Sunday, March 23, 2008

Daily Meditation 03/23/08, Easter


Blessed are those for whom Easter is...
not a hunt, but a find;
not a greeting, but a proclamation;
not outward fashions, but inward grace;
not a day, but an eternity.


Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord's resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24;
Acts 10:34-43 or Jermiah 31:1-6 ; Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43;
John 20:1-18) or Matthew 28:1-10

From Forward Day by Day:

John 20:1-18. I have seen the Lord.

Mary went alone. To Jesus' tomb. In the dark. And found it empty. Desolation upon desolation.

Appalled to think that someone had stolen Jesus' body, she ran back to Peter and John, who ran to the tomb to see for themselves, and then ran home again. Then the flurry of astonished activity was over, and Mary was left with her sorrow and bewilderment, weeping outside the tomb.

And then occurred one of the loveliest encounters ever recorded. In a tender (almost Shakespearian) comedy of echoed questions and mistaken identity and final joyful recognition, Mary was the first of all who loved him to meet her Risen Lord, the first to be sent to tell the good news.

In Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth, Mary bursts in on the disciples with her ringing annunciation of resurrection: her face shines like the sun as she proclaims,
"I have seen the Lord."

Like Moses at Sinai--like Jesus on the mountain--Mary is transfigured by resurrection light. We are all meant to be God's radiant Easter people. May we pray with St. Augustine: "By thy gift, O Lord, we are set on fire, borne aloft; we burn and are on the way."

REJOICE and be glad now, Mother Church,
and let your holy courts, in radiant light,
resound with the praises of your people.

Other reflection's on the day's Scripture:

Prayers for Easter Season:

Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate
Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen
Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead,
the first of the sleepers,
Glory and power are his forever and ever

St. Hippolytus (AD 190-236)

Praying for those attending General Convention, 2009:

Speaking to the Soul:

In the midst of death we are in life

Daily Reading for March 23 • The Feast of the Resurrection: Easter Day

The last certainty is the certainty of death. It is the one thing of which we can be sure. We may try to forget it, but it will not forget us. Nor can we ever really forget it until we have faced it and come to a decision about it. In the midst of life we are in death, unless we know that in the midst of death we are in life.

Faith in eternal life is and must be the logical conclusion—using logic in its fullest human sense—of the instinct of self-preservation. As we grow, so grows that divine discontent that severs us completely from the rest of the animal creation and bids us reach out to fuller and fuller life. We can find endless reasons to justify the instinctive craving, but it is the instinct that sets us reasoning, and unless the world is a fraud, that instinct points to something real by which it can be satisfied.

Unless then life mocks us and has no meaning, the instinct for self-preservation must have its perfect work and must lead to truth, not falsehood. The Christian hypothesis is that life is as good as God revealed in Christ and that behind the Cross there is ever and always the resurrection. And it is only by taking that hypothesis and living life as though it were true, flinging ourselves upon it recklessly in the faith that God keeps the good wine until the last, that we can come to that triumphant certainty which destroys death and makes us sure that in the midst of death we are in life everlasting.

From The Wicket Gate by G. A. Studdert-Kennedy, quoted in A Time to Turn: Anglican Readings for Lent and Easter Week by Christopher L. Webber. Copyright © 2004. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Spiritual Practice of the Day

As Lester Brown says, the number one issue in the environmental revolution is inertia. What is the opposite of inertia? Zeal. Aquinas says zeal comes from the experience of the intense lovability of things. And of intense beauty.
— Matthew Fox quoted in Listening to the Land by Derrick Jensen

To Practice This Thought: To be fully alive, seek out things that animate you to love and to appreciate beauty.
++++++++++ Reflections

Imitate Our Lady and consider how great she must be and what a good thing it is that we have her for our Patroness.
St Teresa of Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians


Prove your love and zeal for wisdom in actual deeds.

St. Callistus Xanthopoulos

Daily Meditation from

Meditation for Day 23

As the rain hides the stars,
as the autumn mist hides the hills,
happenings of my lot
hide the shining of Thy face from me.
Yet, if I may hold Thy hand
in the darkness,
it is enough;
since I know that,
though I may stumble in my going,
Thou dost not fall.
Alistair Maclean

The Lord is thy keeper,
the Lord is thy shade.
The sun shall not smite thee by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee,
thy soul from all evil;
the Lord shall preserve thee,
thy going and thy coming,
from this time forward,
and even for evermore.
from Psalm 121

As it was, as it is,
and as it shall be
evermore, God of grace,
God in Trinity!
With the ebb, with the flow,
ever it is so,
God of grace, O Trinity,
with the ebb and flow.
Traditional Gaelic prayer learned from
Alexander Macneill, fishsalter, Barra

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Sharing Our Solitude

A friend is more than a therapist or a confessor, even though a friend can sometimes heal us and offer us God's forgiveness.

A friend is that other person with whom we can share our solitude, our silence, and our prayer. A friend is that other person with whom we can look at a tree and say, "Isn't that beautiful," or sit on the beach and silently watch the sun disappear under the horizon. With a friend we don't have to say or do something special. With a friend we can be still and know that God is there with both of us.


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

Day Twenty Three - The First Note, cont'd

Humility confesses that we have nothing that we have not received and admits the fact of our insufficiency and our dependence upon God. It is the basis of all Christian virtues. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said, "No spiritual house can stand for a moment except on the foundation of humility." It is the first condition of a joyful life within any community.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

The Morning of New Life
March 23rd, 2008
Sunday’s Reflection

HOLY JESUS, I hear God’s mighty “Yes!”
in your Resurrection.
You invite me to live also,
and I want to say “Yes!” to you.
Take me out of the tomb that imprisons me,
lead me into the morning of new life,
and walk with me wherever your love may lead.

- Peter Storey
Listening at Golgotha: Jesus’ Words from the Cross

From pp. 87-88 of Listening at Golgotha: Jesus’ Words from the Cross by Peter Storey. Copyright © 2004 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection


Question of the day:
Who will roll away the stone of our disbelief?

The Jewish Sabbath is over and three women arrive to anoint him on this first day of the week just as the sun is rising. And as the women walk toward the tomb they are saying, "Who will roll away the stone?"

Now we have the new question: who will roll away the stone of our disbelief?

Jesus becomes the image and the icon of the things God did once, as a sign and a promise for what God is doing everywhere for everybody. The God of Israel turns death into life—that is the meaning of the Resurrection. The real act of faith is seeing it as a pattern that is happening in your life—God can turn your crucifixion into resurrection and God is going to do it with humanity.

from Classes given in Albuquerque

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

Mercy and fullness of redemption

How perfect I might think myself, how advanced in wisdom, if only I could qualify as a true disciple of Jesus crucified, for God has made him not only our wisdom but also our righteousness, our holiness, and our freedom! If anyone is nailed to the cross with Christ he is altogether wise, righteous, holy, and free. Wise, because he has been raised with Christ above the earth, and now seeks and understands the things of heaven; righteous, because sin has been put to death in him and he is no longer enslaved to it; holy, because he has offered himself to God as a living sacrifice, consecrated and acceptable to him; free, because the Son of God has redeemed him, and in freedom of spirit he can now boldly repeat the Son's confident words: The prince of this world is on his way, but he has no claim on me.

Truly there is mercy and fullness of redemption with our crucified Lord. So completely has he redeemed Israel from all its iniquity that it is now acquitted of any accusation that the prince of this world could make against it.

Guerric of Igny

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


"Whereas there is among you jealousy and strife, are ye not carnal?" 1 Corinthians 3:3

No natural man knows anything about carnality. The flesh lusting against the Spirit that came in at regeneration, and the Spirit lusting against the flesh, produces carnality. "Walk in the Spirit," says Paul, "and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh"; and carnality will disappear.

Are you contentious, easily troubled about trifles? "Oh, but no one who is a Christian ever is!" Paul says they are, he connects these things with carnality. Is there a truth in the Bible that instantly awakens petulance in you? That is a proof that you are yet carnal. If sanctification is being worked out, there is no trace of that spirit left.

If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He does not ask you to put it right; He asks you to accept the light, and He will put it right. A child of the light confesses instantly and stands bared before God; a child of the darkness says - "Oh, I can explain that away." When once the light breaks and the conviction of wrong comes, be a child of the light, and confess, and God will deal with what is wrong; if you vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.

What is the proof that carnality has gone? Never deceive yourself; when carnality is gone it is the most real thing imaginable. God will see that you have any number of opportunities to prove to yourself the marvel of His grace. The practical test is the only proof. "Why," you say, "if this had happened before, there would have been the spirit of resentment!" You will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

March 23, July 23, November 22
Chapter 43: On Those Who Come Late to the Work of God or to Table

Anyone who does not come to table before the verse,
so that all together may say the verse and the oration
and all sit down to table at the same time --
anyone who
through his own carelessness or bad habit
does not come on time
shall be corrected for this up to the second time.
If then he does not amend,
he shall not be allowed to share in the common table,
but shall be separated from the company of all
and made to eat alone,
and his portion of wine shall be taken away from him,
until he has made satisfaction and has amended.
And let him suffer a like penalty who is not present
at the verse said after the meal.

And let no one presume
to take any food or drink
before or after the appointed time.
But if anyone is offered something by the superior
and refuses to take it,
then when the time comes
that he desires what he formerly refused
or something else,
let him receive nothing whatever
until he has made proper satisfaction.

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

St. Mark 2:1-12 (3/23) Gospel for the Sunday of Gregory Palamas:
the 2nd of Great Lent

Revelation Concerning Healing: St. Mark 2:1-12, especially vss. 10, 11:
"'But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to
forgive sins' - He said to the paralytic, 'I say to you, arise, take up
your bed, and go to your house.'" When the Lord Jesus came to
Capernaum, "immediately many gathered together" (vs. 2). Despite the
press of the crowd, the friends of a paralyzed man brought him to Jesus
for healing (vs. 3-4). Our Lord responded to the faith of these friends
and spoke to the paralytic about his primary problem - his need for
forgiveness (vs. 5). However, Jesus was aware of the "reasoning" of the
scribes, "in their hearts" (vs. 6). These theologians believed "this
Man," Jesus, was blaspheming by forgiving sins (vs. 7). How ironic!
They were correct in saying that the authority and power to forgive are
vested in God alone.

Therefore, the Lord Jesus addressed their spiritual resistance and
declared that "the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins" (Mk.
2:10). As Blessed Theophylact notes, "by healing the body, the Lord
makes credible and certain the healing of the soul as well, confirming
the invisible by means of the visible."1 Do you see? The healing
occurred in a believing community gathered to the Lord. The friends'
faith was more important than paralytic's.

The scene in Capernaum has, in fact, the appearance of the Church.
Christ the Lord is in "the house" (vs. 1). People learn that He is
there, and gather together. He preaches to them (vs. 2). Father
Alexander Schmemann reminds us that the first and often overlooked
action of the Liturgy is the gathering of the Faithful, what he calls
the "Sacrament of the Assembly:" "When I say that I am going to Church,
it means I am going into the assembly of the Faithful in order, together
with them, to constitute the Church, in order to be what I became on the
day of my Baptism - a member, in the fullest, absolute meaning of the
term, of the Body of Christ."2 The full expression of the Church's
gifts, including every sort of spiritual and physical healing, is most
appropriate and likely in the context of the Church gathered around her
Lord. Church - the Assembly of the Faithful - is the locus for
anticipating Christ "Who is gracious unto all thine iniquities, Who
healest all thine infirmities, Who redeemeth thy life from corruption,
Who crowneth thee with mercy and compassion" (Ps. 102:3,4 LXX).

Second, notice that the paralytic man was passive, not merely because of
his physical need to be carried (Mk. 2:3). There was more. The man
never said a word. He did nothing until he was directed to "... arise,
take up your bed and go to your house" (vs. 11). Then he acted, but
still without a word. It was not his faith to which the Lord responded,
but rather the faith of those who brought him (vs. 5). Healing requires
the faith of the Church more than the faith of a single individual. The
system of Godparents, for example, is founded on this principle, which
is especially evidenced with infants. The Orthodox anointing service,
most often seen on Great and Holy Wednesday Evening, requires the
reading of seven gospels by seven priests. The number seven expresses
this same reality of the wholeness of the Church gathered in faith with
her Lord.

Finally, this lesson reveals that all healing - physical and spiritual -
takes its source from Christ. The scribes had the right point but with
wrong reasoning (vs. 7). The Lord agreed with their assertion, but
simultaneously fixed the authoritative power to heal in Himself: "But
that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive
sins," He commanded the man to rise and walk (vs. 10). The poor
scribes! The Lord revealed their innermost thoughts, healed the man's
body, and still they were not healed of delusion; still they could not
receive their Savior.

O Master, Lord our God, raise us up from our sickness through the mercy
of Thy goodness, that we who share in Thine inexpressible love toward
mankind may sing Thy praises.


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