Sunday, March 02, 2008

Daily Meditation 03/02/08



Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 66, 67; PM Psalm 19, 46
Gen. 48:8-22; Rom. 8:11-25; John 6:27-40

From Forward Day by Day:

Psalm 23. The LORD is my shepherd.

Our family lived in Scotland for two years; we never got used to seeing sheep all over the countryside. With the sheep were always the shepherds, watching and leading and protecting the flocks, with the help of their hard-working border collies.

Jesus himself is the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep (John 10:11). The Lord is not only our shepherd; he has also called each of us by our baptism to help in his saving work.

Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) wrote this about the Christian life:
We offer ourselves, one way or another, to try to work for God. We want, as it were, to be among the sheepdogs employed by the Good Shepherd. Have you ever watched a good sheepdog at work? He is not an emotional animal. He goes on with his job quite steadily; takes no notice of bad weather, rough ground, or his own comfort. He seldom or never stops to be stroked. Yet his faithfulness and intimate communion with his master are one of the loveliest things in the world. Now and then he looks at the shepherd. And when the time comes for rest, they are generally to be found together. Let this be the model of your love.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Bhopal (North India)

A Celtic Lent

All Life in Intertwined

4. "All life is intertwined. "The most prevalent of all Celtic symbols is the Celtic knot. Found on their crosses, jewelry, and manuscripts, the knot symbolizes how all things in heaven and earth are intricately intertwined and inseparable. The relationship of the members of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the prime illustration of interconnection. Life in this world is intertwined with life in the world beyond this one. The communion of the saints was a vibrant reality for the Celts, who believed that those who died remained present to them. Only a thin, permeable membrane separates those living on earth and those living in heaven. This was especially true of the risen Christ, whom the Celts believed is not only at God's right hand but also at ours. Even though God can be encountered anywhere, there are also certain 'thin places' like Iona, (or Sonoma County), where this happens most easily.

For a Celtic Lent: "Is there a 'thin place' in your life where God is particularly present to you? Visit or plan to visit a special spot in your home or work that can be this for you. Go their daily to experience intimacy with God.

Speaking to the Soul:

Daily Reading for March 2 • The Fourth Sunday in Lent

For many centuries, dating back to the ancient Jerusalem liturgy, the Church has singled out stories from John’s Gospel to be read at Mass during Lent. In our era, three of these stories—the most sacred narratives in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ public ministry—appear on the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent. They are the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), the healing of the man born blind (John 9) and the raising of Lazarus (John 11). . . . Why are these stories given such prominence during Lent? Because during this season, from the earliest days, people were being prepared for Baptism, and John’s stories fitted beautifully into the process of Christian initiation. In time, the three narratives were read at specific stages in the Lenten preparation of catechumens for Baptism on Holy Saturday. . . .

If the story of the Samaritan woman has illustrated an initial coming to faith, this [story of the man born blind] shows that often first enlightenment does not result in adequate faith. Sometimes faith comes only through difficult testing and even suffering. Saint Augustine recognized that this man born blind stands for the human race. And the initial dialogue where Jesus proclaims, “I am the light of the world,” alerts us to the fact that more than physical sight is involved. . . .

Besides recognizing a baptism theme in this story, readers of John would also be taught that a series of testings may be necessary before sight really comes. Only gradually and through suffering does the man born blind come to full faith and enlightenment. . . . How many of us who have a traditional faith stemming from our Baptism come to believe in our hearts only when difficult decisions test our faith in God and Christ? It is then we understand what it means to say, “I do believe.”

From Reading the Gospels with the Church: From Christmas through Easter by Raymond E. Brown (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1996).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

Every day you don't forgive it's as if you are ingesting tiny bits of poison.
— Harold Bloomfield quoted in Spiritual Divorce by Debbie Ford

To Practice This Thought: Clean up your diet.
++++++++++ Reflections

I open the Scriptures... then all appears clear, full of light... holiness appears easy.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians


Do we forgive our neighbors their trespasses? God also forgives us
in His mercy. Do we refuse to forgive? God, too, will refuse to
forgive us. As we treat our neighbors, so also does God treat us.
The forgiveness, then, of your sins or unforgiveness, and hence
also your salvation or destruction, depend on you yourself, man.
For without forgiveness of sins there is no salvation. You can see
for yourself how terrible it is.

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Journey to Heaven.

Daily Meditation from

Meditation for Day 2

There is a contemplative
in all of us,
almost strangled
but still alive,
who craves quiet
enjoyment of the Now,
and longs to touch
the seamless
garment of silence
makes whole.
Alan P. Tory

Let each stay in or near
their own cell
meditating, day and night
on the law of the Lord,
and vigilant in prayer,
unless otherwise employed
by the Holy Spirit.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

God Covenant

God made a covenant with us. The word covenant means "coming together." God wants to come together with us. In many of the stories in the Hebrew Bible, we see that God appears as a God who defends us against our enemies, protects us against dangers, and guides us to freedom. God is God-for-us. When Jesus comes a new dimension of the covenant is revealed. In Jesus, God is born, grows to maturity, lives, suffers, and dies as we do. God is God-with-us. Finally, when Jesus leaves he promises the Holy Spirit. In the Holy Spirit, God reveals the full depth of the covenant. God wants to be as close to us as our breath. God wants to breathe in us, so that all we say, think and do is completely inspired by God. God is God-within-us. Thus God's covenant reveals to us to how much God loves us.

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

Day Two - The Object, cont'd

In the example of his own sacrifice, Jesus reveals the secret of bearing fruit. In surrendering himself to death, he becomes the source of new life. Lifted from the earth on the cross, he draws all people to himself. Clinging to life causes life to decay; the life that is freely given is eternal.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

On that Glad Night
March 2nd, 2008
Sunday’s Reflection

ONE dark night, fired with love’s urgent longings — ah, the sheer grace — I went out unseen, my house being now all stilled. … On that glad night, in secret, for no one saw me, nor did I look at anything, with no other light or guide than the one that burned in my heart. This guided me more surely than the light of noon to where he was awaiting me — him I knew so well — there in a place where no one appeared.

- John of the Cross
Loving God Through the Darkness

From pp. 12-13 of Loving God Through the Darkness: Selected Writings of John of the Cross edited by Keith Beasley-Topliffe. Copyright © 2000 by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

The Mystery of the Cross

Question of the day:
How do you follow Jesus' pattern of redemption?

Did Jesus not reveal for all humanity the very pattern of redemption itself? Could that not be what we mean by calling him "The Savior of the World"? (John 4:42). Jesus is, in effect, saying, "This is how evil is transformed into good! I am going to take the worst thing and turn it into the best thing, so you will never be victimized, destroyed or helpless again! I am giving YOU the victory over death!"

Jesus takes away the sin of the world by dramatically exposing what is the real sin of the world (ignorant attacking and killing, not purity codes), by refusing the usual pattern of attacking and killing back, and, in fact, "returning their curses with blessings" (Luke 6:27), then finally by teaching us that we can "follow him" in doing the same.

from Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality

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


True perfection does not consist in abandoning a life of sin as a slave might for fear of punishment; nor in doing good in the hope of receiving a reward. Expecting the virtuous life to yield a profit would be making it a matter of trade and commerce. No, it seems to me that to be perfect we must look beyond even the hoped-for blessings which we have been promised are stored up for us. Our only fear should be the loss of God's friendship, and the only honor or pleasure we covet should be that of becoming God's friend. You can attain such perfection—and I know that you will attain it abundantly—if you raise your mind to the majesty of God. The gain will surely be shared by all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Gregory of Nyssa

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


"Jesus said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me?" John 21:17

Have you felt the hurt of the Lord to the uncovered quick, the place where the real sensitiveness of your life is lodged? The devil never hurts there, neither sin nor human affection hurts there, nothing goes through to that place but the word of God. "Peter was grieved because Jesus said unto him the third time. . . ." He was awakening to the fact that in the real true centre of his personal life he was devoted to Jesus, and he began to see what the patient questioning meant. There was not the slightest strand of delusion left in Peter's mind, he never could be deluded again. There was no room for passionate utterance, no room for exhilaration or sentiment. It was a revelation to him to realize how much he did love the Lord, and with amazement he said - "Lord, Thou knowest all things." Peter began to see how much he did love Jesus; but he did not say - "Look at this or that to confirm it." Peter was beginning to discover to himself how much he did love the Lord, that there was no one in heaven above or upon earth beneath beside Jesus Christ; but he did not know it until the probing, hurting questions of the Lord came. The Lord's questions always reveal me to myself.

The patient directness and skill of Jesus Christ with Peter! Our Lord never asks questions until the right time. Rarely, but probably once, He will get us into a corner where He will hurt us with His undeviating questions, and we will realize that we do love Him far more deeply than any profession can ever show.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

March 2, July 2, November 1
Chapter 25: On Weightier Faults

Let the brother who is guilty of a weightier fault
be excluded both from the table and from the oratory.
Let none of the brethren join him
either for company or for conversation.
Let him be alone at the work assigned him,
abiding in penitential sorrow
and pondering that terrible sentence of the Apostle
where he says that a man of that kind is handed over
for the destruction of the flesh,
that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord (1 Cor. 5:5).
Let him take his meals alone
in the measure and at the hour
which the Abbot shall consider suitable for him.
He shall not be blessed by those who pass by,
nor shall the food that is given him be blessed.

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

St. Matthew 25:31-46 (3/2) Gospel for the Sunday of the Last
Judgment or Meatfare

The Uncalculating Heart: St. Matthew 25:31-46, especially vss. 37-39:
"Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You
hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You
a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see
You sick, or in prison, and come to You?" It is a blessed day of
illumination, albeit of dread recognition, when one looks within and
confesses, "I am starving, emaciated, mad with thirst, naked, unclothed,
shame-ridden, spiritually sick, and imprisoned."

The Lord teaches all who come to Him concerning this blessed state of
destitution (Mt. 5:3-12). Then, like Mary of Egypt, our soul learns the
pain of alienation from Life, still unable to return to the world. All
is empty for the "poor in spirit." We may only cry, "Lord, Jesus
Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, the sinner." In that instant,
the blessed discover the hand of the Lover of Mankind. They inch toward
Him, and He points toward the perilous, narrow trail of repentance. He
steadies with His gracious hand. He gives the Bread of Life, slakes the
parching thirst. He becomes clothing, healing, and freedom - the true
Friend Who embraces.

Imagine what the pitiful poor-in-spirit will do if he meets a fellow
sufferer along the way. Naturally, he will share whatever he has. His
heart, now stained indelibly with love, gives simply because there is
need. He does not calculate, but simply responds. As he cannot turn
back from a true Friend. Likewise, he can only continue steadily toward
others, always remembering to feed and to forgive. Yes, he will share
whatever he has.

We have the wonderful example of this in the Roman soldier, Martin. He
served in the army solely because his father wished it, but Martin was
blessed to discover Christian faith. He became a catechumen. One
winter day, while on duty, as he came into a city, he was stopped by a
beggar: "Would he give alms?" Martin had no money. He did see that the
beggar was blue with cold and shivering. He took off the cloak of his
uniform, cut it in half with his saber, gave one part to the beggar, and
went on into the city. We know that blessed soldier as Saint Martin,
Bishop of Tours. Blessed Theophylact bids us look at the disposition of
such saints: "...they deny, with befitting modesty, that they have cared
for Him."1 Why? Very simply - they do not calculate. Rather, they are
preoccupied with gratitude, delight, and joy in the Lord.

The Gospel for the Saturday of the Last Judgment considers the Lord's
"great glory" when He comes again openly in Divine Majesty. An
inescapable element of that glory will be the judgment of all men. What
will the Lord look for in us? He will look for gratitude, delight, and
love. He will not review our giving to charity, nor our work in prison
ministry, nor our gifts to relieve world hunger. It is dangerous to
take assurance from any efforts we invested in such activities. St.
Paul warns us about this sort of thinking: "And though I bestow all my
goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have
not love, it profits me nothing" (1 Cor. 13:3). Thus, in the present
passage the Lord Jesus sets forward His basis for judgment: are His
light and His love flowering in our hearts? Do we calculate or do we love?

St. John of Kronstadt teaches that "The purer the heart becomes, the
larger it becomes; consequently it is able to find room for more and
more loved ones."2 How easy it is to forget the poor, the neglected,
the homeless, the destitute, the old, the sick, and the brokenhearted.
Were not the Lord to heal our hearts, there would be no capacity in us
at all to love. God help us!

I have no life, no light, no joy or wisdom; no strength except in Thee,
O God. Enable me at all times to speak and act to Thy glory, with a
pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage,
and wisdom.


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