In Your Silent Patience

Image by Joe from Pixabay

You send us mercy.
When waiting for Your thunder,
You send us a peaceful evening,
And when we expect darkness,
You give us sunshine.
You always rise above our sins
And are always great
In Your silent patience.

~ St. Nikolai Velimirovic

They Dance for Joy

Detail of Mosaic Panel of Creation – St. Sophia Orthodox Church – Canada

angels… are always being filled full of light, becoming ever more radiant and making blessed use of their natural ability to change. They dance for joy around the First Light, look continuously towards Him and are enlightened directly by Him, as they tirelessly sing the praises of the Fount of Light and, being ministers of light, transmit illuminating grace to those lower beings who are being enlightened. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

Christ, the Sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2), is without beginning and pre-eternal. He is both immutable and unchangeable, as with Him there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning (James 1:17). He is without end, never-setting, beaming out the true and heavenly light of day without evening, in which the spirits of the righteousness live with the good angels. When this present age reaches its end, the righteous shall also have their bodies with them, as heirs of the light and sons of the true day. That day continues forever without evening, and neither has, nor ever did have, a morning, since it has no beginning. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

On occasion, I’ve orchestrated group observation with my youth choir to demonstrate how we, as created beings, are unable to fully comprehend the concept of Eternity or Pre-eternal.

After first discussing general definitions of the two words, we’d continue with the next part of the exercise. For just a few minutes, (it’s too difficult to try longer) we silently contemplate the concept of what Eternal means. How God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are Pre-Eternal (beyond time and space)… and have always “been” even before anything else existed. No beginning, no end.

The attempts to try and wrap our mortal minds around the notion of eternal and pre-eternal is humbling and revealing.

Spontaneous laughter and amazement conclude these experiments. Exclamations from the youth range from “Wow, that’s impossible!” to “My brain exploded!”

God is simultaneously everywhere. (Yet another wondrous point to ponder!) He is the beginning, the continuation, the Life and Light of everything that exists. In His great and loving goodness, the Way to salvation is revealed through His Only-Begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ… the Sun of Righteousness, the Dawn and Dayspring from on high.

And so, like the angels, let our souls rejoice and dance with joy; radiantly infused with the Pre-eternal Divine Light, and Peace… which surpasses understanding.

✠ Excellent Post Script from Anastasia, who shares: “A priest once said in my high school religion class: “Eternity is not a “line”. It is a “point”, and we are standing in it.” As he said that, he drew a line and then a dot on the board. I’ve remembered it these 50+ years it impressed me so.

Lampstand of the Light

Dome Mosaic of St. John the Baptist – St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada

St. John the Baptist is called the voice of the Word, the Lampstand of the Light, the morning star and Forerunner of the Sun of Righteousness.

He is named Forerunner, as he preceded Christ… being sent as a Messenger to prepare the people for Christ’s ministry. Angel in Greek means messenger, and some icons of St. John the Baptist depict him with angelic wings, on account of Malachi’s prophecy from the Old Testament.

Several dates during the Liturgical year specifically celebrate the birth, life and death of St. John the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ.

On September 11 (August 29, Julian calendar) we remember St. John the Baptist’s heavenly birthday and martyrdom. In honour of the greatest of all prophets who have ever lived, and since ancient times, the Church has celebrated this leading luminary by establishing this day as a fast.

St. John the Baptist is the personification of faithfulness to God, righteousness, and asceticism. He is so revered, that each Tuesday, every week of the year is also dedicated to him.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. ~ St. John 1:6-9

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St. John the Baptist – St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada

St. John the Baptist Resource Page

700 years before the birth of Christ, the Prophet Isaiah foretold the preaching of John the Baptist. Isaiah called St. John  “the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness”  (Isaiah 40:3); who was to “prepare  the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” 

Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, who lived more than 400 years before the birth of Christ foretold the coming of St. John the Baptist, and refers to him as an angel. Behold I will send My Angel, and he shall prepare the way before Me; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Angel of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. ~ Malachi 3:1-2

St. Luke 1:5-80

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. ~ St. John 1:6-9

St. Matthew 3:1-12

St. Matthew 3:13-17

St. Mark 6:17-29

Christ Himself said: Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. ~ St. Matthew 11:11

Through the holy prayers of St. John the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ, our Leading Luminary, may we, too, stand as steadfast shining candles before the Lord; radiating His Effulgent and Gladsome Light!

O Gladsome Light is an ancient Christian hymn originally written in Greek around the 3rd or 4th century. It is the earliest known hymn recorded outside the Bible still in use today, and is still sung in Orthodox Christian Vespers services daily. St. Basil the Great (329-379 AD) referred to this hymn (already considered old in his time) as a cherished church tradition. It is also called the Lamp-lighting Hymn, for at that time in Jerusalem, a lamp was kept perpetually burning at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre inside the empty tomb of Christ. As Christians gathered there to worship, this hymn was sung, and a candle lit from the lamp was brought forth from the tomb, its bright solitary flame reminding all of the Risen Lord. ~ Wikipedia

At the Lord’s Feet

Part of the Creation Mosaic, St. Sophia Orthodox Church – Canada

Keep your mouth shut in the hour of crisis, when a problem is acute. Do not say anything, because you may regret it a thousand times. Instead, tell it to the Angels so that they may place it at the Lord’s Feet, and pray the Lord for an Angel of Peace to calm your soul. ~ Gerontissa Gavrielia

Blessed Silence

We recently received this beautiful, unusual icon of Jesus Christ. It is known in Russia as Spas Blagoe MolchanieSaviour of Blessed Silence. 

Here we see Christ, young, beardless, the Eternal existing Word and Wisdom of God, also depicted as The Angel of Great Counsel.

He wears an eight-pointed glory (slava) crown, known in iconography as the star of the Ancient of Days. This symbolises the six days of creation, with the seventh day of rest and the eighth day of eternity.

With His precious hands crossed over His chest (as we do receiving the Holy Sacrament of Communion), our Lord and Saviour silently invites us to inner prayer.

He waits patiently.

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