|General Instructions: This lesson is intended to help you reflect upon your daily prayers and readings. Please note that today's psalter readings are part of a 4-week cycle that forms the core of our daily devotional life.|
1. To know today's events in the Church's liturgical calendar.
2. To pray Morning and Evening Prayer with attention and devotion.
3. To study the Scripture passages read today in the Church's lectionary.
4. To reflect duly upon today's readings and prayers.
5. To learn the hymns of Morning and Evening Prayer.
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Student Task List
In this lesson, you must complete the following tasks:
1. (AM) Pray Morning Prayer.
Today is Thursday in the Second Week of Easter. On this day the Church reflects on the life of St. Elphege (10th c.).
ST. ELPHEGE was born in the year 954, of a noble Saxon family. He first became a monk in the monastery of Deerhurst, near Tewkesbury, England, and afterwards lived as a hermit near Bath, where he founded a community under the rule of St. Benedict, and became its first abbot. At thirty years of age he was chosen Bishop of Winchester, and twenty-two years later he became Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1011, when the Danes landed in Kent and took the city of Canterbury, putting all to fire and sword, St. Elphege was captured and carried off in the expectation of a large ransom. He was unwilling that his ruined church and people should be put to such expense, and was kept in a loathsome prison at Greenwich for seven months. While so confined some friends came and urged him to lay a tax upon his tenants to raise the sum demanded for his ransom. "What reward can I hope for," said he, "if I spend upon myself what belongs to the poor? Better give up to the poor what is ours, than take from them the little which is their own." As he still refused to give ransom, the enraged Danes fell upon him in a fury, beat him with the blunt sides of their weapons, and bruised him with stones until one, whom the Saint had baptized shortly before, put an end to his sufferings by the blow of an axe. He died on Easter Saturday, April 19, 1012, his last words being a prayer for his murderers. His body was first buried in St. Paul's, London, but was afterwards translated to Canterbury by King Canute. A church dedicated to St. Elphege still stands upon the place of his martyrdom at Greenwich.
Reflection.—Those who are in high positions should consider themselves as stewards rather than masters of the wealth or power intrusted to them for the benefit of the poor and weak. St. Elphege died rather than extort his ransom from the poor tenants of the Church lands.
Source: Butler's Lives of the Saints
Psalter - Week II
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The following questions are offered to help you reflect upon the day's readings and prayers. Read each question, reflect on your readings and answer them thoughtfully. You may do this quietly by yourself, in a written journal, by entering your reflections online or by discussing them with others.
1. The illustrations found in Sacred Scripture are presented to us by the Holy Spirit to help us understand heavenly things by means of earthly things. They also help us to rightly understand the incredible value of the natural world as our teacher and guide to heaven. Make a list of the symbols or illustrations found in today's readings. Then, select one or more of them that strike you and consider what exactly the image teaches us.
2. Morning: Psalm 80. Three times the psalmist says, "God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved." Do you see how holy men turn to God? When they feel themselves walking away from God or when they have fallen into trouble, they call out to God to catch them and help them return to Him. Do you, when you face troubles, call upon the Lord? Do you pray to God as His child or do you pray only when someone else tells you to? Maybe you aere young and just now learning the faith. Remember this: "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
2. Morning: Psalm 80. The people of God are compared to a grapevine. You may not have experience with vines, but basically a grapevine connects the roots--which provides a plant with its water and nutrients-- to the branches, where the fruits are produced. How are we, God's people, like a grapevine? What would the branches represent in this image? What would the grapes represent in this image? What about the water? the nutrients? the dead branches that the gardener picks off? the gardener? Think.
3. Morning: Isaiah 12:1-6. Isaiah the prophet says, "God is my Savior; I am confident and unafraid." Solomon said, "The wicked man fleeth, when no man pursueth: but the just, bold as a lion, shall be without dread." Do you live with the boldness and fearlessness of the of a Christian? Or, are you fearful and unable to be strong?
4. Morning: Psalm 81. God said of Israel, "My people did not heed my voice an Israel would not obey." Do you force God to say this about you? Do you refuse to heed God's voice? Do you not obey? What do you refuse to obey?
Do you realize that the reason you do not live a famous and heroic life like the David and the martyrs is because you will not obey? God said, "O that my people would heed me...at once I would subdue their foes...the Lord's enemies would cringe at their feet." Do you not want to see this in the world? Don't you want to see the world set down at the feet of Christians? Then we must obey all things.
5. Evening: Psalm 72. This psalm looks forward in time to the kingdom of God, speaking of the coming of the king--Our Lord. Notice how this king is described--what are his concerns? He defends the poor and weak against against those who oppress them, that is, against the strong and wealthy. A good example of this is seen in the life of St. Anthony. There were wealthy, powerful men who were putting poor men into prison for not paying back debts that the rich knew they couldn't pay. In the meantime, the rich men abused the poor men's wives, took control of their lands, and did other terrible things. St. Anthony and the friars protected the poor women and children and worked to earn money to pay the poor men's debts. St. Anthony worked to set the men free and allow them to return to their families. This is the beautiful work in the world of Christians.
Are you living as a person who belongs in the kingdom of God? Who are the poor in your area? Who are their oppressors? What can you do--what will you do--to help the poor and weak?
6. Evening: Revelation 11,12. God, in His great mercy, allows sinners to live, sinning against him day by day. He allows them to lie, steal, cheat, do things in secret, disobey their parents, say hurtful things to others and even kill other human beings. However, God sits quietly in patience because He has appointed a day when He will call these men--you, me, everyone--before Him and return to us what we deserve. This will be a terrfiying day for all men, for we have all sinned and failed to obey God. Nevertheless, we can be saved if we are baptized and observe all that Christ has commanded. That means that to save our souls, we must study to know the Christian faith and live as the faith requires.
Are you working to save your soul in way that your soul deserves? What are you doing to make sure that you know the true Christian faith? Are you practicing the Christian faith? How can you be sure that what you are doing is, in fact what Christ has commanded? How do you know--if you know--that God will approve you on the day of judgment?Print this section | Hide this section
The following questions are offered to help stir up edifying reflections upon the day's Scripture readings. You may/should add reflections of your own. After completing today's Scripture readings, read theses questions, reflect on your readings and answer them thoughtfully. You can reflect quietly by yourself, write your reflections in a journal or discuss them with others.
1. Acts 5:27-33. Today's reading presents us with a real dilemma. The Apostles, commanded by the Sanhedrin to stop stirring up trouble, answer, "We must obey God rather than men." However, St. Paul said, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." How can everyauthority be instituted by God and yet the Apostles say, "We must obey God rather than men?" How can we know when we must obey God and disobey our earthly leaders?
2. Acts 5:27-33. Many today struggle with the question of how men are saved. Some say that man is saved apart from any good that he does, but simply by God's kindness. All Christians would agree that God gives the Holy Spirit only to true Christians. However, today we read that the Holy Spirit was given by God "to those who obey him". Do men obey God and THEN receive the Holy Spirit? What comes first--God's grace or man's obedience?
3. St. John 3:31-36. What is your favorite book? Who is your favorite author? I bet you didn't say "God", did you? That's one of the problems we have--we don't respect the Bible for what it is--a book designed by God for us! Today, St. John writes of this problem men have:
Why do you prefer other books to the Bible? Why would you rather read the words of "one who is of the earth" than "the one who comes from heaven"?
4. St. John 3:31-36. St. John tells us plainly:
What does it mean to "believe in the Son"? Do you "believe in the Son"? How can you be sure that you have eternal life?
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