Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Like a butterfly, we struggle to emerge from life’s various transitional states. Sometimes we’re tired. Sometimes we’re stuck. Sometimes there’s no progress whatsoever. Sometimes the chrysalis darkens and dies. But, if we gird up our loins, and punch our way through the cocoon’s tiny hole – to become whole, we begin anew! This challenging exit strategy fortifies our wings, and prepares us for flying. Through perseverance of trials, and with God’s help, we grow stronger!

May God bless our good intentions and efforts!

Patient Endurance

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Patient endurance kills the despair that kills the soul; it teaches the soul to take comfort and not to grow listless in the face of its many battles and afflictions. ~ St. Peter of Damaskos; Philokalia

He who endures distress, will be granted joys; and he who bears with unpleasant things, will not be deprived of the pleasant. ~ St. Nilus of Sinai

Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. ~ James 5:11

Don’t let anything deprive you of hope. ~ St. Nektarios of Aegina

God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them. We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. ~ C.S. Lewis

We are all broken,
Regardless of sufferings
Or disappointments.

God knows our sorrows,
He is our refuge and strength
And the Remedy.

It is Christ Who heals,
Whom we are called to follow…
Throughout life’s trials.

The Lord strengthens us
To find meaning and purpose
In painful struggles –

Patiently He waits
For us to open the door
Of our hearts for help…

To live, thrive, and soar
High above
heedless failures…
Of world, body, soul.

Patient Endurance is not simply placid acceptance of waiting around and just hoping things get better on their own. No! Patient Endurance is our Cross. Patient Endurance is ACTION and EFFORT. Patient Endurance requires taking one small step and then another, and then another… Patient Endurance keeps moving forward, and involves personal, consistent reaching out to God for help. It involves prayer… us talking to Him, sharing our ups and downs… thanking Him for our banes and blessings… thanking Him for hearing us, for His Love, and that we know and accept He will answer us in His Good and Perfect Time – with what is best for us. Patient Endurance keeps the Spiritual Communication Lines open!

He waits patiently.

Greeting you with Hope and Love in Christ.

Keep looking up! There’s Sonshine above those stormy clouds!

When Snowed Under…

Read Psalm 91!

(Also known as Psalm 90 in some translations)

He that dwelleth in the help of the Most High shall abide in the shelter of the God of heaven. He shall say unto the Lord: Thou art my helper and my refuge. He is my God, and I will hope in him. For he shall deliver thee from the snare of the hunters and from every troubling word. With his shoulders shall he overshadow thee, and under his wings shalt thou have hope. With a shield will his truth encompass thee; thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day. Nor for the thing that walketh in darkness, nor for the mishap and demon of noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but unto thee shall it not come nigh. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold, and thou shalt see the rewards of sinners. For Thou, O Lord, art my hope. Thou madest the Most High thy refuge; No evils shall come nigh unto thee, and no scourge shall draw nigh unto thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. On their hands shall they bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Upon the asp and basilisk shalt thou tread, and thou shalt trample upon the lion and dragon. For he hath set his hope on me, and I will deliver him; I will shelter him because he hath known my name. He shall cry unto me, and I will hearken unto him. I am with him in affliction, and I will rescue him and glorify him. With length of days will I satisfy him, and I will show him my salvation.

Thanks for reminding us of this wonderful Psalm, Vera!

Rays of Grace

Sunrise on Hawaiian Beach – 2014

Grant unto me, my Lord, that with peace in mind I may face all that this new day is to bring. Grant unto me grace to surrender myself completely to Thy holy will. Instruct and prepare me in all things for every hour of this day. Whatsoever tidings I may receive during the day, do Thou teach me to accept them calmly, in the firm conviction that all eventualities fulfill Thy holy will. ~ Excerpt from Morning Prayer of the Optina Elders

…the greatest prayer you can make for someone is to be able to say to the Lord truthfully, “I love this person. Thy will be done in his or her life…” ~ Gerontissa Gavrielia

When a bad or gloomy thought, fear of temptation threatens to afflict you, don’t fight it to try to get rid of it. Open your arms to Christ’s love and He will embrace you, then it will vanish by itself. ~ St. Porphyrios

Garments of Grace

Beautiful Golden Thread Embroidery for Vestments ~ New York Garment District, 2017

A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; ~Ecclesiastes 3:7

The Garments of God and Man ~ Sergei Komarov

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? ~ St. Luke 12: 27-28

As a moth gnaws a garment, so doth envy consume a person. ~ St. John Chrysostom

And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. ~ Hebrews 1:10-12

…O Christ, who art covered with light as though with a garment, who for my sake stood naked in front of Pilate, clothe me with that might which you caused to overshadow the saints, whereby they conquered this world of struggle. May your Divinity, Lord, take pleasure in me, and lead me above the world to be with you.~St. Isaac the Syrian

If our human nature is not kept pure or else restored to its original purity by the Holy Spirit, it cannot become one body and one spirit in Christ, either in this life or in the harmonious order of the life to come. For the all-embracing and unifying power of the Spirit does not complete the new garment of grace by sewing on to it a patch taken from the old garment of the passions. ~ St. Gregory of Sinai (The Philokalia)

The Spiritual Sustainability of our Garments of Grace, is a Lifetime Labour. We’re all works in progress, and by standing still, go nowhere. As thread follows a needle (African proverb), it’s through good actions and efforts that we move forward and obtain results.

By directing our numinous eyes on the binding of torn seams, the darning of tiny holes before they grow and gape, and reinforcing loose buttons before they fall off – forever lost; it’s only with God’s help, that we mend.

Whether offering a stitch in time to aid a friend or brother in need, or faithfully tempering choices by measuring at least seven times, before cutting once (Russian proverb), these too, are inclusive of the Sewing Circle.

We can’t work it alone.

Let’s try to remember more often, to reach out to the Giver of Light for help to persevere until the end, to enlighten the vesture of our soul… and to save us.

Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearers

Memory Eternal, Joanna.

Christ is Risen!

The myrrh bearing women at the break of dawn, drew near to the tomb of the Giver of Life. There they found an angel seated upon the stone, and he greeted them with these words: “Why do ye seek the Living among the dead? Why mourn ye the Incorrupt amid corruption? Go: proclaim the glad tidings to His disciples.” This is the day which the Lord hath made! Let us rejoice and be glad therein. Pascha of beauty! The Pascha of the Lord! A Pascha worthy of all honour hath dawned for us. Pascha! Pascha, ransom from affliction! For today, as from a bridal chamber, Christ hath shone forth from the tomb, and filled the women with joy, saying “Proclaim the glad tidings to the apostles.” ~ Excerpt from the Aposticha Paschal Stichera; Let God Arise

The third Sunday of Holy Pascha is designated as the Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearers. These courageous and steadfast women disciples of the Lord followed Jesus Christ throughout His ministry… providing and caring for Him and His followers (St. Mark 15:41). They remained faithful to Him during the dangerous times of His arrest, crucifixion, and burial. On account of the preparation for the Sabbath, the initial burial preparations were incomplete and brief. As soon as the Sabbath passed, the women speedily returned, bringing precious myrrh and ointment to anoint His body. It was still dark and very early in the morning, when they arrived at the tomb. Christ’s Resurrection was revealed by an angel, and they were given the honour to announce the glad tidings to the apostles. Because of this, the Myrrhbearing Women, especially St. Mary Magdalene, are sometimes referred to as Equal to the Apostles.

The Holy Myrrhbearers represent all that is good in our Christian faith. They are the spiritual-embodiment of Faith, Hope and Love.

Truly He is Risen!

Do Not Lose Heart

…But though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

~ 2 Corinthians 4: 16 – 18

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