Monday, April 14, 2008

Daily Meditation for April 14, 2008


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.


O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 41,52; PM Psalm 44
Exod. 32:1-20; Col 3:18-4:6(7-18); Matt. 5:1-10

From Forward Day by Day:

Matthew 5:1-10. Blessed are the poor in spirit.

The New English Bible translates "poor in spirit" as "those who know their need of God." In our culture that relentlessly promotes self-reliance, it is dangerously difficult for us to know our need of God.

The French philosopher and mystic Simone Weil pointed out (in Europe, in the abundance of industrialized nations) that people were in danger of spiritual starvation not because there was no bread, but because they thought they were not hungry. There is perhaps no illusion so pernicious-or so prevalent-as one that assures us we are not hungry, that we have no need of God.

Out of their wealth and their weariness of waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain, and their need for a tame and undemanding god, the rebellious Israelites fashioned an idol in the shape of a golden calf, and worshiped it.

We too tend to be more comfortable with a religion based on a god we have invented and can control: our wealth, national security, sense of importance.

The poor have less chance to delude and defend themselves with things; they are more likely than the rich to know their need of God. Blessed are they, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Other reflection's on the day's Scripture:

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Cape Coast (West Africa)

Prayers for Easter Season:

God our Father,
may we look forward with hope
to our resurrection,
for you have made us your sons and daughters,
and restored the joy of our youth.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Praying for those attending General Convention, 2009:

Speaking to the Soul:

Distinct value

Daily Reading for April 14

It’s quite all right to be a sheep, so long as we pay attention and hear the shepherd’s voice. The essential, crucial point is this: the good shepherd knows the sheep. This is not just a matter of a head count; each is of distinct value.

I yearn to be known, and at the same time I fear it. Most of the time, we let ourselves be known by bits and pieces, and we know others in the same way. My husband of nearly half a century thinks that he knows me, my children are sure they have me figured out, my colleagues and students and friends also would claim that they know me. Foolishly, I think I know myself. Even as I want to be known, I want to be known on my own terms—a carefully constructed and edited version, not as a sheep who gets lost, falls off cliffs, and gets hung up in the brambles. Certainly not as a sheep who can’t find her own way.

To be known, fully known, is not possible in our human relationships, but it is the foundation of our relationship with Christ. To be known, fully known, is both painful and profoundly comforting. It is to accept the humble status of sheep, to let the masks and defenses drop away, and to let ourselves be carried on the shepherd’s shoulders and occasionally poked by his staff. It means sometimes to be thwarted—the edge of that cliff doesn’t look too dangerous, and I wasn’t going to wander very far, honest!— and sometimes to be shut in a pen. It means to listen for the shepherd’s voice and to rejoice that he knows which one I am, in this great, blundering, well-intentioned, sheepish flock.

From “Sheep” in Just Passing Through: Notes from a Sojourner by Margaret Guenther. Copyright © 2007. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.

Spiritual Practice of the Day

I've learned how to not be broken from life's unwanted things by watching a willow in the wild wind tossing and bending rather than pushing back against the storm. It's taught me that I can't always have everything go my way. Sometimes I need to bend a bit.
— Joyce Rupp in The Cosmic Dance

To Practice This Thought: Find a teacher in nature.
++++++++++ Reflections

It used to help me to look at a field, or water, or flowers. These reminded me of the Creator … they awakened me, helped me to recollect myself and thus served as a book.
St Teresa of Jesus
Life, 9.5

Reading from the Desert Christians


If you are praised, be silent. If you are scolded, be silent. If
you incur losses, be silent. If you receive profit, be silent. If
you are satiated, be silent. If you are hungry, also be silent.
And do not be afraid that there will be no fruit when all dies
down; there will be! Not everything will die down. Energy will
appear; and what energy!

St. Feofil, the Fool for Christ

Daily Meditation from

Meditation for Day 14

Every curse becomes a blessing
to the people of God's choosing.
He who spoke it shall perform it.
He shall bring on us the blessing,
though the enemy may fight.
My Jesus has done all things

In the dry and desert places
Jesus is our souls' oasis.
He will give us of His plenty,
fill the vessels once so empty,
pour His waters on the ground,
living waters gushing round.
See the land so black and barren;
God will make a watered garden:
fruitfulness where once
was parchedness,
light to break into the darkness,
upper springs
and nether springs
in the field
that Father's given.

Satan tries, but cannot block it,
powers of Hell could never stop it.
Darkness flees as light is given.
God establishes His heaven
in our hearts, and in this place
shows the radiance of His face.
Reflections on Judges 1:14-15;
Numbers 24:1-10; Psalm 26:3-4

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Laying Down Your Life for Your Friends

Good Shepherds are willing to lay down their lives for their sheep (see John 10:11). As spiritual leaders walking in the footsteps of Jesus, we are called to lay down our lives for our people. This laying down might in special circumstances mean dying for others. But it means first of all making our own lives - our sorrows and joys, our despair and hope, our loneliness and experience of intimacy - available to others as sources of new life.

One of the greatest gifts we can give others is ourselves. We offer consolation and comfort, especially in moments of crisis, when we say: "Do not be afraid, I know what you are living and I am living it with you. You are not alone." Thus we become Christ-like shepherds.

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


Tertiaries seek to live in an atmosphere of praise and prayer. We aim to be constantly aware of God's presence, so that we may indeed pray without ceasing. Our ever deepening devotion to the indwelling Christ is a source of strength and joy. It is Christ's love that inspires us to service, and strengthens us for sacrifice.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Making Room
April 14th, 2008
Monday’s Reflection

HOW CAN I MAKE ROOM in my life for the things that really matter? This question plagues most adults in the developed world. We have so many things, so many activities, so many opportunities, and so many responsibilities. Is it possible to find a place for God in our busy lives? Many have answered the question with a resounding no. Others have answered by filling every moment of every day with activity until there is no time even to think about God. Others yearn to find that sacred space and time but just don’t know how or where to look.

- Rueben P. Job
A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

From pp. 341-342 of A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God by Norman Shawchuck and Rueben P. Job. Copyright © 2003 by the authors. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection


Question of the day:
How would the Third Way help me?

We are slowly discovering what many of us are calling "the Third Way," neither flight nor fight, but the way of compassionate knowing.

Both the way of fight and the way of flight fall short of wisdom, although they look like answers in the heat of the moment. When it's an either/or world you have no ability to transcend, to hold together, to be creative.

from Hope Against Darkness


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

The beginning of a new life

Because it revolves in cycles and never comes to an end, the year is a symbol of eternity. Christ, the sacrifice that was offered for us, is the father of the world to come. He puts an end to our former life, and through the regenerating waters of baptism in which we imitate his death and resurrection, he gives us the beginning of a new life.

The knowledge that Christ is the passover lamb who was sacrificed for us should make us regard the moment of his immolation as the beginning of our own lives. As far as we are concerned, Christ's immolation on our behalf takes place when we become aware of his grace and understand the life conferred on us by this sacrifice. Having once understood it, we should enter upon this new life with all eagerness and never return to the old one, which is now at an end. As scripture says: We have died to sin—how then can we continue to live in it?

John Chrysostom

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


"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me." Matthew 11:29

"Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth." How petty our complaining is! Our Lord begins to bring us into the place where we can have communion with Him, and we groan and say - "O Lord, let me be like other people!" Jesus is asking us to take one end of the yoke - "My yoke is easy, get alongside Me and we will pull together." Are you identified with the Lord Jesus like that? If so, you will thank God for the pressure of His hand.

"To them that have no might He increaseth strength." God comes and takes us out of our sentimentality, and our complaining turns into a pæan of praise. The only way to know the strength of God is to take the yoke of Jesus upon us and learn of Him.

"The joy of the Lord is your strength." Where do the saints get their joy from? If we did not know some saints, we would say - "Oh, he, or she, has nothing to bear." Lift the veil. The fact that the peace and the light and the joy of God are there is proof that the burden is there too. The burden God places squeezes the grapes and out comes the wine; most of us see the wine only. No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of God in a human spirit, it is an inner unconquerableness.

If you have the whine in you, kick it out ruthlessly. It is a positive crime to be weak in God's strength.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

April 14, August 14, December 14
Chapter 60: On Priests Who May Wish to Live in the Monastery

If any ordained priest
should ask to be received into the monastery,
permission shall not be granted too readily.
But if he is quite persistent in his request,
let him know
that he will have to observe the whole discipline of the Rule
and that nothing will be relaxed in his favor,
that it may be as it is written:
"Friend, for what have you come (Matt. 26:50)?"

It shall be granted him, however, to stand next after the Abbot
and to give blessings and to celebrate Mass,
but only by order of the Abbot.
Without such order let him not make any exceptions for himself,
knowing that he is subject to the discipline of the Rule;
but rather let him give an example of humility to all.

If there happens to be question of an appointment
or of some business in the monastery,
let him expect the rank due him
according to the date of his entrance into the monastery,
and not the place granted him
out of reverence for the priesthood.

If any clerics, moved by the same desire,
should wish to join the monastery,
let them be placed in a middle rank.
But they too are to be admitted only if they promise
observance of the Rule and stability.

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

Genesis 27:1-42 (4/14) 1st Reading at Vespers, Mon. of the
6th Week of the Great Fast

Spiritual Growth: Genesis 27:1-42, especially vs. 28: "And may God give
thee of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and
abundance of corn and wine." In this last week of the Great Fast, the
Genesis readings focus on Abraham's grandson, Jacob, the younger of
fraternal twins begotten to Abraham's son Isaac and his wife Rebekah
(Gen. 25:21-23). In personality these twins were very different: the
Holy Fathers perceived Esau, the elder, having a tendency to sensual
wickedness, but in Jacob they found a man growing in relationship with
God. The two men provide rich insight into growth in the Spirit: Esau
teaches us to "trample down all carnal desires,"1 and Jacob reveals how
to "enter upon a spiritual manner of living,"2 and to "complete the
remaining time of our life in peace and repentance."3

Reading the present lesson in isolation from the entire history of Jacob
and Esau, one might well conclude that a gross injustice was worked
against Esau because of the plot of Rebekah and Jacob. The Holy
Fathers, however, read this passage in the context of all the historical
evidence concerning the two. Hence, Origen observed that "the plot of
Esau against Jacob has its apparent occasion in taking away the
blessing. But before this, Esau's soul had 'roots' of his being immoral
and irreligious."4 Evidence for this assertion of Origen appears in
today's reading. Esau brooded angrily, and finally decided upon murder
(Gen. 27:41,42).

The Apostle Paul, referring to Esau, warns the Faithful to look
"carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of
bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
lest there be any...profane person like Esau" (Heb. 12:15,16). After
all, our Lord requires us to "trample down all carnal desires." And the
Apostle adds: "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil
speaking be put away from you, with all malice" (Eph. 4:31).

The Holy Fathers, reflecting on the plot of Rebekah and Jacob, found a
type of spiritual growth. Just as Esau and Jacob came from the single
womb of Rebekah, so also both evil and good come from the same source -
our souls. Hence St. Ambrose teaches that, like Rebekah, we should
repudiate the evil offspring of our hearts and see that "...goodness is
fostered and strengthened."5 Similarly, two prayers in the Liturgy are
like these fraternal twins: in one we pray that we may "trample down all
carnal desires," and positively, in the other, we are to seek growth in
God the Holy Spirit by "entering upon a spiritual manner of living."
Let us pursue the virtues actively, then, as Nikitas Stithatos says, we
shall be "in [God's] likeness if we possess virtue and understanding;
for His virtue covered the heavens" (see Hab. 3:3).6

There is a two-sided effort required for spiritual growth: to rid
ourselves of the sinful passions, and to make the virtues our own. In
the Great Canon, St. Andrew of Crete teaches us to speak to ourselves:
"O my soul, you have given away the birthright and lost your Father's
blessing, and in your wretchedness been twice supplanted in action and
knowledge."7 We can easily give away the likeness of God impressed upon
us; yet, through God's grace received in the Holy Mysteries of
Confession and Communion, we may regain that inestimable treasure.

Again, we lose the heritage of our Heavenly Father by our sins: thus,
St. Andrew says, "Therefore, repent now."8 Let us "spend the remaining
time of our life in peace and repentance,"9 and be restored to our
original and intended state. After the blessing was gone, Esau came
pleading because he wanted to inherit the blessing; but he was
rejected. As the Apostle teaches, he "found no place for repentance
though he sought it diligently with tears" (Heb. 12:17). However, in
Christ, genuine repentance, the cleansing of our sins, and restoration
to God are possible again.

O Lord, accept the dust of our repentance, and grant us the heaven of
Thy grace.


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