April 11

Psalm 103:1-13

Micah 7:18

Matthew 18:21-22

 

Forgiveness

 

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To forgive somebody is to say, one way or another, “You have done something unspeakable, and by all rights I should call it quits between us. Both my pride and my principles demand no less. However, though I make no guarantee that I will be able to forget what you have done, and though we may both carry scars for life, I refuse to let it stand between us. I still want you for my friend.”

To accept forgiveness means to admit that you have done something unspeakable that needs to be forgiven, and thus both parties must swallow the same thing: their pride.

This seems to explain what Jesus means when he says to God, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Jesus is not saying that God’s forgiveness is conditional upon our forgiving others. In the first place, forgiveness that’s conditional isn’t really forgiveness at all, just fair warning; and in the second place, our un-forgiving-ness is among those things about us which we need to have God forgive us most.  What Jesus is apparently saying is that pride which keeps us from forgiving is the same pride which keeps us from accepting forgiveness, and will God please help us do something about it.

When somebody you’ve wronged forgives you, you are spared the dull and self-diminishing throb of a guilty conscience.

When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you’re spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride.

For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each other’s presence.

 

Lectio Divina

1. Read – Read the text (usually short, 2-4 verses, but could be longer). Read it slowly, looking for a word or phrase that stands out to you.

2. Reflect – Read a second time, meditating on the word or phrase and what it is saying to you. This is not a time to “study” the text, or look for meaning outside of what it means for you at that moment. How is God nudging you? Who are you in the text? How have you been moved or convicted by it?

3. Respond – Once you have ruminated and processed whatever meaning it had for you, respond in prayer. It may be thanksgiving, or in confession, or petition etc.

4. Rest – Sit in silence with God. Let go. Empty yourself of all your busy thoughts and allow God to love you just as you are in that moment.

April 10

Psalm 138:3

Isaiah 6:5-7

Romans 8:18-25

 

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His thoughts said:

I am not what I meant to be, or what others think I am.

His Father said:

It is written, “He restores my soul. The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.”

Let some word of Mine restore you. Did you think you had a Father who did not know that His child would need to be restored?  I will restore health to you: I will heal you of your wounds. I will restore comfort to you. I will restore to you the joy of My salvation. I will renew a right spirit within you. I will not cast you away from My Presence. Child of My love, trust your Father.  If the Spirit speaks some word in your heart, obey that word.  And, before you were even aware of it you will know that you are restored.

By Amy Carmichael

Going deeper in God always involves knowing yourself, including your own sinfulness.  That doesn’t mean we should be stuck there, we need to look for breakthroughs, keys to unlock areas of persistent defeat.

 

Lectio Divina

1. Read – Read the text (usually short, 2-4 verses, but could be longer). Read it slowly, looking for a word or phrase that stands out to you.

2. Reflect – Read a second time, meditating on the word or phrase and what it is saying to you. This is not a time to “study” the text, or look for meaning outside of what it means for you at that moment. How is God nudging you? Who are you in the text? How have you been moved or convicted by it?

3. Respond – Once you have ruminated and processed whatever meaning it had for you, respond in prayer. It may be thanksgiving, or in confession, or petition etc.

4. Rest – Sit in silence with God. Let go. Empty yourself of all your busy thoughts and allow God to love you just as you are in that moment.

April 9

Psalm 8:4, 6-9

2 Samuel 5:22-24

Romans 8:19-21

 

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Life is simple. We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through it all the time. This not just a fable or a nice story. It is true. If we abandon ourselves to God and forget ourselves, we see it sometimes, and we see it maybe frequently. God shows Himself everywhere, in everything – in people and in things and in nature and in events. It becomes very obvious that God is everywhere and in everything and we cannot be without Him. It’s impossible. The only thing is that we don’t see it.

Thomas Merton

 

Lectio Divina

1. Read – Read the text (usually short, 2-4 verses, but could be longer). Read it slowly, looking for a word or phrase that stands out to you.

2. Reflect – Read a second time, meditating on the word or phrase and what it is saying to you. This is not a time to “study” the text, or look for meaning outside of what it means for you at that moment. How is God nudging you? Who are you in the text? How have you been moved or convicted by it?

3. Respond – Once you have ruminated and processed whatever meaning it had for you, respond in prayer. It may be thanksgiving, or in confession, or petition etc.

4. Rest – Sit in silence with God. Let go. Empty yourself of all your busy thoughts and allow God to love you just as you are in that moment.

April 8

Psalm 29:3-8

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Revelation 19:16

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In Highland tradition, God is regarded both in Himself and in His Three Persons as a Chief and Ard Righ, with personal ties to His people. It is after the manner of a chieftain, of a hero, or of a prince of royal feasting – a link with the world of the saga in the heaven of the nobles, and a more full version of the Agape of the Son of God. There is an immanence here, quite without parallel in English Christianity:

Chief of the mountain and Chief of the plain,

Chief of the river and Chief of the main,

Chief of the sunlight, the rainbow, the rain:

Oh my Chief, hear my prayer.

Chief of the fishes and Chief of the herds,

Chief of the creatures and Chief of the birds,

Chief of the singing, the echoes, the words:

Oh my Chief, grant Thy care.

Chief of the island and Chief of the land,

Chief of the highland and Chief of the strand,

Chief of the Skyland and Chief of the sand:

Oh my Chief, everywhere.

Chief of the planet and Chief of the height,

Chief of the moon, mottled star-Chief of might,

Chief of the morning and glittering light;

Oh my Chief, jeweled fair.

 

Lectio Divina

1. Read – Read the text (usually short, 2-4 verses, but could be longer). Read it slowly, looking for a word or phrase that stands out to you.

2. Reflect – Read a second time, meditating on the word or phrase and what it is saying to you. This is not a time to “study” the text, or look for meaning outside of what it means for you at that moment. How is God nudging you? Who are you in the text? How have you been moved or convicted by it?

3. Respond – Once you have ruminated and processed whatever meaning it had for you, respond in prayer. It may be thanksgiving, or in confession, or petition etc.

4. Rest – Sit in silence with God. Let go. Empty yourself of all your busy thoughts and allow God to love you just as you are in that moment.

April 7

Psalm 130:2-3

2 Samuel 12:5-7A

Romans 12:3

 

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One of the questions in Ignatian spiritual exercises asks,

What would I say to someone else in circumstances like my own?

What counsel would I give them?

It is very easy for us to be hard on another person, even judgmental in our own reactions, but make allowances when we are the offender.

David is very cross with the man Nathan tells him about, and only then can Nathan turn round and say: The man is you!

We should not think to highly of ourselves – we’re only are as high as we are at our lowest moment, except perhaps by the grace of God which lifts us from the miry clay.

Some people have the opposite problem and can be far more generous and forgiving toward other people, but will never have a good thought or word for themselves.

Let the love of God be reflected in your love for yourself and others. With God in the equation our potential is good and limitless.

The Northumbrian Community

 

Lectio Divina

1. Read – Read the text (usually short, 2-4 verses, but could be longer). Read it slowly, looking for a word or phrase that stands out to you.

2. Reflect – Read a second time, meditating on the word or phrase and what it is saying to you. This is not a time to “study” the text, or look for meaning outside of what it means for you at that moment. How is God nudging you? Who are you in the text? How have you been moved or convicted by it?

3. Respond – Once you have ruminated and processed whatever meaning it had for you, respond in prayer. It may be thanksgiving, or in confession, or petition etc.

4. Rest – Sit in silence with God. Let go. Empty yourself of all your busy thoughts and allow God to love you just as you are in that moment.

April 6

Psalm 82:6

Genesis 3:21-24

Revelation 21:22 – 22:3

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In Franco Zeffirelli’s film Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Pope Innocent III says to Francis, “in our obsession with original sin we have forgotten original innocence.”

The Celtic understanding does not downplay or underestimate the reality of evil or the power we hand over to it through our wrong choices. But evil will never have the last word. God empowers us to recover lost innocence, shake off shame and even “original” blame, to return as it were to the Garden, naked, unashamed, not just as children but as man or woman, naming the creatures, rising up to shape the destiny of the world through our choices and noble decisions.

Calvin Miller

Being an adult involves carrying a load of responsibilities of our very own, burdens with nobody else’s name on them but ours, with each one of us bearing an unwritten biography whose chapters contain unheard of turns of fortune and unheralded feats of heroism.

Tad Dunne

 

Lectio Divina

1. Read – Read the text (usually short, 2-4 verses, but could be longer). Read it slowly, looking for a word or phrase that stands out to you.

2. Reflect – Read a second time, meditating on the word or phrase and what it is saying to you. This is not a time to “study” the text, or look for meaning outside of what it means for you at that moment. How is God nudging you? Who are you in the text? How have you been moved or convicted by it?

3. Respond – Once you have ruminated and processed whatever meaning it had for you, respond in prayer. It may be thanksgiving, or in confession, or petition etc.

4. Rest – Sit in silence with God. Let go. Empty yourself of all your busy thoughts and allow God to love you just as you are in that moment.

April 5

Psalm 61:1-5, 8

Job 23:3-6

Luke 7:7

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Lord, I have nothing;

help me to give even what I do not have.

Lord, I feel nothing;

help me not to be jealous, that You may

use me to touch others’ hearts.

Lord, I am weary;

help me to remember that You

have been weary, too.

Lord, I need refreshing;

help me to refresh others and to forget

about my own needs.

Lord, I can’t see the way ahead;

help me not to get in the way

of those who can.

Lord, I am disappointed;

help me not to bring disappoint to others.

Lord, I have no one to help me;

help me to trust in You.

Lord, I can’t see You;

yet You see me –

help me to remember that.

Lord, I am not worthy to receive You,

but only say the word and I shall be healed.

~~Hugh Barney

 

Lectio Divina

1. Read – Read the text (usually short, 2-4 verses, but could be longer). Read it slowly, looking for a word or phrase that stands out to you.

2. Reflect – Read a second time, meditating on the word or phrase and what it is saying to you. This is not a time to “study” the text, or look for meaning outside of what it means for you at that moment. How is God nudging you? Who are you in the text? How have you been moved or convicted by it?

3. Respond – Once you have ruminated and processed whatever meaning it had for you, respond in prayer. It may be thanksgiving, or in confession, or petition etc.

4. Rest – Sit in silence with God. Let go. Empty yourself of all your busy thoughts and allow God to love you just as you are in that moment.

April 4

Psalm 3:3-4

Job 38:4-13

John 1:3-5

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Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

 

I bind unto myself today

the virtues of the star lit heaven

the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,

the whiteness of the moon at even,

the flashing of the lightening free,

the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,

the stable earth, the deep salt sea,

around the eternal rocks.

 

I bind unto myself today

the power of God to hold and lead,

His eye to watch, His might to stay,

His ear to hearken to my need,

The wisdom of my God to teach,

His hand to guide, His shield to ward;

the Word of God to give me speech,

His heavenly host to be my guard.

 

Lectio Divina

1. Read – Read the text (usually short, 2-4 verses, but could be longer). Read it slowly, looking for a word or phrase that stands out to you.

2. Reflect – Read a second time, meditating on the word or phrase and what it is saying to you. This is not a time to “study” the text, or look for meaning outside of what it means for you at that moment. How is God nudging you? Who are you in the text? How have you been moved or convicted by it?

3. Respond – Once you have ruminated and processed whatever meaning it had for you, respond in prayer. It may be thanksgiving, or in confession, or petition etc.

4. Rest – Sit in silence with God. Let go. Empty yourself of all your busy thoughts and allow God to love you just as you are in that moment.

 

April 3

Psalm 87:5-7

2 Kings 4:1-6

Ephesians 5:15-21

 

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In one single quiet hour of prayer, the soul will often make more progress than in days of company with others. It is in the desert that the eye gets the clearest, simplest view of eternal certainties; it is in His presence alone, it is then that the soul gathers in wondrous refreshment and power and energy.

And so it is also in this way that we become truly useful to others. It is when coming out fresh from communion with God that we go forth to do His work successfully.

In nearness to God we get our vessels so filled with blessing – that, when we come forth, we cannot contain it to ourselves but must, as by a blessed necessity, pour it out wither-soever we go.

Horatius Bonar

 

Lectio Divina

1. Read – Read the text (usually short, 2-4 verses, but could be longer). Read it slowly, looking for a word or phrase that stands out to you.

2. Reflect – Read a second time, meditating on the word or phrase and what it is saying to you. This is not a time to “study” the text, or look for meaning outside of what it means for you at that moment. How is God nudging you? Who are you in the text? How have you been moved or convicted by it?

3. Respond – Once you have ruminated and processed whatever meaning it had for you, respond in prayer. It may be thanksgiving, or in confession, or petition etc.

4. Rest – Sit in silence with God. Let go. Empty yourself of all your busy thoughts and allow God to love you just as you are in that moment.

 

 

April 2

Psalm 119:17-24

2 Kings 6:15-17

Luke 4:1-13

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All of us use only a fraction of our brain power, to say nothing of how little we develop our five senses. Often when one sense is impaired, others become more finely-tuned. A paraplegic may manipulate a paint brush with the mouth, or a blind person develop a keen sense of hearing.

How many of us go through life with our spiritual eyes unseeing, or fast closed? And how is our spiritual hearing?  Can we distinguish the voice of the deceiver from that of the Shepherd?

O, God, Your words are my counselors. Yours is the voice I’ll listen to.

In the steep common path of our calling,

Be it easier or uneasy to our flesh,

Be it bright or dark for us to follow,

Be Thou a shield to us from the wiles

of the deceiver,

from the arch destroyer with his arrows

pursuing us,

and in each secret thought our minds

get to weave,

be Thou Thyself on our helm and at

our sheet.

From – Carmina Gadelica

 

Lectio Divina

1. Read – Read the text (usually short, 2-4 verses, but could be longer). Read it slowly, looking for a word or phrase that stands out to you.

2. Reflect – Read a second time, meditating on the word or phrase and what it is saying to you. This is not a time to “study” the text, or look for meaning outside of what it means for you at that moment. How is God nudging you? Who are you in the text? How have you been moved or convicted by it?

3. Respond – Once you have ruminated and processed whatever meaning it had for you, respond in prayer. It may be thanksgiving, or in confession, or petition etc.

4. Rest – Sit in silence with God. Let go. Empty yourself of all your busy thoughts and allow God to love you just as you are in that moment.