Reflecting the Refulgent

Orans Icon

The fasting season is a period of spiritual illumination and of adorning the soul with the sanctifying presence of God. ~ Patriarch Daniel of Romania

Fasting supports the prayer of a believer who considers his connection with God as the centre, the Light, and the nourishment of his soul. ~ Patriarch Daniel of Romania

Today is also one of the feast days for the ancient, Miraculous Kursk Root Icon: Theotokos of the Sign (Orans). It’s a Holy Consolation which many of us have been blessed to venerate in person.

May we try to emulate our Most Holy Theotokos by always saying “yes” to God, for in doing so… we shall thrive and shine – reflecting the True and Illuminating Light of Christ!

May your Lenten Journey be Peaceful and Fruitful!


6th century Akathist (Hymn) to the Theotokos chanted in English

Heavenly Snowdrops

…but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. ~ Proverbs 11:28

Yesterday’s walk was exhilarating!

Cheerful Snowdrops are springing up everywhere!

Old English names for Snowdrop flowers are Christ’s Flowers, Purification Flowers, Candlemas Bells, and Fair Maids of February. They are named as such, in honour of the ancient (upcoming) feast day of The Meeting of the Lord in the Temple! (February 15/2)

God’s Gift of Nature physically and spiritually nourishes us.

We rejoice in the sun’s warmth on our face and refreshing gentle breezes that sweep away cluttered, wintry thoughts.

Through a single flower, we remember all is God’s Handiwork, and that Nature is a Secret Gospel.

Spiritual Fragrance abounds! And… regardless of debris from recent storms, we notice it’s the new and verdant growth that bears the precious blooms in God’s Garden!

Sometimes – a glimpse of Paradise is right outside our back door!

Happy Saint’s Day Maximos, God grant you many years!

Reflecting the Sun of Righteousness

Image by Jessica Joh from Pixabay

We are mirrors whose brightness is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us. ~ C. S. Lewis

Thoughts. Actions. Affect.
Are we givers – or takers
of all Light’s spectrum?
Let us make haste to
be robed in Healing Sonshine
Everywhere present –
Impetus for growth –
Opening our heart’s eyes to
Reflect His Bright Gift!

Only by absorbing His Light can we reflect His Light. Everything we do matters. Every moment, every decision we make affects ourselves, our families, friends, our coworkers in countless… and often imperceptive ways. We are responsible for flavouring each situation. If we can find joy in the smallest of things, we can choose to be joyful, and be as light, reflecting the Light, even in the midst of turmoil.

May we all choose to be swathed today within our Lord’s warm, redeeming Sonshine! May we joyfully reflect His Refulgent Light! Amen!

Happy Saint’s Day Juliana! May God grant you many years! Saint’s Day Cake baked by Anysia.

Spiritual Blossoms of the Isles

Heath blooming at Lochinver, Scotland – by Ivor Bond from Pixabay

On the third Sunday after Pentecost we honour all the saints who, during the first millennium, have shone forth from England, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Scotland.

Being of Scottish and Irish heritage, this Sunday is very special to me.

Timeline of Orthodoxy in the British Isles

A Brief History of Orthodox England

We magnify thee, O all ye saints who have shone forth in the Isles, and we honour thy holy memory, for ye intercede with Christ our God on our behalf. ~ Saints of the British Isles Magnification

All Ye Saints of the British Isles pray to God for us!

From the ends of the earth, O Lord, the Isles of the Sea offer Thee all the saints who have shone forth therein as the fair fruit of Thy salvific splendour. Through their supplications and through the Theotokos, preserve Thy Church and Thine Isles in the profoundest peace, O most Merciful One. ~ Festal Troparion for All the Saints of the British Isles

Today the choirs of the saints who have pleased God in the Isles, standeth in the Church and invisibly prayeth to God for us. With them the angels give glory; and all the saints of the Church of Christ celebrate with them, and all together they beseech the Pre-Eternal God for us. ~ Kontakion Tone 3

The saints are shown to be fair blossoms of the Garden of Eden, laden with the nectar of good works and the sweet scent of Orthodox teachings, whereby our souls are fed and our spiritual thirst is quenched, Come ye therefore, let us hasten beneath their shade and let us bless them as the delight and adornment of the Isles, and as a model and pattern for our lives, for they have received unfading crowns of glory and all together they beseech the Pre-Eternal God for us. ~ Ikos

Let all the ranks of saints and angels make glad with us, singing in spiritual choir. They have beheld Our Sovereign, the Queen of Heaven and Lady of the Isles, Who is glorified by all the faithful. And the souls of all the righteous celebrate with them, beholding Her most precious hands stretched forth in supplication beseeching peace for the world, renewal of the Orthodox Faith in the Isles and the salvation of our souls. ~ Stichera of the Saints of the British Isles, Tone 8

O Queen of heaven and Lady of the Isles, to pray to God for us!

Apple Blossoms

Apple Blossom Scripture Art created by Juliana

Christ is Risen!

Happy Saint’s Day Irena! May God grant you many years!

Today is also the annual feast of the Wonderworking Icon of the Inexhaustible Cup (Chalice). The Icon’s Akathist to the Theotokos for help with the struggle of various addictions is here.

Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.~ Psalm 17:8

He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. ~ Deuteronomy 32:10

Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.~ Proverbs 7:2

The expression of being the apple of one’s eye comes from the Old Testament, and is translated from Hebrew as little man of his eye… the reflection one sees in the eye of another. In early English translations of the Bible, the phrase appears as apple of his eye. This is derived from the Old English word aeppel, meaning either apple and/or an eye’s pupil. The phrase developed into apple of one’s eye, retaining the original meaning of something being both highly cherished and greatly treasured.

May we blossom forth and wax fruitfully in Christ!

Truly He is Risen!

God Giveth the Increase

Scripture Art by Juliana

Happy Sunday of All Saints!

Greetings on All Saints’ Day!

Warm wishes and a very Happy Father’s Day to those who are so blessed!

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labour. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.~ 1 Cor. 3:7-9

The Lord grant thee according to thy heart, and all thy purposes fulfill. ~ 2nd Antiphon, Stichos 3, Sunday of Pentecost

Faithfulness in little things is a big thing. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Look at the Pussy Willows

Silver, Furry, Catkins, Reach for the Sky

Now we worry about a piece of bread, about a roof over our heads, about our social conditions. And it seems to us that the meaning of life consists of this. But the Church says, Look at the pussy willows: leaves will sprout and later flowers and fruit. So it is even in a Christian soul. ~ Archbishop Andrei Rymarenko (1893- 1978)

The Best Flower of All

Our Garden – 2004

When the garden of your soul is full of thistles (passions), do not try to uproot them, for as long as you concern yourself with them you will always end up being injured and infected by germs. Concentrate all your energy on the flowers of your soul, water them and then the thistles will wither themselves. And the best flower of all is your love for Christ. If you water this and it grows, all the thistles will die off. ~ St. Porphyrios

Secret Garden Secrets

Vibrant, Autumnal, Garden Nasturtiums

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. ~ Genesis 2:15

There’s an inherent yearning deep within, to return to The Garden where God originally placed us.

Blossoming backyard gardens and bursting balcony flower boxes have become our private little gazebos for God. Surrounded by nature’s wondrous beauty, we can’t help but worship and extol Creation’s Planter!

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. ~ Genesis 2:7-8

Preparing wild violet seeds to sprout in time for spring, I plunge bare fingers into rich, loamy soil. Earthy, delightful fragrances exude forth, and I’m reminded, For dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return… whither all we mortals are going... Alleluia!

Pondering these fleeting thoughts, I thirstily drink in the gardens’ sights, sounds, and myriad of scents. Even in autumn, it’s a living thing, both below and above the soil… organically connected through the roots and tendrils of past, present, and future.

What satisfaction there is living within the gentle furrow of the moment, garnering the herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers that blossom forth!

What joy there is in giving oneself to the garden… To hear its secrets, to harvest its gift of contentment… To reap its sheaves of peace; and to glean and store its spiritual grains of abundance, within the silos of our hearts!

Finding the Beauty

Parish Mosaic Before Completion

We are but the small shards of Creation’s Grand and Beautiful Mosaic!

Christ manifested Himself to the world; He filled it with light and joy; He sanctified the waters and diffused His light in the souls of men. ~ St. Proclus

Unless we look at a person and see the beauty there is in this person, we can contribute nothing to him. One does not help a person by discerning what is wrong, what is ugly, what is distorted. Christ looked at everyone he met, at the prostitute, at the thief, and saw the beauty hidden there. Perhaps it was distorted, perhaps damaged, but it was beauty nonetheless, and what he did was to call out this beauty. ~ Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Every one of us is in the image of God, and every one of us is like a damaged icon. But if we were given an icon damaged by time, damaged by circumstances, or desecrated by human hatred, we would treat it with reverence, with tenderness, with broken-heartedness. We would not pay attention primarily to the fact that it is damaged, but to the tragedy of its being damaged. We would concentrate on what is left of its beauty, and not on what is lost of its beauty. And this is what we must learn to do with regard to each person as an individual, but also – and this is not always as easy – with regard to groups of people, whether it be a parish or a denomination, or a nation. We must learn to look, and look until we have seen the underlying beauty of this group of people. Only then can we even begin to do something to call out all the beauty that is there. Listen to other people, and whenever you discern something which sounds true, which is a revelation of harmony and beauty, emphasize it and help it to flower. Strengthen it and encourage it to live. ~ Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

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