Thursday, February 28, 2008

Daily Meditation 02/28/08



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.

PRAYER (contemporary language)
Almighty God, you inspired your servant Anna Julia Heyward Cooper with the love of learning and the skill of teaching: Enlighten us more and more through the discipline of learning, and deepen our commitment to the education of all your children; 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 [83] or 42, 43; PM Psalm 85, 86
Gen. 46:1-7,28-34; 1 Cor. 9:1-15; Mark 6:30-46

From Forward Day by Day:

Mark 6:30-46. How many loaves have you? Go and see.

In the other gospels, the loaves and fishes that the disciples find for the raw material of this miracle are explicitly provided by a boy who has brought his lunch along.

For many years, I packed school lunches for my daughters: sandwiches, apples, milk. To their credit, the girls never seemed to tire of this limited fare, but I did sometimes tire of preparing it. Like so much of daily life and work, it was repetitive, mundane. And it never stayed done.

In Mark's account, the lad with the loaves and fishes disappears into the background; his mother is not mentioned at all. But I can see her there. I wonder what she thought when her son came home and told her what had happened to the little meal she had sent with him--how Jesus had taken and blessed it and fed thousands of people with it, with such staggering abundance that twelve baskets were left over.

More than she had ever imagined or intended had been done with her ordinary work. May we too come to see what miracles God can do with the tiny gifts we bring, the ordinary duties we perform.

Today we remember:

Anna Julia Haywood Cooper

AM Psalm [83] or 42, 43; PM Psalm 85, 86
Gen. 46:1-7,28-34; 1 Cor. 9:1-15; Mark 6:30-46

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Bermuda

40 Ideas for Lent: A Lenten calendar


Pray for every person you spend time with today.

Idea by: frin

"God, enable me in some measure to live here on earth as Jesus lived, and to act in all things as he would have acted." – Ashton Oxenden

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

St. Cyprian: On the Unity of the Church (Treatise I): Secs. 19-21

Speaking to the Soul:

Anna J. Cooper

Daily Reading for February 28 • Anna Julia Heyward Cooper, Educator, 1964

Anna Julia Cooper, the widow of an Episcopal priest and a teacher at St. Augustine’s College in North Carolina, was an important supporter of [Alexander] Crummell’s efforts to foster racial uplift. Cooper, who was born in slavery, emphasized the value of education, religion, and proper conduct in assisting the rise of black women and men in the South. One of six delegates from the United States to the Pan-African Conference in London in 1900, Cooper was an active public speaker and writer. In an address to a convocation of black priests in 1886, she summoned the clergy to the task of saving their people from “the peculiar faults of worship” into which they fell when left on their own. She praised the Episcopal Church for the positive influence it had offered African Americans before the Civil War, but she was concerned that, following emancipation, white Episcopalians had been pathetically slow in recruiting and ordaining black priests. Although white southerners complained that African Americans were no longer interested in the Episcopal Church, they had created the problem themselves. Since most southern bishops advised black ministerial candidates to aspire only to deacon’s orders, they not only relegated black men to “a perpetual colored diaconate” but also tacitly encouraged them to seek full ordination in other denominations. African Americans in the Episcopal Church needed priests of their own race, Cooper said, for only black men could be fully trusted to “come in touch with our life and have a fellow feeling for our woes.”

From Episcopalians and Race: Civil War to Civil Rights by Gardiner H. Shattuck (The University Press of Kentucky, 2000).


Spiritual Practice of the Day

When we come to a point of rest in our own being, we encounter a world where all things are at rest, and then a tree becomes a mystery, a cloud becomes a revelation, and each person we meet a cosmos whose riches we can only glimpse.
— Dag Hammarskjöld quoted in Senses Wide Open by Johanna Putnoi

To Practice This Thought: Find a place of peace within yourself; see what happens.
++++++++++ Reflections

How can I fear a God who is nothing but mercy and love.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians


A man may seem to be silent, but if his heart is condemning
others, he is babbling ceaselessly. But there may be another who
talks from morning till night and yet he is truly silent, that is,
he says nothing that is not profitable.

Abba Pimen

Daily Meditation from

Readings for Day 28

February 28

Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.

Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

John 4:28–38 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him. 31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something." 32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." 33 Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?" 34 "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Do you not say, `Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying `One sows and another reaps' is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)


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

Day Twenty Eight - The Third Note -


Tertiaries, rejoicing in the Lord always, show in our lives the grace and beauty of divine joy. We remember that they follow the Son of Man, who came eating and drinking, who loved the birds and the flowers, who blessed little children, who was a friend of tax collectors and sinners, and who sat at the tables of both the rich and the poor. We delight in fun and laughter, rejoicing in God's world, its beauty and its living creatures, calling nothing common or unclean. We mix freely with all people, ready to bind up the broken-hearted and to bring joy into the lives of others. We carry within them an inner peace and happiness which others may perceive, even if they do not know its source.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Learning by Heart
February 28th, 2008
Thursday’s Reflection

[ONE] ASPECT OF LEARNING is learning by heart. It may seem unnecessary now, when everyone has access to books, but stocking your mind with words from God can be a marvelous way of following Paul’s injunction in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Memorizing favorite Bible verses, prayers, hymns, and poetry gives you a stock of “pure, pleasing, commendable” words to draw on anywhere at any time — while driving, standing in line, or sitting in a waiting room.

- Helen Julian CSF
The Road to Emmaus: Companions for the Journey through Lent

From pp. 48-49 of The Road to Emmaus by Helen Julian CSF. 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:
What is your relationship with silence?

As a people, we are afraid of silence. That's our major barrier to prayer. I believe silence and words are related. Words that don't come out of silence probably don't say much. They probably are more an unloading than a communicating. Yet words feed silence, and that's why we have the word of God—the read word, the proclaimed word, the written word. But that written and proclaimed word, doesn't bear a great deal of fruit—it doesn't really break open the heart of the Spirit—unless it's tasted and chewed, unless it's felt and suffered and enjoyed at a level beyond words.

If I had to advise one thing for spiritual growth, it would be silence.

from Letting Go: A Spirituality of Subtraction

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

You are a borrower

Make light of the world and of yourself and of all earthly pleasures. Hold your kingdom as something lent to you, not as if it were your own. For you know well that life, health, wealth, honor, status, dominion—none of these belongs to you. If they did, you could own them in your own way. But just when we want to be healthy we are sick; just when we want to be alive we die; just when we want to be rich we are poor; just when we want to be in power we are made servants. And all this because these things are not ours, and we can keep them only as much and as long as it pleases the One who has lent them to us. So it is really foolish to hold as if it were our own what belongs to another: it is, in fact, a thievery worthy of death. This is why I am asking you to act wisely, as a good steward, holding everything as lent to you who have been made God's steward.

Catherine of Siena

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


"By this we believe . . . Jesus answered, Do ye now believe?" John 16:30-31

Now we believe. Jesus says - Do you? The time is coming when you will leave Me alone. Many a Christian worker has left Jesus Christ alone and gone into work from a sense of duty, or from a sense of need arising out of his own particular discernment. The reason for this is the absence of the resurrection life of Jesus. The soul has got out of intimate contact with God by leaning to its own religious understanding. There is no sin in it, and no punishment attached to it; but when the soul realizes how he has hindered his understanding of Jesus Christ, and produced for himself perplexities and sorrows and difficulties, it is with shame and contrition he has to come back.

We need to rely on the resurrection life of Jesus much deeper down than we do, to get into the habit of steadily referring everything back to Him; instead of this we make our common - sense decisions and ask God to bless them. He cannot, it is not in His domain, it is severed from reality. If we do a thing from a sense of duty, we are putting up a standard in competition with Jesus Christ. We become a "superior person," and say - "Now in this matter I must do this and that." We have put our sense of duty on the throne instead of the resurrection life of Jesus. We are not told to walk in the light of conscience or of a sense of duty, but to walk in the light as God is in the light. When we do anything from a sense of duty, we can back it up by argument; when we do anything in obedience to the Lord, there is no argument possible; that is why a saint can be easily ridiculed.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 28, June 29, October 29
Chapter 22: How the Sisters Are to Sleep

Let each one sleep in a separate bed.
Let them receive bedding suitable to their manner of life,
according to the Abbess's directions.
If possible let all sleep in one place;
but if the number does not allow this,
let them take their rest by tens or twenties
with the seniors who have charge of them.

A candle shall be kept burning in the room until morning.

Let them sleep clothed and girded with belts or cords --
but not with their knives at their sides,
lest they cut themselves in their sleep --
and thus be always ready to rise without delay
when the signal is given
and hasten to be before one another at the Work of God,
yet with all gravity and decorum.

The younger shall not have beds next to one another,
but among those of the older ones.

When they rise for the Work of God
let them gently encourage one another,
that the drowsy may have no excuse.

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

St. Mark 15:1-15 (2/28)
Gospel for Thursday of the Week of Meatfare

Responses to Christ's Passion IV ~ The Good Confession: St. Mark
15:1-15, especially vs. 5: "But Jesus still answered nothing, so that
Pilate marveled." As the years of his ministry drew to a close, the
Apostle Paul, to encourage him in the Faith, reminded his young protégé,
Timothy, of the Lord's "good confession" before Pilate, (1 Tim. 6:13).
St. Paul's challenge applies to all Christians: that our manner of life
should follow the model of our Lord's example. Before the tribunal of
the world, let us be found "...without spot, blameless until our Lord
Jesus Christ's appearing..." (1 Tim. 6:14). How? St. Paul says, by
fleeing foolish and harmful lusts (cf: 1 Tim. 6:9,11), by pursuing
righteousness (1 Tim. 6:11), and by fighting the good fight of faith,
laying hold of eternal life (1 Tim. 6:12). These surely were elements
in the Lord's "good confession before Pilate," and they caused the Roman
Procurator to marvel.

The most striking aspect of the Lord's demeanor - both in His trial
before the Sanhedrin in an all-night session and before Pilate the next
morning - was His restraint. He disclosed freedom from the passions.
In "answering nothing" (Mk. 14:61) to a flood of accusations, our
Incarnate God spoke the infinite eloquence of restrained silence.
Through a "passionless Passion," He "spoke" a word of calm, Divine
judgment against all human sin and passion.

Much was asked of the Lord during the two trials, and He answered either
with silence or concise brevity. When asked, "Are you the Christ, the
Son of the Blessed?" He answered, "I AM" (Mk. 14:61,62), and described
His future glory. When Pilate asked, "'Are you the King of the Jews?'
He answered, 'It is as you say'" (vs. 15:2). "I AM" and "as you say."
So free was He of passions and the need to defend His life, of lust for
power, of concern to make "His point," or of a need to "prove" His
enemies wrong, that He remain largely silent. As we are cleansed of
passion, God will bless us with peace and calm even in the most
agitating situations.

Is it possible to imagine One more righteous than the Lord? Is it
possible to think of a time when His righteousness was more plainly
evident than during His trials and at His Crucifixion? Our hearts
command us to agree with Jeremiah and call Christ Jesus "Josedec,"the
Lord our Righteousness1 (Jer. 23:6). Most striking in the entire
Passion account is the serene perseverance of our Savior and God while
intrigue, betrayal, mob rule, and injustice raged around Him.

Read through the Passion narratives, and see the Lord Jesus'
all-pervading power to manage what happened. He reveals Himself as the
"Producer" of His ministry, as the "Director" of the sequences,
including His own arrest, trials, and execution. The Lord Christ moves
the events steadily forward toward the salvation of mankind. Thus, at a
turning point in the Gospel of Luke, the Evangelist notes: "...when the
time had come for Him to be received up...He steadfastly set His face to
go to Jerusalem" (Lk. 9:51). The Lord's fellow humans appear as "bit"
players, taking their part in their assigned scenes and passing off the
stage. Others pursue their ends. Unremittingly, Christ our God pursues
righteousness and our salvation.

Finally, the Lord "fought the good fight of faith." The Sanhedrin
assured themselves that they had rid the world of terrible "blasphemy"
(Mk. 14:64), that they had won a struggle for true Faith. But no:
Christ won the battle of faith. It was He Who laid hold of eternal life
for mortal men if we will put our faith in Him. No doubt Pontius Pilate
sighed after he did not lose control of a frenzied mob. What was the
life of one harmless Jewish teacher? Pilate sustained the "Pax
Romana!" However, Beloved of the Lord, Pilate lost his greatest chance
for eternal life, for Christ offers Life to all through His good fight
on the Cross and His great victory over death.

Glory to Thee O Savior, Who didst trample down death by death and bestow
life upon all.


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