Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Daily Meditation 03/19/08

My apologies that there has been no DM for so long. I have been ill.



Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 55; PM Psalm 74
Lam. 2:1-9; 2 Cor. 1:23-2:11; Mark 12:1-11

From Forward Day by Day:

John 13:21-32. He immediately went out. And it was night.

There are apparently two kinds of spiritual night. There is the mysteriously blessed "dark night of the soul" that St. John of the Cross knew-the "deep but dazzling darkness" at the heart of God that the poet Henry Vaughan described.

Then there is the night that Judas precipitated, that he pulled down around him as deliberately as Samson pulled down the pillars of the temple, with defiance, isolation, treachery, and self-destruction tumbling into an abyss of ruin.

A painting of the Last Supper by Nicolas Poussin illustrates this fateful moment: the disciples gathered with Jesus around the table at the Last Supper, leaning toward each other in community, their faces touched by the same light-while at the very edge of the scene, Judas, insubstantial and alone, departs into darkness.

He has allowed Jesus to wash his feet; he has received bread from Jesus' hand. But before this night is over, he will stand with the soldiers and police in the flaring torchlight of Gethsemane while they arrest Jesus; then, in John's Gospel, we hear of him no more.

God grant we never see, nor cause, such night.

Other reflection's on the day's Scripture:

Today we remember:

March 19, Wednesday in Holy Week:

Psalm 70 ;
Isaiah 50:4-9a; Hebrews 12:1-3; John 13:21-32

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Hong Kong Island (Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui)

40 Ideas for Lent: A Lenten calendar


Whenever you're near a window today – at home, at work, on the bus, on the train – look out properly and take in the shapes, patterns, contrasts and textures of what you can see. Don't stop looking until you find something beautiful you hadn't noticed before.

Idea by: Peter Graystone

"Grant me, Lord, to hate the things that are unworthy in your sight, and to prize the things that are precious to you." – Thomas à Kempis

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

St. Leo the Great: Letter XXVIII (called the "Tome"):

Speaking to the Soul:

Daily Reading for March 19 • Wednesday in Holy Week

Sin, sorrow, and suffering, and death itself, were indeed taken away at the Cross, but we mortals must enter into the depths of this mystery in actual experience. The fact that the Savior bore all this for us does not mean that we bear nothing of it; rather, it means that we are invited in to that place (the Cross) where suffering is transfigured. We (the Church) are his Body, says St. Paul. As such, we share in his suffering for the life of the world.

Jesus tells his followers that they will drink the cup of which he drank and be baptized with the baptism with which he was to be baptized (he was speaking specifically of his imminent suffering in Jerusalem). Where, suddenly, is the theology that teaches that because the Savior did it all, we thereby are reduced to the status of inert bystanders? Whether the sorrow of the moment is a lost glove or a lost spouse or a bombed city, I am invited by the Divine Mercy to unite this terrible loss (for the child, the loss of the glove may threaten the end of the world) with the suffering of the Savior at Calvary and thus to discover that my suffering is his suffering, and that—paradox of paradoxes—his is ours (again—we are his Body).

From “The Crucifix” by Thomas Howard, quoted in Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter (Plough Publishing House, 2003).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

Music makes an altar out of our ears. A single struck tone, a note blown from a flute, can flush the body with goodness.
— W. A. Mathieu in The Musical Life

To Practice This Thought: Imagine that your ears are an altar. What do you hear in this sacred space?
++++++++++ Reflections

I understood that love comprised all vocations, that love was everything, that it embraced all times and places, in a word, that it was eternal! ... O Jesus, my Love ... my vocation, at last I have found it, my vocation is love! the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall be Love.
St Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians


When the blessed Eulogius saw an angel distributing gifts to the
monks who toiled at all-night vigils, to one he gave a gold piece
with the image of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to another a silver piece
with a cross, to another a copper piece, to another a bronze
piece, and to another nothing. The others who had remained in the
church, left the church empty-handed. It was revealed to him that
the ones who had obtained the gifts are those who toil at vigils
and are diligent in prayers, supplications, psalms, chants, and
readings. Those who received nothing or who left the church
empty-handed are those who are heedless of their salvation, are
enslaved to vainglory and the clamors of life, and stand feebly
and lazily at vigils and whisper and jest.

St. Joseph of Volokalamsk

Daily Meditation from

Meditation for Day 19

Lord, take this song
and fill it with Your presence.
Let it bring a word of hope
to weary care-full hearts.
Take this song
and fill it, Lord.
Fill it with Yourself.

Lord, take my life
and fill it with Your praises.
Let me speak a word of peace
that Jesus brings in me.
Take this life
and fill it, Lord.
Fill it with Yourself.

Lord, take this place
and fill it
with Your blessing.
Let it be a haven
where the
poor in spirit
Take this place
and fill it, Lord.
Fill it with Your praise.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

The Infinite Value of Life

Some people live long lives, some die very young. Is a long life better than a short life? What truly counts is not the length of our lives but their quality. Jesus was in his early thirties when he was killed. Thérése de Lisieux was in her twenties when she died. Anne Frank was a teenager when she lost her life. But their short lives continue to bear fruit long after their deaths.

A long life is a blessing when it is well lived and leads to gratitude, wisdom, and sanctity. But some people can live truly full lives even when their years are few. As we see so many young people die of cancer and AIDS let us do everything possible to show our friends that, though their lives may be short, they are of infinite value.

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

Day Nineteen - The Third Way of Service - Work

Jesus took on himself the form of a servant. He came not to be served, but to serve. He went about doing good: healing the sick, preaching good news to the poor, and binding up the broken hearted.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

March 19th, 2008
Wednesday’s Reflection

TAKE FROM ME, gracious God, all that separates me from you — my sense of past sin, my pride in present achievements, my anxieties for the future. Make me self-forgetful as I gaze on you, and let me know the joy of finding my true self in you. Amen.

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

From p. 95 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

Holy Week

Question of the day:
How have you experienced true freedom?

"The greatest among you must behave as if you were the youngest, the leader as if he were the one who serves" (Luke 22:26) That is probably the simplest and most powerful statement about the Christian definition of authority to be found in all four gospels.

"For who is the greater, the one at table or the one who serves?" The world would say immediately, "The one at table." He says,"Surely, yet, here I am among you as one who serves" (Luke 22:27). Jesus says, in effect, "I'm telling you that the world's way will not work. The essence of true freedom is the freedom to serve other people—to wait upon them."

from The Good News According to Luke

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

Joseph, the father of Jesus

Who can doubt that when Joseph reached the end of his life, his divine foster child in his turn carried that saintly father from this world to the next, to Abraham's bosom, to be taken to himself in glory on the day of his ascension?

A saint who had loved so deeply during his life could not but die of love. Unable to love his dear Jesus as he wished amid the distractions of this life, and having completed the service required by our Lord's tender years, it only remained for him to say to the Father: "I have finished the work which you gave me to do"; and to the Son: "My child, to my hands your heavenly Father entrusted your body on the day when you came into this world; now to your hands I entrust my spirit on the day I leave this world."

Such, I believe, was the death of this great patriarch, the man chosen to perform for the Son of God the tenderest and most loving offices possible, apart from those fulfilled by his heaven-sent wife, the true mother of that same Son.

Francis de Sales

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


He went out, not knowing whither he went." Hebrews 11:8

In the Old Testament, personal relationship with God showed itself in separation, and this is symbolized in the life of Abraham by his separation from his country and from his kith and kin. To day the separation is more of a mental and moral separation from the way that those who are dearest to us look at things, that is, if they have not a personal relationship with God. Jesus Christ emphasized this (see Luke 14:26).

Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading. It is a life of Faith, not of intellect and reason, but a life of knowing Who makes us "go." The root of faith is the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest snares is the idea that God is sure to lead us to success.

The final stage in the life of faith is attainment of character. There are many passing transfigurations of character; when we pray we feel the blessing of God enwrapping us and for the time being we are changed, then we get back to the ordinary days and ways and the glory vanishes. The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with wings, but a life of walking and not fainting. It is not a question of sanctification; but of something infinitely further on than sanctification, of faith that has been tried and proved and has stood the test. Abraham is not a type of sanctification, but a type of the life of faith, a tried faith built on a real God. "Abraham believed God."

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

March 19, July 19, November 18
Chapter 40: On the Measure of Drink

"Everyone has her own gift from God,
one in this way and another in that" (1 Cor. 7:7).
It is therefore with some misgiving
that we regulate the measure of others' sustenance.
Nevertheless, keeping in view the needs of the weak,
we believe that a hemina of wine a day is sufficient for each.
But those to whom God gives the strength to abstain
should know that they will receive a special reward.

If the circumstances of the place,
or the work
or the heat of summer
require a greater measure,
the superior shall use her judgment in the matter,
taking care always
that there be no occasion for surfeit or drunkenness.
We read
it is true,
that wine is by no means a drink for monastics;
but since the monastics of our day cannot be persuaded of this
let us at least agree to drink sparingly and not to satiety,
because "wine makes even the wise fall away" (Eccles. 19:2).

But where the circumstances of the place are such
that not even the measure prescribed above can be supplied,
but much less or none at all,
let those who live there bless God and not murmur.
Above all things do we give this admonition,
that they abstain from murmuring.

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

Genesis 4:16-26 (3/19) 1st Reading at Vespers, Wednesday, 2nd
Week of the Great Fast

Beyond Eden-III ~ Secularism Revealed: Genesis 4:16-26, especially vs.
16: "...Cain went forth from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in
the land of Nod over against Eden." This passage from Genesis describes
the history of Cain and his descendants, those we may well call "the
first secularists." Cain and his family disclose what becomes of human
life devoid of all thought of the Lord God. We see the heart of secular
man: the deformed spirit, existence organized around the material and
psychological dimensions of life, a place where the passions reign over

God curses Cain, casting him out "from the face of the earth" (Gen
4:12-14). Cain is estranged from a rooted life tilling the soil (see
Gen. 4:2). He learns what it means to be "hidden from [God's] presence"
(vs. 14). His rootlessness is emphasized in Hebrew in which "Nod"
literally means, "the land of wandering" (vs. 16). Wandering takes him
"forth from the presence of God" (vs. 16). Thus, the Lord is
effectively removed from his thoughts. He lives solely for the
"seculum," the material world. In physical existence he fashions a
community of here and now. St. Augustine describes Cain as a man who in
heart and will "belonged to the city of man," and, therefore, "it is
recorded of Cain that he built a city,"1 a human construct to replace
rightful life in communion with God. Secularism is life devoid of
relationship with God.

The Apostle Paul teaches us that when men exchange "the truth of God for
the lie," and worship and serve "the creature rather than the Creator,"
they become "futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts [are]
darkened" (Rom. 1:25,21). Still, in God's mercy, the darkening of men's
hearts does not destroy all facility of the human spirit. Also, the
Lord leaves in place His gifts for the just and the unjust (Mt. 5:45).
Artistic capacity remains in the hearts of all men. Hence, the
descendants of Cain employed their spiritual faculties, inventing and
fashioning the various elements of material culture, the husbandry of
livestock, the development of music and instruments, and the mastery of
bronze and iron artistry (Gen. 4:20-22).

But compare these talented, worldly craftsmen with the godly artisans
who were filled "with a divine spirit of wisdom, and understanding, and
knowledge, to invent in every work..." (Ex. 31:3). Clearly, the
mysteries of faith and the beauties of worship are rightly expressed
only by those whom God chooses, ordains, and inspires. For this reason,
vestment making, iconography, Church music, and other forms of Orthodox
craftsmanship are conducted under the protection of canonical
definition, prayer, and fasting, so that God is honored in all things.

Secularism leads men to greater indulgence of the passions. Cain's
descendant, Lamech, provides two examples of this, in his sexual lust
and his anger. God ordained monogamy as the basis for human marriages
(Gen 2:24). However Lamech, in a materialist spirit, takes two wives
(Gen. 4:19). No ills appear to follow from his bigamy, but Scripture
reveals numerous other cases where multiple wives and indulgence of the
sexual passions only brings great grief.

Lamech also exhibits a man fully under the sway of the passion of anger
- greater than his grandfather, Cain, who killed one man. In Lamech the
passion of anger becomes far more violent and sinister. He wildly
boasts of wholesale revenge, announcing every intention to indulge in
blood feud and multiple murder (vss. 23,24). His ethics are founded on
unrestrained passion and self-indulgence. He epitomizes the spirit of
every secularist ideology that promotes terror, genocide, mass-murder,
war, and violence in order to achieve its "ideals."

Blessed be the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit, both now


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