mankind, save us
who cry to Thee.


Post a Comment

<< Home