Saturday, April 26, 2008

Daily Meditation for 04/26/08


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.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 75, 76; PM Psalm 23, 27
Lev. 23:23-44; 2 Thess. 3:1-18; Matt. 7:13-21

From Forward Day by Day:

Matthew 7:13-21. Enter through the narrow gate&the road is easy that leads to destruction.

In C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, an experienced demon advises his nephew Wormwood on leading humans to damnation. He warns Wormwood to avoid dramatic choices that might alert his human to danger: "The safest road to Hell is the gradual one...soft underfoot."

Matthew likewise warns that "the road is easy that leads to destruction." We must avoid the easy way, and strive to enter "through the narrow gate." My daily walk takes me to the edge of town, with a grand view of Sun Mountain. Once a man on a bicycle stopped and asked me if there were a way to the top on a paved road. He seemed discouraged when I told him no, that the way to the summit was by a narrow dirt trail. Our culture encourages us to seek short-cuts, easy routes to our goals. If we are trying to follow Jesus, there will be plenty of easy roads to forgo. The Christian life offers abundant opportunity for renunciation, perseverance, and discipline.

However, beyond the narrow gate there is wide room for joy, for in God's mercy awaits unimaginable recompense for any sacrifice the narrow way requires.

Other reflection's on the day's Scripture:

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Central Newfoundland (Canada, Canada)

Prayers for Easter Season:

Prayer to the Resurrected Christ who Saves Us

O Jesus, King,
receive my supplication,
and consider my supplication,
as a pledge to You.
For you, O living King,
have gone forth and gone up,
out of Hell,
as Conqueror.

Woe to those who have rejected you;
For, to evil spirits and demons,
You are sorrow,
to Satan and to Death,
You are pain,
To Sin and Hell,
You are mourning.

Yet, joy has come today,
for those who are born anew.
On this great day therefore,
We give great glory to You,
who died and is now alive,
that to all you may give
life and resurrection!
Adapted by David Bennett from Nisibene Hymn 36:17,18, by St. Ephrem the Syrian

Praying for those attending General Convention, 2009:

Speaking to the Soul:

Let nothing trouble you

Daily Reading for April 26

Given the reality of medieval office politics (as real for us in the twenty-first century as it was in the thirteenth), Hadewijch offered two main pieces of advice: “be on your guard against instability” and “never abandon the true life of good works.” Hadewijch seems to understand how easy it is to lose one’s center, and how detrimental that can be to one’s spirituality. She writes, “For there is nothing so able and so quick to separate you from our Lord as instability.” As an antidote, she gives us a sort of mantra with a warning attached.

“Whatever troubles may come to you, do not commit the folly of believing that you are set for any other goal than the great God Himself, in the fullness of His being and His love; do not let folly or doubt deflect you from any good practice which can lead you to this goal. If you will confide yourself to His love, you will soon grow to your full stature, but if you persist in doubting, you will become sluggish and grudging, and everything which you ought to do will be a burden to you. Let nothing trouble you [as Teresa of Avila will also advise three centuries later], do not believe that anything which you must do for Him whom you seek will be beyond your strength, that you cannot surmount it, that it will be beyond you. This is the fervor, this is the zeal which you must have, and all the time your strength must grow.”

From Wisdom from the Middle Ages for Middle-Aged Women by Lisa B. Hamilton. Copyright © 2007. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.


Spiritual Practice of the Day

Apologies are the art of spiritual housekeeping. They help to put and keep our lives in order.
— Julia Cameron in God Is No Laughing Matter

To Practice This Thought: Apologize to someone.

An Excerpt from Our Stories Remember: American Indian History, Culture, and Values by Joseph Bruchac

Native American Joseph Bruchac offers wise explanations of this way of life. Here is a story about the importance of attention in the search for plants.

"As with hunting and fishing, there is a proper way to harvest plants. For example, one should never pick the first medicine plant you see, but make certain there are plenty of others. Even then, you do not pick too many or take the largest one. Before you gather any plant, you must speak to it, ask its permission, and offer a gift — such as some tobacco or beads. Then, when you reach for that plant, it will seem to leap you�re your hand. But if you mind is in the wrong place, if you are angry or confused or in a hurry, the medicine plants will hide from you. You cannot hear the medicine voice.

An Abenaki friend of mine went to get sweetgrass from a spot near the road where her late father had planted it years ago. She was in a hurry to get there and get back. She parked the car, got out, and wandered around for an hour trying to find the sweetgrass. Finally, sadly, she concluded that someone had pulled it all up or it had been killed by the road crews spreading salt. But when she told her mother about it, her mother's response was 'Get the car.' The two of them went back, and my friend parked right where she had been before. Her mother got out first. 'Look here,' her mother said. There was the sweetgrass, growing right next to the car."
++++++++++ Reflections

Prayer of a soul enkindled with love. My Way is the way of trust and love.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians


We believe that the divine presence is everywhere and that "the
eyes of the Lord are looking on the good and the evil in every
place." But we should believe this especially without any doubt
when we are assisting at the Work of God. To that end let us be
mindful always of the Prophet's words, "Serve the Lord in fear"
and again, "Sing praises wisely" and "In the sight of the Angels I
will sing praise to Thee." Let us therefore consider how we ought
to conduct ourselves in the sight of the Godhead and of His
Angels, and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way that
our mind may be in harmony with our voice.

St. Benedict

Daily Meditation from

No pictured likeness of my Lord
I have;
He carved no record
of His ministry
on wood or stone,
He left no sculptured tomb
nor parchment dim
but trusted for all memory of Him
the heart alone.

Who sees the face but sees in part;
Who reads the spirit which it hides,
sees all;
he needs no more.

Thy life in my life, Lord,
give Thou to me;
and then, in truth,
I may forever see
my Master's face!
William Hurd Hillyer

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Question from Above

What are spiritual questions? They are questions from above. Most questions people ask of Jesus are questions from below, such as the question about which of a woman's seven husbands she will be married to in the resurrection. Jesus does not answer this question because it comes from a legalistic mind-set. It is a question from below.

Often Jesus responds by changing this question. In the case of the woman with seven husbands he says, "At the resurrection men and women do not marry Ö have you never read what God himself said to you: 'I am God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?' He is God not of the dead but of the living" (Matthew 22:23-30).

We have to keep looking for the spiritual question if we want spiritual answers.

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

Day Twenty Six - The Second Note, cont'd

Therefore, we seek to love all those to whom we are bound by ties of family or friendship. Our love for them increases as their love for Christ grows deeper. We have a special love and affection for members of the Third Order, praying for each other individually and seeking to grow in that love. We are on our guard against anything which might injure this love, and we seek reconciliation with those from whom we are estranged. We seek the same love for those with whom we have little natural affinity, for this kind of love is not a welling up of emotion, but is a bond founded in our common union with Christ.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Simple Gifts
April 26th, 2008
Saturday’s Reflection

O HIGH AND LOFTY ONE who inhabits eternity, who sees backward and forward from our brief lives and far beyond our small communities, help us to notice your many simple but essential gifts that all your children share in common — thread, bread, water, family — and challenge us to build on those similarities when we are tempted to fight over our differences. Amen.

- Jim Melchiorre
Novena in Time of War: Soul-Searching Prayers and Meditations

From pp. 35-36 of Novena in Time of War by Jim Melchiorre. Copyright © 2007 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

Letting Go

Question of the day:
What in my life leaves me poor, humble, and empty?

When all of our idols are taken away, all our securities and defense mechanisms, we find out who we really are. We're so little, so poor, so empty—sometimes, even so ugly.

But God takes away our shame, and we are able to present ourselves to God poor and humble. Then we find out who we are and who God is for us.

from The Great Themes of Scripture

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

The upward movement

Christ is risen! He has burst open the gates of hell and let the dead go free; he has renewed the earth through the members of his Church now born again in baptism, and has made it blossom afresh with men and women brought back to life. His Holy Spirit has unlocked the doors of heaven, which stand wide open to receive those who rise up from the earth. Because of Christ's resurrection the thief ascends to paradise, the bodies of the blessed enter the holy city, and the dead are restored to the company of the living; there is an upward movement in the whole of creation, each element raising itself to something higher. We see the underworld restoring its victims to the upper regions, earth sending its buried dead to heaven, and heaven presenting the new arrivals to the Lord. In one and the same movement, our Savior's passion raises men and women from the depths, lifts them up from the earth, and sets them in the heights.

Christ is risen. His rising brings life to the dead, forgiveness to sinners, and glory to the saints. And so David the prophet summons all creation to join in celebrating the Easter festival: Rejoice and be glad, he cries, on this day which the Lord has made.

Maximus of Turin

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


"Take now thy son . . and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." Genesis 22:2

Character determines how a man interprets God's will (cf. Psalm 18:25-26). Abraham interpreted God's command to mean that he had to kill his son, and he could only leave this tradition behind by the pain of a tremendous ordeal. God could purify his faith in no other way. If we obey what God says according to our sincere belief, God will break us from those traditions that misrepresent Him. There are many such beliefs to be got rid of, e.g., that God removes a child because the mother loves him too much - a devil's lie! and a travesty of the true nature of God. If the devil can hinder us from taking the supreme climb and getting rid of wrong traditions about God, he will do so; but if we keep true to God, God will take us through an ordeal which will bring us out into a better knowledge of Himself.

The great point of Abraham's faith in God was that he was prepared to do anything for God. He was there to obey God, no matter to what belief he went contrary. Abraham was not a devotee of his convictions, or he would have slain Isaac and said that the voice of the angel was the voice of the devil. That is the attitude of a fanatic. If you will remain true to God, God will lead you straight through every barrier into the inner chamber of the knowledge of Himself; but there is always this point of giving up convictions and traditional beliefs. Don't ask God to test you. Never declare as Peter did - "I will do anything, I will go to death with Thee." Abraham did not make any such declaration, he remained true to God, and God purified his faith.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

April 26, August 26, December 26
Chapter 68: If a Sister Is Commanded to Do Impossible Things

If it happens
that difficult or impossible tasks are laid on a sister,
let her nevertheless receive the order of the one in authority
with all meekness and obedience.
But if she sees that the weight of the burden
altogether exceeds the limit of her strength,
let her submit the reasons for her inability
to the one who is over her
in a quiet way and at an opportune time,
without pride, resistance, or contradiction.
And if after these representations
the Superior still persists in her decision and command,
let the subject know that this is for her good,
and let her obey out of love,
trusting in the help of God.

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

St. Matthew 28:1-20 (4/26) The Gospel at the Divine Liturgy of Great
and Holy Saturday

The Resurrection: St. Matthew 28:1-20, especially vs. 9: "And as they
went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, 'Rejoice!'
So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him." Ultimately,
the dynamis - the power of the Most High God that raised the Lord Jesus
Christ from the dead - will be poured out by the same God upon those
whom He meets as they go on their way. Clearly, He blesses all who come
to Him and take Him by the feet, worship Him, and obey Him (vs. 9). He
numbers them among those who will know the joy and power of His
Resurrection. This was the experience of the Apostle Paul who willingly
"suffered the loss of all things" to gain Christ and know Him "and the
power of His Resurrection" (Phil. 3:8,10). Like the women and the
Apostle, all who meet the risen Christ encounter Him unexpectedly but
always "with fear and great joy" (Mt. 28:8).

Such was true even for Saul of Tarsus who tried to destroy the Faith.
In the end, he reacted much as did the women at the tomb. Without
doubt, he met Christ in a very different spirit than did the women; for
he was on his way to Damascus "still breathing threats and murder
against the disciples of the Lord" (Acts 9:1), while the women came in
loving grief and devotion. The angel revealed the Resurrection to them,
drawing them beyond dread into joy, showing them "the place where the
Lord lay" (28:6), (in the now empty tomb), and directing them to "go
quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead" (Mt.
28:7). Read the report of Saul's conversion while "on his way," and see
that, when at last he knew the Lord Jesus, he responded, like the women,
in submission and obedience: "So he trembling and astonished, said,
'Lord, what do You want me to do?'" (Acts 9:6). He was transformed to
serve as Paul the Apostle.

As one reads this concluding passage of St. Matthew's Gospel, many
facets of the Resurrection appear. The Evangelist reveals an active,
risen Lord that we too may rejoice, come to the Savior, hold Him by the
feet, worship Him, and obey Him. All who meet the risen Christ become
His servants, and the end-point is always the same - obedience. The
power of the Resurrection, dawning upon hearts and souls, evokes the
desire to obey.

To Saul of Tarsus, the command was to "go into the city (of Damascus)
and you will be told what you must do" (Acts 9:6). To the women, a
single, basic command came twice - from the angel and then from the Lord
Himself - "Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they
will see Me" (Mt. 28:10, but also see vs. 7). Saul obeyed and became a
"chosen vessel of [Christ] to bear [His] Name before Gentiles, kings,
and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). The women obeyed, and the news
they carried led "the eleven disciples [to go] away into Galilee, to the
mountain which Jesus had appointed for them" (Mt. 28:16).

The dynamis underlying the Resurrection is passed on - transmitted to
the Church - first, by the risen Lord through those chief leaders of the
Church, the eleven of His own choosing, who met Him on the appointed
mountain. Observe: in Christ our God is vested "all
heaven and on earth" (vs. 18), which includes His unlimited power as
God. It was thus that He empowered the entire Church with the Great
Commission, starting with its Apostolic leaders.

The Great Commission has but one command, to "make disciples of all the
nations" (vs. 19). "Going, baptizing, and teaching" are assumed
activities within "discipling" (vss. 19,20). Accurately the original
reads: "Going, therefore, disciple all the nations, baptizing them in
the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching
them to observe all things that I have commanded you." The power of the
Resurrection is the Lord's command to you and me!

O Christ, continue the power of Thy Resurrection on Thy Church to
disciple the nations.


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