Thursday, October 22, 2009

Meditation is about our Affections towards God

For we must always remember that the meditation has not merely to do with vague truth. We meditate, in order to come to the Personal Truth, to God. As He is Love, it is only in the act of Love that we can come to Him.

Various affections ought therefore to be elicited in meditating upon the points which are given. The Holy Spirit will develop these, if we give ourselves up to His guidance. He teaches as the things of God more truly by leading us to proper affections towards God, than by giving us clear intuitions of what God is.

Constant aspirations, and devout acknowledgments uttered throughout the time of meditation, in sweet colloquy with God, are the really important part of the meditation. Sometimes, perhaps, these find their strongest utterance in the profound silence with which the soul waits upon God. God hears when wo are silent, if our silence is the silence of Love.

Fr Richard Meux Benson

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Compose yourself to Meditate

Composure must he obtained in two ways. First and chiefly, by the habitual repose of the soul in God. We must be living in continual fellowship with God. This habitual preparation is of the utmost consequence. If we are strangers to the Life of God, we cannot put ourselves, nor expect to be drawn, into the Life of God suddenly. Watchfulness in daily life helps us to contemplate God, and the habit of looking up to Him helps us to be watchful.
Fr Richard Meux Benson

Monday, October 12, 2009



“Were not the ten cleansed? but where are the nine?”—S. Luke xvii. 17.
Picture: the grateful Samaritan at the feet of Jesus.
Resolve: to make special acts of thanksgiving daily.
  1. Consider the virtue of gratitude.
    1. Our conscience tells us that there is a peculiar barbarity about ingratitude. Even the animals can feel and express gratitude: for a man not to feel it on occasion proves gross perversion of character. And, feeling it, not to express it in thanks is wilful damaging of character. Christ permitted himself to express surprise at the ingratitude of the nine.
    2. The main impediment to gratitude is pride of independence. A man does not like to feel under obligation: he desires to feel sufficient in himself. This is false: not independence but mutual love is the Christian’s aim. This applies in spiritual matters as well as material; we should be willing to accept help from all sources.
    3. Some feel gratitude, but cannot express it in thanks. This is to be deplored. When a man is true it should be natural to express what he feels. To act in such a manner as to give a false impression is hypocrisy. And so towards God as well as also towards man. If unaccustomed to express gratitude to him, we must train ourselves by continual acts of thanksgiving.
  2. Consider that God delights to receive the expression of our gratitude.
    1. Gratitude to him is not so common as it should be. We take his gifts as a matter of course, and do not think of the giver. And often we fail in gratitude because we do not appreciate his favours, having little or no desire for spiritual gifts.
    2. Men say “He ought to have said ‘Thank you’; not that I want his thanks.” But God does want, because he loves us. It is always unkind not to reciprocate advances of friendship: love is not so common in the world that it can be despised. But how gross the ingratitude not to reciprocate the advances of God’s love to us, manifested in the bestowal of the gifts.
    3. He delights in our gratitude also because it is the evidence of the character which he desires to see in us. For the practice of this virtue produces in us cheerfulness, contentment, humility, thoughtfulness for others. It is always so—it is an aspect of God’s unity—that what he desires for himself in us is that which is also for our own good.
  3. Peculiar reasons for cultivating the virtue of gratitude.
    1. To make reparation for the great ingratitude of the world, and for our own past ingratitude. It is one of the obligations of religion to make reparation to God for the insult of the world’s neglect of him.
    2. It develops a character of great importance to the priest and the religious—a lively sense of obligation to God, a freedom of speech with him, a sense of dependence on him and on one another. Gratitude is the foundation of charity. “We love because he first loved us.”
    3. While gratitude is a state of mind, thanksgiving is an act. By making acts of thanksgiving we cultivate the corresponding state of mind. The General Thanksgiving will give us all that we need by way of subjects—providence and grace. “That due sense of all thy mercies” (Gratitude) “and that we show forth thy praise . . . by giving up ourselves to thy Service” (Thanksgiving).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bible Study - Hebrews ONE

Today in the Parish Bible Study we looked at Hebrews 1.
After lunch today I read the following, from Fr David Jenks book of meditations.
I invite you to take time and consider prayerfully this meditation.

The Worship of Jesus Christ

“The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”—Psa.110.1; Matt.22.44.
Picture: the Son of Man seated in glory with the holy angels round him.

Resolve: the worship of Jesus Christ.

  1. The two scenes.

    1. The scene passes from earth to heaven. David’s royal son is my Lord, who is exalted to the right-hand seat. In earlier Jewish prophecy the anointed king was conceived as frankly human; in later days the Messiah in apocalyptic literature became supramundane. The harmonizing of these elements in the person of the Incarnate Son was a stumbling block to the Jews.

    2. While the Jews did not connect the prophecies relating to the manifestation of the day of the Lord with those of the scion of the house of David, we do so boldly in the truth of the Ascension. The Son of David has entered upon his royal sway.

    3. The “angels share this experience with us, but enjoy it in a far higher degree. Since their creation they have worshipped the divine Word; when they minister as the divine agents they worship him in creation by service. Since the Incarnation they worship him in human nature also with an intelligence which corresponds to the unfolding appreciation of his redemptive work.

  2. “Sit thou on my right hand.”

    1. The epistle to the Hebrews has seized on these words as expressive of the dignity of the Son, who is the sharer of the Father’s throne. He sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high. After the work of redemption is the rest of the session, and the honour bestowed on his victorious human nature.

    2. The writer has dwelt also upon the unique position. No angel has ever been singled out for individual dignity, although they are highly distinguished as a class. The angels are sons of God (Job.2.1; Psa.89.6), but not to any one of them belongs the proud dignity of being addressed as “Thou art my Son” (Heb.1.5-13).

    3. And the session of the Son is the assumption of rule as the reward of victory. The angels are but attendant ministers, busy in his service. When he was on earth they ministered to him in his humility; now they minister to him in the person of those who shall be heirs of salvation through him (Heb.1.14).

  3. “Until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

    1. The defeating blow has already been struck. Now he sits expecting in confident assurance the accomplishment of his work. The simile is that of vanquished enemies being brought to his footstool as to the presence of their conqueror: but is it for destruction or submission? Is Agag a type or Mephibosheth?

    2. Here too the angels minister, as they will do at the last. Sent forth to do service they bring many a vanquished foe to his pierced feet, to seize them and bedew them with the tears of penitence. And such he raises to be partners of his throne. And they also who will not seek for pardon must come at last to his feet, which are like unto fine brass as if they burned in a furnace (Rev.1.15).

    3. His feet are the place of worship. When S. John fell at the angel’s feet ho was rebuked (Rev.19.10; Rev.22.8-9); their feet were ready to be dispatched on duty. But when he fell as dead at the feet of the ascended Lord, he raised him up (Rev.1.17).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ewer's book The Operation of the Holy Spirit

Bishop Eddie recently introduced me to the Rev'd Dr F C Ewer's book The Operation of the Holy Spirit.
The following is from page 35, as he reflects on the stories and songs of the Hebrew Testament and the influence of the Holy Spirit:

Who shall lay the measures of the Old Testament, or enter into the springs thereof? And who shall bind its sweet influences?
Consider, first, the diversity that is apparent on its surface. The Pentateuch moves with an epic cadence; Joshua rings with heroic numbers; and Judges sustains the martial strain; but in Ruth, the song sinks to a gentle pastoral, soon to break out as a sonnet in Esther, then swell to a drama in Job, and heave like a restless sea in the lyric Psalms.