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Posts Tagged ‘Phyllis Tickle’


 Sirach 36:18-27: Choosing Associates

Sunday, October 20, 2019

He calls from the heavens and the earth from above to witness the judgment of his people.  “Gather before me my loyal followers, those who have made a covenant with me and sealed it with sacrifice”.  Let the heavens declare the righteous cause; for God himself is judge.  Psalm 50:4-6

The mark of a solid associate is one who will sacrifice self in order to seal the covenant promise with God.  We are not called to submit to abuse, but rather . . . to witness to that which is indifferent, self-serving, deceitful.  We are asked to build bridges to one another, to be open to one another, to form community with one another in trust, fidelity and prudent stewardship of ourselves and our resources.  To do this well, it is best to choose associates who are open, worthy of trust, and who witness to the values brought to us by Jesus in his Gospel story.  At the same time as we gather those around us who think in like manner, we are also called to be open to the possibility that redemption and salvation nearly always comes through sacrifice, through suffering – particularly when this pain is offered for the conversion of those who have harmed us.

The Prayer Appointed for the Week from THE DIVINE HOURS: PRAYERS FOR SUMMERTIME by Phyllis Tickle is useful as night falls and we turn toward home.  Grant me, O Lord, to trust in you with all my heart; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Trusting in God to speak to us in the hushed depths of our hearts empowers us to wait in quiet and in patience until God speaks the words we must hear.  We also know that Sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart.  There is no fear before God in his eyes.  He so flatters himself in his mind that he knows not his guilt.  In his mouth are mischief and deceit.  All wisdom is gone.  He plots the defeat of goodness as he lies on his bed.  He has set his foot on evil ways, he clings to what is evil.  Your love, Lord, reached to heaven; your truth to the skies.  Your justice is like is like God’s mountain, your judgment like the deep.  (Psalm 36). 

When we find ourselves in deep water, it is best to become a diver . . .

Whether we are the sinner or the victim, God knows the path to our heart.  Whether we are betrayer or betrayed, God knows the words that will call us home.  When we find ourselves in deep water, it is best to become a diver . . . to explore our own depths, calling on God to reveal his truth to us in a way that we can take it in.

I believe that many of us shrink from our deepest consciousness and that this is evidenced in our addictions to too much television, too much internet, too much food, too much narcissism.  So often I hear the phrase, “I just don’t want to go there”.  But no matter how much we avoid our own path of conversion, God will seek us out.  Jesus ben Sirach instructs us that a deceitful character causes grief, but an experienced man may turn the tables on him.  For my part, when confronted with deceit, I find it best to rely on God’s judgment and wisdom . . . he has far more experience than I.  On God’s wisdom I wait.  For God’s patience I pray.  In God’s love I trust.  Amen.


Written on September 07, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Images from: https://me.me/i/hold-onto-good-friends-they-are-fe-w-and-far-4085896 and http://www.eagle-divers.com/scuba-news/item/is-there-a-best-time-to-visit-the-red-sea-for-diving

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Sirach 4:20-31: Lest the Stones Cry Out

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A re-post from April 2019 . . .

Refrain not from speaking at the proper time . . .

A verse from the Luke reading (19:40) in the Morning Prayer (Phyllis Tickle’s DIVINE HOURS: Prayers for Springtime, 326) leapt out at me as I read this morning.  Jesus’ followers have welcomed him into Jerusalem with palms, praise and high jubilation.  They know that one has come who has freed them from a bondage they are weary of carrying.  In subsequent verses Jesus will cleanse the Temple area of moneychangers and his authority will be challenged by the church leadership.  Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, knowing that she rejects the peace he brings.  The people cry out: Blessed is he who is coming as King in the name of the Lord!  Some Pharisees rebuke him saying, “Master, reprove your disciples”.  Jesus replies: I tell you, if these keep silence, the stones will cry out.  This is the same message we hear in today’s Noontime. We are reminded that discipleship is not for the weak or unwilling.

In capsule form, here is what Jesus Ben Sirach tells us today in this brief citation.

Guard yourself against evil.

Show no favoritism.

Let no one intimidate you.

Speak at the proper time.

Bring your wisdom into the light.

Tell the truth always and even fight for the truth . . . even to the death.

Go with the flow when it is clear that the opposition is overwhelming . . . let God be in charge.

Throw no pearls before swine . . . even when the swine are the power structure.

Keep you speech pleasant, not surly; wisdom becomes known through speech.

Refrain from laziness; do your work.

Be gentle at home and honest at work.

Stay away from conspiracy theories . . . especially in the workplace.

Give generously.

Receive graciously.

Take only what is your due.

Today is Holy Monday and as we begin our preparation for the great gift of light, and life and peace which Jesus bring to us with his suffering, death and resurrection; we are called to examine the role we take in this drama that plays out before us daily.  When we look at these elements from Sirach above, we discover an apt description of the life of one who follows Christ.  In it we see the same message Christ speaks to the crowd that has gathered at the Temple: Christians must speak out at the proper time.  Christians must be the justice they wish to receive.  Christians must enact the sincerity they wish to find.  And they must speak at the proper time . . . lest the very stones cry out in the silence.

Our question for today is this . . . Are we willing to break the deafening silence of injustice and deceit?


For a Lenten reflection on the goodness of silence, click on the image above or go to: http://ypguybrit.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/lent-the-discipline-of-silence/

Tickle, Phyllis.  THE DIVINE HOURS: PRAYERS FOR SPRINGTIME. New York: Doubleday, 2001. Print.

Image from: http://ypguybrit.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/lent-the-discipline-of-silence/

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Judges 9: Abimelech

James Tissot: Abimelech Slays his Seventy Brothers

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

“The fable, one of two examples of that genre in the Bible (see also 2 Kings 14:9; 2 Chronicles 25:18), is strongly antimonarchical.  It illustrates both the folly of kingship (only the worst and least qualified aspire to it) and its dangers (it destroys those who place their reliance on it).  The bramble offers scant shade but is a prime cause of fire (v. 15).  A monarchy founded on murder can come to no good and inevitably will destroy those who support it.  Jotham’s call for the mutual destruction of Abimelech and the Shechemite leaders (v. 20) anticipates their fate”.  (Mays 232)

The Old Testament is full of brutal stories and in nearly all of them – if we can be patient and read far enough – we watch the antagonist implode on him or herself.  In God’s plan and in God’s way the faithful will always be vindicated.  Suffering will take place, violence will happen, but a remnant will remain and goodness will always rise from evil.  Our task is to keep our eyes on Christ who will lead us home.  Our work is to live in the Spirit, for in the Spirit we will struggle, but we will never fail.

James Tissot: Jotham is Saved

This week in Phyllis Tickle’s THE DIVINE HOURS: Prayers for Springtime, this is the prayer we read three times a day.  It is apt for today’s Noontime as we ask God to keep us safe from harm in our brutal and confusing world.  She writes in the first person singular, but when we change to the plural, we might pray it together. (Tickle 599)

Almighty and merciful God, in your goodness keep us, we pray, from all things that may hurt us, that we, being ready both in mind and body, may accomplish with a free heart those things which belong to your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who live and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.  

Tickle, Phyllis.  THE DIVINE HOURS: PRAYERS FOR SPRINGTIME. New York: Doubleday, 2001. Print.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 232. Print.

A Noontime from May 17, 2011.

 

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

6508036-md[1]Luke 2:8-12

Keeping the Night Watch

Now there were shepherds in that region, living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.

We become so weary with the daily earning of our bread that we are too exhausted to keep the night watch.  Our blessing is that the Good Shepherd never flags and he endures when we falter.  And this Good Shepherd who keeps a constant watch will awaken us so that we might rise to hear the words of Good News that bring healing, peace and light to the world.

Murillo: Adoration of the Shepherds

Murillo: Adoration of the Shepherds

God says: Do not stretch yourselves beyond your strength.  Rely on me for power that is eternal.  Do not ask too much of your mind.  Ask me for wisdom that has always been and always will be.  Do not tax your spirit more than it can endure.  Call on my Spirit to dwell in you and to bring you peace. If you are able, keep the Night Watch with me.  When darkness falls and you have lost your way, settle into the night with the sheep you are tending . . . and know that I am with you.  If you are too tired to stay awake, ask for my help . . . and I will keep the Watch.  And I will awaken you with the Good News that you will want to share with others.

When we spend energy that we do not have we endanger not only the body and mind but the soul as well.  When we find that we falter and cannot stand, we need only call on the one who always endures.

For beautiful prayers at night that strengthen the body, mind and soul when we find ourselves wakeful and uneasy, dip into Phyllis Tickle’s NIGHT OFFICES: PRAYERS FOR THE HOURS FROM SUNSET TO SUNRISE, Oxford University Press, 2006.  

For a Goodreads review, go to: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/613100.The_Night_Offices

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