Friday, April 07, 2017

SPIRITUAL PRACTISES FOR LENT

SPIRITUAL PRACTISES FOR LENT

Spirituality of the Desert
To complement our sermon series in Lent, “Voices from the Desert,” each day we will post a short quote from one of the desert mothers or fathers. There will be no interpretation or explanation, but rather, we suggest that you sit in silence with the reading; reflect on it throughout the day, return to it again before day’s end.  
 
Lenten Devotion Readings:  April 9 - April 15
 
THE DIVINE MYSTERY

April 9 (Palm Sunday) – Going to Jerusalem
And God held in his hand a small globe.
Look he said.  The son looked.
Far off, as through water, he saw a scorched land of fierce colour.
The light burned there; crusted buildings cast their shadows:
a bright serpent, a river uncoiled itself, radiant with slime.
On a bare hill a bare tree saddened the sky. 
Many people held out their thin arms to it, as though waiting
for a vanished April to return to its crossed boughs.
The son watched them.
Let me go there, he said.  R.S. Thomas

April 10 – Loving the Cross
There is but one road to the kingdom of God – a cross, voluntary or involuntary.
Theophan the Recluse

April 11 – The Land of Sacrifice
The desert … is the chosen land of sacrifice … Instead of the garden of delights, the steppe; instead of leafy trees, the Cross.  Many lost himself in the earthy paradise; he redeems himself in the wilderness.  The Cross is the true of life.  A Monk

April 12 – Wholeness and Finality
Just as it is impossible to be at the same moment both a plant and a seed, so it is impossible for us to be surrounded by wordly honor and at the same time to bear heavenly fruit.  Amma Syncletica

April 13 (Maundy Thursday) – The Hour of the Garden
Nowis the hour of the garden and the night, the hour of the silent offering: therefore the hour of hope: God alone.  Faceless, unknown, unfelt, yet undeniably God.  Abbe Monchanin

April 14 (Good Friday) – The Sacrifice of God
A man questioned Amma Theodora saying, “At the resurrection of the dead, how shall we rise?” She replied, “We have Christ our God, the one who died and rose again for us, as our example and prototype.”  Amma Theodora

April 15 (Easter Vigil) – Descending into Nothingness
Hope is a gift … total, unexpected,
incomprehensible, undeserved … but to meet it,
we have to descent into nothingness.
It is the acceptance of life in the midst of death,
not because we have courage, or light, or wisdom to accept,
but because by some miracle the God of life Himself
accepts us to live, in us, at the very moment
when we descend into death.  Thomas Merton
 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

SPIRITUAL PRACTISES FOR LENT




SPIRITUAL PRACTISES FOR LENT
Spirituality of the Desert
To complement our sermon series in Lent, “Voices from the Desert,” each day we will post a short quote from one of the desert mothers or fathers. There will be no interpretation or explanation, but rather, we suggest that you sit in silence with the reading; reflect on it throughout the day, return to it again before day’s end.  
Lenten Devotion Readings:  April 2 - April8


TRANSFIGURATION

April 2 – Entering the Promised Land
The exodus from slavery to freedom takes place in the desert.  Carlo Carretto

April 3 – Being Transformed by Love
The desert in its dryness, the night in its annihilation of forms, speaks less of God’s generosity than of His transcendent affection.  It is not sufficient for you to know about this in theory.  You have to experience it and freely yield this homage to love.  A Monk

April 4 – The Desert Flower
Sometimes the landscape of my soul seems like this burnt hillside,
the wind rattling orange leaves on black twigs, the soil full of ash between the stones.
Sometimes the landscape of my soul seems like this terrible waste of dead trees.

Walking this afternoon among the charred remains I found a black stump sprouting leaves
and new grass thinly veiling a delicate oak sapling in this, the ravaged landscape of my soul.
Susan Fisher

April 5 – Encountering God
It is small advantage for eyes to see if the heart is blind.  The great world brims over with His glory, yet He may only dwell where a person chooses to give Him entrance.  Abbot Nicholas

April 6 – Sanctifying the World
The most shining demonstration of the action of grace within us is in our sympathetic awareness of our neighbor.  By grace we long to make those who are in need at home with us, as we wish to make God at home with us.  Nothing contributes so much to our growth in righteousness, to our drawing close to God, to our deification, as compassion showed to those in need.  Father Dumitru Staniloae, Romanian theologian and interpreter of St. Maximos

April 7 – Having Nothing
Just as a treasure that is exposed loses its value, so a virtue which is known vanishes; just as wax melts when it is near fire, so the soul is destroyed by praise and loses all the results of its labor.
Amma Syncletica

April 8 – Participation in God
Christians are not trying to steal something from God that God does not want them to have.  On the contrary, they are striving with their whole heart to fulfill the will of God and lay hands upon that which God created them to receive.  And, what is that?  It is nothing else but a participation in the life, and wisdom, and joy and peace of God Himself.  Thomas Merton

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SPIRITUAL PRACTISES FOR LENT

SPIRITUAL PRACTISES FOR LENT
Spirituality of the Desert
To complement our sermon series in Lent, “Voices from the Desert,” each day we will post a short quote from one of the desert mothers or fathers. There will be no interpretation or explanation, but rather, we suggest that you sit in silence with the reading; reflect on it throughout the day, return to it again before day’s end.  
 
Lenten Devotion Readings:  March 26-April 1
 
ENCOUNTER

March 26 – The Discoveries of the Desert
Yesterday, you understood a little; today, you understand better; tomorrow, you will understand better still:  the light of God is growing in you.
St. Augustine of Hippo

March 27 – Desiring God
In the beginning, there are a great many struggles and a good deal of suffering for those who are advancing toward God.  Afterward, however, there is ineffable joy.  It is like those who wish to light a fire; at first, the smoke chokes them, and they cry.  Yet by this means, they obtain what they seek, as it is said: ‘Our God is a consuming fire!’ (Heb. 12:24).  So we, too, must kindle the divine fire in ourselves through tears and hard work.  Amma Syncletica

March 28 – Discerning Jesus
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
St. Patrick

March 29 – Finding Ourselves
Try to enter the treasure chamber … that is within you and then you will discover the treasure chamber of heaven.  For they are one and the same.  If you succeed in entering one you will see both.  The ladder to this Kingdom is hidden inside you, in your soul.  Isaac the Syrian

March 30 – Loving Our Neighbor
We laughed together in the desert, we who shared neither language nor country, race nor creed; only our humanity did we share and that was enough.  Edward Edwards

March 31 – Emerging from the Shadows
If you are generous, little by little you will see the divine world emerging from the shadows.  You have been living in it unawares, the hurly=burly of the world not having allowed it to be seen.  You then in y our turn will wonderingly discover that you are never less alone than when you are alone.  A Monk

April 1 – The  Healing Power of God
Those who pray stand at that point of intersection where the love of God and the tensions and sufferings we inflict on each other meet and are held in the healing power of God.  Mother Mary Clare

Thursday, March 16, 2017

SPIRITUAL PRACTISES FOR LENT



SPIRITUAL PRACTISES FOR LENT
Spirituality of the Desert
To complement our sermon series in Lent, “Voices from the Desert,” each day we will post a short quote from one of the desert mothers or fathers. There will be no interpretation or explanation, but rather, we suggest that you sit in silence with the reading; reflect on it throughout the day, return to it again before day’s end.  
 
Lenten Devotion Readings:  March 19-25

HUMILITY

March 19 – Without Pride
Now, O son of God, set in the valley of true humility, walk in peace without pride of spirit, which, like a precipitous mountain, offers a difficult, or near-impossible, ascent or descent to those who attempt to scale it, and on its summit no building can be built. For a person who tries to climb higher than he can achieve possesses the name of sanctity without substance, because, in name alone without a structure of good works, he glories in a kind of vain joy of the mind. HILDEGARD OF BINGEN, attributed, Soul Weavings

March 20 – The Path of Love
The failure of understanding is the very track to God.  Knowledge is not stones, but a voyage; Wisdom is not words, but a childlike heart.  What stands at the forefront of the mind’s stage, matters not a wrack.  Recall rather summer’s recesses and life’s secret place.  In a niche the mustard seed will grow.
Anthony, Deacon in the Church of Ephesus

March 21 – Humility in the Desert
Just as one cannot build a ship unless one was some nails, so it is impossible to be saved without humility.
Abbess Syncletica

March 22 – God Alone is All
Be thou by nought perturbed
  Of nought afraid,
For all things pass
  Save God,
Who does not change.
Be patient, and at last
  Thou shalt of all
Fulfillment find.
  Hold God,
And nought shall fail thee,
For He alone is All.  St. Teresa of Avila

March 23 – The Will to Love
The Abbot Moses said, ‘Unless people are convinced in their own hearts that they are sinners, God does not listen to their prayers.’  Then one of the brethren said to him, ‘What does it mean, this conviction in peoples’ hearts that they are sinners?’ The old man said to him, ‘They who are conscious of their own sins have no eyes for the sins of their neighbor.’ Abbot Moses

March 24 – Resolute in Prayer
Among the seniors it used to be told how a brother asked one of the elders, ‘What is humility?’ And the elder replied, ‘Humility is a great and divine work and the road to humility is labor, bodily labor, while seeking to know oneself and to put oneself below everyone else and praying to God about everything:  this is the road to humility, but humility itself is something divine and incomprehensible.’  Abba Dorotheos of Gaza

March 25 – Giving God Everything
Before we can surrender ourselves we must become ourselves.  No one can give up what they do not possess.  Thomas Merton

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

SPIRITUAL PRACTISES FOR LENT



SPIRITUAL PRACTISES FOR LENT
Spirituality of the Desert
To complement our sermon series in Lent, “Voices from the Desert,” each day we will post a short quote from one of the desert mothers or fathers. There will be no interpretation or explanation, but rather, we suggest that you sit in silence with the reading; reflect on it throughout the day, return to it again before day’s end.  


Lenten Devotion Readings:  March 12-18
STRUGGLE

March 12 -- Confrontation
If you therefore go to the desert to be rid of all the dreadful people and all the awful problems in your life, you will be wasting your time.  You should go to the desert for a total confrontation with yourself.  For one goes to the desert to see more and to see better.  One goes to the desert especially to take a closer look at the things and people one would rather not see, to face situations one would rather avoid, to answer questions one would rather forget.  Alessandro Pronzato

March 12 – Warfare
When anyone penetrates deeper into the desert, they must take along with them faith, hope and charity.  Their minds must be well made up and they must be firmly determined to achieve their goal.  For combat will besiege them from every side.  A Desert Father

March 13 – Spirituality of Struggle
Desert spirituality is a spirituality of struggle, which is inevitable as we seek to know and to journey into ourselves, to face the demons in the depths of our personalities.  It is a struggle with the apparent absence of God and a struggle in the darkness of our own emptiness and insufficiency.  David Prail

March 15 –Patience
If you find yourself in a monastery do not go to another place, for that will harm you a great deal.  Just as the bird who abandons the eggs se was sitting on prevents them from hatchings, so the monk or nun grows cold and their faith dies, when they go from one place to another.  Amma Syncletica

March 16 – Perseverance
There was a monk, who, because of the great number of temptations said, “I will go away from here.”  As he was putting on his sandals, he saw another man who was also putting on his sandals and this other monk said to him, “Is it on my account that you are going away?  Because I go before you wherever you are going.”  Amma Theodora

March 17 – Creative Struggle
Christianity does not ask us to live in the shadow of the cross, but in the fire of its creative action.  Teilhard de Chardin

March 18 -- Fruit of the Desert
Let us strive to enter by the narrow gate. Just as the trees, if they have not stood before the winter’s storms, cannot bear fruit, so it is with us.  This present age is a storm, and it is only through many trials and temptations that we can obtain an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.”  Mother Theodora