Monday, April 21, 2008

Daily Meditation 04/21/08


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, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, you raised up your servant Anselm to teach the Church of his day to understand its faith in your eternal Being, perfect justice, and saving mercy: Provide your Church in every age with devout and learned scholars and teachers, that we may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 56, 57, [58]; PM Psalm 64, 65
Lev. 16:1-19; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Matt. 6:1-6,16-18

From Forward Day by Day:

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18. Your Father who is in secret...

I vividly remember the first time I ever heard this verse read aloud in church-how startled I was, wondering if our "Father who is in secret" could be the same God as "our Father who is in heaven." Was heaven then a secret place? I spent a great deal of time, as a child, in secret places (both actual and imaginary), so this mattered to me. Perhaps because I was such a solitary child, biblical references to God knowing us in secret have long been inseparable from my sense of God's presence.

As an adult (with more, sometimes, to want to hide from God) I find this identification of God as one "from whom no secrets are hid" less uniformly comforting. There is no place we can go where God is not. There is nowhere in our experience-or memory, or guilt, or nightmare fear-so dark or hidden that God is not there before us. There is not just truth about God's omniscience in this promise, there is also an invitation: we may, by grace, go into our own interior secret places, and close the door, and be with God, "alone with the Alone."

Other reflection's on the day's Scripture:

Today we remember:

Psalm 139:1-9 or 37:3-6,32-33
Romans 5:1-11; Matthew 11:25-30

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Central Florida (United States)

Prayers for Easter Season:

Catholic Prayer for the Easter Virtues

the resurrection of Your Son
has given us new life and renewed hope.
Help us to live as new people
in pursuit of the Christian ideal.
Grant us wisdom to know what we must do,
the will to want to do it,
the courage to undertake it,
the perseverance to continue to do it,
and the strength to complete it.
New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book

Praying for those attending General Convention, 2009:

Speaking to the Soul:

A monastic scholar

Daily Reading for April 21 • Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1109

In the year 1109, on the Wednesday in Holy Week, the Archbishop of Canterbury lay dying. His friends, knowing that they were at the death-bed of a saint, were ready to improve the occasion: ‘My lord and father,’ they said, ‘we cannot help knowing that you are going to leave the world to be at the Easter court of your king.’ But Anselm was not to be caught by pieties and sentimentalities. His reply is the key to his life and a way to begin to understand him: ‘And indeed,’ he replied, ‘if His will is set upon this I will gladly obey His will. However, if He would prefer me to stay among you, at least until I can settle a question about the origin of the soul which I am turning over in my mind, I should welcome this with gratitude, for I do not know whether anyone will solve it when I am dead.’

There is in this reply first the obedience of the monk—a joyful love of whatever might be God’s will for him. And secondly a true estimate of his own intellectual powers as a scholar, without false humility; a mind still employed to its utmost in understanding the things of God for the sake of the people of God. . . .

As a monk Anselm understood theology to be the dynamic reflection upon mysteries already accepted and believed, by which the whole person, engaging in an arduous and totally demanding task—an ascesis—would be transfigured, receiving more and more of the light which is God. Anselm was a man of profound learning and alert mind who made his intellectual genius an integral part of his commitment to God as a monk. . . . Fides quarens intellectum, or, as Hilary of Poitiers said: ‘Bestow upon us, O Lord, the meaning of words, the light of understanding, the nobility of diction, and grant that what we believe that we may also speak.’

From Anselm of Canterbury: A Monastic Scholar by Sister Benedicta Ward SLG (Fairacres Publication No. 62, 1973).

Spiritual Practice of the Day

Do good, get good. Goodness radiates and sticks to people.
— Ajahn Sumano Bhikkhu in Meeting the Monkey Halfway

To Practice This Thought: Become sticky.
++++++++++ Reflections

Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends - it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.
St Teresa of Jesus
Life, 8.14

Reading from the Desert Christians


When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you
are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as
always, that God the Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter
than the sun; also all the angels, your own Guardian Angel, and
all the Saints of God. Truly they do; for they are all one in God,
and where God is, there are they also. Where the sun is, thither
also are directed all its rays. Try to understand what this means.

St. John of Kronstadt

Daily Meditation from

Meditation for Day 21

Seven times a day, as I work upon this hungry farm,I say to Thee,
'Lord, why am I here?
What is there here to stir my gifts to growth?
What great thing can I do for others - I who am captive to this dreary toil?'

And seven times a day Thou answerest,
'I cannot do without thee.
Once did My Son live thy life,
and by His faithfulness did show My mind,
My kindness, and My truth to men.
But now He is come to My side, and thou must take His place.'
From Hebridean Altars

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Ordering Our Desires

Desire is often talked about as something we ought to overcome. Still, being is desiring: our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls are full of desires. Some are unruly, turbulent, and very distracting; some make us think deep thoughts and see great visions; some teach us how to love; and some keep us searching for God. Our desire for God is the desire that should guide all other desires. Otherwise our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls become one another's enemies and our inner lives become chaotic, leading us to despair and self-destruction.

Spiritual disciplines are not ways to eradicate all our desires but ways to order them so that they can serve one another and together serve God.

Merton Institute Weekly Reflection

More and more I appreciate the beauty and solemnity of the "Way" up through the woods, past the bull barn, up the stony rise, into the grove of tall, straight oaks and hickories and around through the pines on top of the hill, to the cottage.

Sunrise. Hidden by pines and cedars on the east side of the house. Saw the red flame of it glaring through the cedars, not like sunrise but like a forest fire. From the window of the front room, then he, the Sun (can hardly be conceived as other than "he"), shone silently with solemn power through the pine branches.

Now after High Mass the whole valley is glorious with morning light and with the song of birds.

It is essential to experience all the times and moods of this place. No one will know or be able to say how essential. Almost the first and most important element of a truly spiritual life, lost in the constant, formal routine of Divine Offices under the fluorescent lights in choir--practically no change between night and day.

Thomas Merton. Turning Toward the World. Edited by Victor A. Kramer (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997): 122.

Thought for the Day

Many, no doubt, are vaguely aware that it is dawn, but they are protected from the solemnity of it by the neutralizing worship of their own society, their own world in which the sun no longer rises and sets.

Turning Toward the World: 123.

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

Day Twenty One - The Three Notes of the Order

Humility, love, and joy are the three notes which mark the lives of Tertiaries. When these characteristics are evident throughout the Order, its work will be fruitful. Without them, all that it attempts will be in vain.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Why Saints?
April 21st, 2008
Monday’s Reflection

SAINTS WERE AND ARE ORDINARY PEOPLE. Though imperfect, doubt-filled, weak, lonely, and fearful at times, they chose to remain uncompromisingly faithful witnesses to the gospel. This great “cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1) is the unity of all believers past, present, and future. …

Saints come from all walks of life and from every culture; the young, the old, the rich, the poor — all are illumined by the mystery of God’s loving presence in their lives. These ordinary folks make loving God and neighbor their extraordinary choice day in and day out. Saints step out in faith, trusting and obeying the call of God. Their purty of heart awakens us to the realization that we too are called to be shining examples of God’s spirit of love.

- Ellen K. McCormack
The Upper Room Dictionary of Christian Spiritual Formation

From p. 224 of The Upper Room Dictionary of Christian Spiritual Formation edited by Keith Beasley-Topliffe. Copyright © 2003 by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Letting Go

Question of the day:
How do feel being the thought God is lost in?

We are God's prayer. We are, in fact, God's thought. And God is hopelessly lost in thinking us. All we can do is stay naked and self-forgetful, ready for lovemaking. The primary temptation is to cover ourselves with roles, controls, successes and satisfying explanations.

Be quiet and self-forgetful, dear friends. Don't miss out. You must know for yourself that Someone is thinking you (as opposed to another) each creative moment. The only good choice is to love and trust yourself in God.

from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations

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

May I find my joy in you

Lord, inaccessible light is your dwelling place, for no one apart from you can enter into it and fully comprehend you. If I fail to see this light it is simply because it is too bright for me. Still, it is by this light that I do see all that I can, even as weak eyes, unable to look straight at the sun, see all that they can by the sun's light.

The light in which you dwell, Lord, is beyond my understanding. It is so brilliant that I cannot bear it, I cannot turn my mind's eye toward it for any length of time. I am dazzled by its brightness, amazed by its grandeur, overwhelmed by its immensity, bewildered by its abundance.

O supreme and inaccessible light, O complete and blessed truth, how far you are from me, even though I am so near to you! How remote you are from my sight, even though I am present to yours! You are everywhere in your entirety, and yet I do not see you; in you I move and have my being, and yet I cannot approach you; you are within me and around me, and yet I do not perceive you.

Anselm of Canterbury

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


"Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip?" John 14:9

Our Lord must be repeatedly astounded at us - astounded at how un-simple we are. It is opinions of our own which make us stupid, when we are simple we are never stupid, we discern all the time. Philip expected the revelation of a tremendous mystery, but not in the One Whom he knew. The mystery of God is not in what is going to be, it is now; we look for it presently, in some cataclysmic event. We have no reluctance in obeying Jesus, but it is probable that we are hurting Him by the questions we ask. "Lord, show us the Father." His answer comes straight back - "There He is, always here or nowhere." We look for God to manifest Himself to His children: God only manifests Himself in His children. Other people see the manifestation, the child of God does not. We want to be conscious of God; we cannot be conscious of our consciousness and remain sane. If we are asking God to give us experiences, or if conscious experience is in the road, we hurt the Lord. The very questions we ask hurt Jesus because they are not the questions of a child.

"Let not your heart be troubled" - then am I hurting Jesus by allowing my heart to be troubled? If I believe the character of Jesus, am I living up to my belief? Am I allowing anything to perturb my heart, any morbid questions to come in? I have to get to the implicit relationship that takes everything as it comes from Him. God never guides presently, but always now. Realize that the Lord is here now, and the emancipation is immediate.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

April 21, August 21, December 21
Chapter 64: On Constituting an Abbess

Once she has been constituted,
let the Abbess always bear in mind
what a burden she has undertaken
and to whom she will have to give an account of her stewardship,
and let her know that her duty is rather to profit her sisters
than to preside over them.
She must therefore be learned in the divine law,
that she may have a treasure of knowledge
from which to bring forth new things and old.
She must be chaste, sober and merciful.
Let her exalt mercy above judgment,
that she herself may obtain mercy.
She should hate vices;
she should love the sisterhood.

In administering correction
she should act prudently and not go to excess,
lest in seeking too eagerly to scrape off the rust
she break the vessel.
Let her keep her own frailty ever before her eyes
and remember that the bruised reed must not be broken.
By this we do not mean that she should allow vices to grow;
on the contrary, as we have already said,
she should eradicate them prudently and with charity,
in the way which may seem best in each case.
Let her study rather to be loved than to be feared.

Let her not be excitable and worried,
nor exacting and headstrong,
nor jealous and over-suspicious;
for then she is never at rest.

In her commands let her be prudent and considerate;
and whether the work which she enjoins
concerns God or the world,
let her be discreet and moderate,
bearing in mind the discretion of holy Jacob, who said,
"If I cause my flocks to be overdriven,
they will all die in one day."
Taking this, then, and other examples of discretion,
the mother of virtues,
let her so temper all things
that the strong may have something to strive after,
and the weak may not fall back in dismay.

And especially let her keep this Rule in all its details,
so that after a good ministry
she may hear from the Lord what the good servant heard
who gave the fellow-servants wheat in due season:
"Indeed, I tell you, he will set that one over all his goods" (Matt. 24:27).

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

St. Matthew 24:3-35 (4/21) The Gospel at Vespers & the Pre-Sanctified
on Great & Holy Monday

Fair Warnings: St. Matthew 24:3-35, especially vs. 35: "Heaven and earth
will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." The Lord
Jesus' revelations in this Gospel are extensive. Recognizing this, St.
John Chrysostom addressed what Christ says here in a series of three
homilies. In these sermons, the observant Archbishop notes a
significant division in the revelations that must not be overlooked to
rightly understand what the Lord discloses.

The first portion of the Lord's teaching (vss. 3-22) was given as a
warning to first century Christians "of wars in Jerusalem....of the
Jewish wars coming upon them at no great distance, for henceforth the
Roman arms were a matter of anxiety."1 From verse 23 onward, our Lord,
"having passed over all the intermediate time from the taking of
Jerusalem unto the preludes of the consummation...speaketh of the time
just before the consummation."2 This basic division places us between
these two moments - the calamitous war of the first century, and our
Lord's "second coming [which] shall be also more grievous than the
former" events, bringing history to an end.

In all the revelations, the Lord's main concern is for His beloved
Church. To the Faithful of the first century, He amply described what
would - and did - take place during the Jewish rebellion and the
retaliation by Rome and her legions. To our brethren of that
generation, the Lord gave a key warning, "then let those who are in
Judea flee to the mountains" (vs. 16).

With respect to His second coming, He cautions us - as every generation,
"Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ! or 'There!' do
not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show
great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect....For
as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also
will the coming of the Son of Man be" (vss. 23,24,27). To every
Christian and all men, the Lord's assurance does not vary: "Heaven and
earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" (vs. 35).

Heed the Lord Jesus! Give close attention to what our Savior and God
says! Above all the Master is cautioning us that deceivers will come
along to present us with other christs: "do not believe it" (vs. 23).
As the Apostle Paul reminds every Orthodox Christian: "...(as there are
many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of
whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through
Whom are all things, and through Whom we live. However, there is not in
everyone that knowledge" (1 Cor. 8:5-7). Turn to the icons of our Lord
in the temple or at home. He alone is Sovereign and God. Be good
servants and wait for Him!

Second, if anyone tries to lure you away from the peace that our
Orthodox Church gives in every Liturgy, resist the temptation.
Announcements, exciting news: "'He is in the desert!' will be false. Do
not go out! Do not believe it. Here is why: as the lightning comes
from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the
Son of Man be" (Mt. 24:26,27).

In every generation - and now especially - decade by decade, year by
year, people are making the news with solid programs for deepening your
spiritual life. What!? Such talk ignores the Holy Tradition handed on
to us, as if it were not alive and available today, this very moment, in
the Church of God. Christ is known, taught, served, received, and
worshiped as ever! Be at peace in the safety of the Church until He
returns, for every eye will see Him at the end.

We have fair warnings in what the Holy Fathers teach us: the cleansing
of our souls, the preparation of our hearts for the Bridal Chamber, the
attainment of a worthy wedding garment.

Yea, I the Creator, rich in Godhead, came Myself to serve poor Adam,
whose likeness I took willingly, and to give Myself as a Redemption for
him, Who Am without suffering as to My Godhead. Let us praise the
Lord....for in glory He hath been glorified.


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