Tag Archives: Gospel

Day 5–February 23

Mark in Forty Days

This year I am reading through the Gospel of Mark during the forty days of Lent. My suggested plan is that you do these readings in Lectio Divina  format.

Today’s reading

Mark 2:18-28

Prayer Thought

Lord help me to seperate mere rules from the essence of loving and serving. Make me a person who sees, knows and does your perfect will.

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Day 3–February 20

Mark in Forty Days

This year I am reading through the Gospel of Mark during the forty days of Lent. My suggested plan is that you do these reading in Lectio Divina  format.

Today’s reading

Mark 1:35-45

Prayer Thought

Lord help me to find that quiet place today. So that I may encounter you in an amazing way.  Amen

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Day 1–February 18

Mark in Forty Days

This year I am reading through the Gospel of Mark during the forty days of Lent. My suggested plan is that you do these reading in Lectio Divina  format.

Today’s reading

Mark 1:1-13

Prayer Thought

Lord help me to hear the messengers that you send my way. May I have the courage to isolate myself to wait for your word.  Amen

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Prayer of a Soul Taken with Love

Lord God, my Beloved, if you still remember my sins in such a way that you do not do what I beg of you, do your will concerning them, my God, which is what I most desire, and exercise your goodness and mercy, and you will be known St. john of the Crossthrough them. And if you are waiting for my good works so as to hear my prayer through their means, grant them to me, and work them for me, and the sufferings you desire to accept, and let it be done. But if you are not waiting for my works, what is it that makes you wait, my most clement Lord? Why do you delay? For if, after all, I am to receive the grace and mercy that I entreat of you in your Son, take my mite, since you desire it, and grant me this blessing, since you also desire that. Who can free themselves from lowly manners and limitations if you do not lift them to yourself, my God, in purity of love? How will human beings begotten and nurtured in lowliness rise up to you, Lord, if you do not raise them with your hand that made them? You will not take from me, my God, what you once gave me in your only Son, Jesus Christ, in whom you gave me all I desire. Hence I rejoice that if I wait for you, you will not delay. With what procrastinations do you wait, since from this very moment you can love God in your heart? Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me. What do you ask, then, and seek, my soul? Yours is all of this, and all is for you. Do not engage yourself in something less or pay heed to the crumbs that fall from your Father’s table. Go forth and exult in your Glory! Hide yourself in it and rejoice, and you will obtain the supplications of your heart.

——John of the Cross

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The Great Turning

Contemplation is no fantasy, make-believe, or daydream, but the flowering of patience and steady perseverance. There is a deep relationship between the inner revolution of true prayer and the transformation of social structures and social consciousness. Our hope lies in the fact that meditation is going to change the society that we live in, just as it has changed us. It is that kind of long-term thinking that God seems to be involved in and kindly invites us into the same patient process.

I know the situation in the world can seem quite dark today. The negative forces are very strong, and the progressive development of consciousness and love sometimes feels very weak. But the Great Turning is indeed happening, as people like Joanna Macy, David Korten, Byron Katie, and Thomas Berry believe and describe.

In his Letter to the Romans, Paul has a marvelous line: “Where sin increases, grace abounds all the more” (5:20). In so many places, there are signs of the Holy Spirit working at all levels of society, almost in tandem with the emergence of unbelievable violence, fear, and hatred all over the world.

Carl Jung

Carl Jung from Getty Images

It seems to me that true progress, or the hope that we have, is not naively optimistic, a straight line, or without regression. Spiritual progress, ironically, develops through tragedy and through falling. As C. G. Jung said, “Where we stumble and fall is where we find pure gold,” the gold of the Gospels, the hidden gold of our own souls, and then the beautiful soul of the whole creation.

——Richard Rhor

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Joy of Work

There was in the Cells an old man called Apollo.  If someone came to find him about doing a piece of work, he would set out joyfully, saying, ‘I am going to work with Christ today, for the salvation of my soul, for that is the reward he gives.’

—-sayings of the Desert

Our world could be turned upside down if we would really take the words of this monk to heart. Finding joy and salvation in our work make the work worth doing, and worth doing well. The whole concept of working for Christ when we are doing the tasks of the day allows us to see our days through a new lens that gives us joy and meaning beyond our imagination. We must ask ourselves, what would it take for me to see my work as salvation for my soul?

children at workDefinitely it places a new perspective of what it means to work and serve. For most of us, work is a means to an end. The monk leads us to believe work is our end, and we will be incredibly rewarded for doing the tasks of the day. Implicitly, we are being told that God sends our work to us as a means of worship. Imagine the difference it could make in your life if you saw your work as an act of worship and a means of grace.

Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

—-Jesus of Nazareth

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Kingdom of God

St John Baptist. Stained glass window, Chateau...

  • Jesus’ public life begins with His baptism at the hands John the Baptist.
  • Although sinless, Jesus chooses to identify Himself with the repentant sinners who flocked to baptism.
  • Before embarking upon His ministry, Jesus withdraws to the desert for a 40-day period of fasting.
  • The coming of God’s Kingdom means the destruction of the devil’s dominion over this world.
  • Jesus now goes forth to preach the “good news” of the coming of the Kingdom.
  • Jesus backed up His words with mighty miracles that inspired belief in Him.
  • Jesus gathers people to Himself, and this is the begining of the Kingdom of God.
  • Jesus emphasizes that everyone is called to enter the Kingdom. He reaches out to the poor, the marginalized and sinners.
  • In a very special way, the Kingdom belongs to the poor, lowly, humble of heart, those who know that they need God.
  • Jesus often illustrated His teaching by means of parables,and these stories call us to radical discipleship.

Live Your Faith

Rather than viewing the Gospels strictly as mini-biographies of Jesus, we should instead use our imagination to put ourselves into the stories.

Which people resonate the most with me? What would it be like to watch Jesus preach or perform a miracle?

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Wesley and Communion

Institution of the Eucharist

Institution of the Eucharist

John Wesley was a high church Anglican, when it came to the sacrament of Holy Communion. He very much believed in constant communion. He writes in a sermon of the same name.

I say constantly receiving; for as to the phrase of frequent communion, it is absurd to the last degree. If it means anything less than constant, it means more than can be proved to be the duty of any man. For if we are not obliged to communicate constantly, by what argument can it be proved that we are obliged to communicate frequently? Yea, more than once a year, or once in seven years, or once before we die? Every argument brought for this, either proves that we ought to do it constantly, or proves nothing at all. Therefore, that indeterminate, unmeaning way of speaking ought to be laid aside by all men of understanding.

—–John Wesley

Wesley received communion several times a week. He believed that it was commanded by Christ, and that the benefits (forgiveness, grace, assurance) of receiving communion should motivate one to commune constantly.

Wesley asserted that a Christian should study the passages in the Gospels and in 1 Corinthians 11  to come to a better understanding of the sacrament. He did not believe that Paul’s reference to “eating and drinking unworthily” referred to a lack of understanding of the meaning of the sacrament, but rather referred to celebrating in an unworthy manner in selfishness, and in a divisive ecclesial spirit. Infrequent communion also constituted eating and drinking unworthily.

Wesley never addressed the issue of whether an unbaptized person could receive communion, but given his context, he probably assumed that baptism was a prerequisite for coming to the Lord’s Table. He did, however, state that someone who is “earnestly seeking” may come to the table and find the grace they need. On occasion, Wesley did exclude some from receiving the Eucharist for various reasons. His understanding of open table was not a blanket invitation to everyone. Sinners must be earnestly seeking the grace of God, and in most cases one must be a member of a Methodist society. Soul-searching and prayer were important prerequisites, although Wesley did not exclude someone if daily events did not give time for such preparation. It was Wesley’s ecclesiological-oriented understanding of the sacrament that led him in this direction. It was the influence of the private religion in America on Methodism in the nineteenth century that led to open table as one of general invitation to all no matter what (J. Fitzgerald, in the Wesleyan Theological Journal, pp. 141-142, Spring 2007).

Wesley rejected with strong words the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, but as in baptism, he understood the sacrament as an actual means of the grace of God.

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