The Light of Truth

Photo by Olga Kononenko on Unsplash

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. ~ St. John 8:12

In order to remind us that before anything else the Creator of the world created light, and after that everything else in order: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). And it must be so also at the beginning of our  spiritual life, so that before anything else the light of Christ’s truth would shine within us. From this light of Christ’s truth subsequently every good is created, springs up and grows in us. ~ St. Nikolai of Ohrid

Through the Divine Spark of the Holy Spirit, it’s Our Time to Shine.

Let us be as noetic Candles, Aflame with Zeal, and exude the Sweet Aroma of Divine Grace… Christ’s Light of the Virtues.

May your day brim with Light!

Joyful Ringing of Candlemas Bells

Snowdrop flowers, also known as Candlemas Bells, rang in yesterday’s bright feast, decoratively sitting upon the Icon of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple.

As the memory of fire does not warm the body, so faith without love does not bring about the illumination in the soul. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

Christ is our Redemption.

Christ is our True Light.

Standing before God in prayer, we are as newly lit spiritual candles. May our hearts and souls flame radiantly, as we inhale the life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit, and may we shine and reflect Christ’s Gladsome Light!

Droplets of Holy Water can be seen on these blessed beeswax candles at the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple; Candlemas.

Receiving Him Into Our Own Arms

Parish Festal Icon of The Meeting of the Lord in the Temple ~ St. Luke 2:22-40

Greetings on the Feast! (February 15/2)

Today’s bright and beautiful feast day falls 40 days after the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is among the most ancient feasts, and since 450 AD, church candles are also blessed on this day as we remember Christ is our salvation, and the Light of the World.

Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendour of the One who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of His eternal light. Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ... We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet Him. The Light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness. This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through Him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God. The true Light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Let all of us share in its splendour, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the Light whose brilliance is eternal... ~ St. Sophronius of Jerusalem (638 AD)

Detail from Meeting of the Lord in the Temple, parish Icon – St. Joseph the Betrothed holds two turtledoves (pigeons), and the Virgin Mary passes the Christ Child to St. Simeon, and aged St. Anna the Prophetess holds a scroll pertaining to the Babe’s Divinity, “This Child has created heaven and Earth.”

On today’s Feast of the Meeting of the Lord, when the heavens meet the earth, God meets man, history meets eternity, when – as our people beautifully say – spring and winter meet, may we also open our hearts for an encounter with the Lord… Open your hearts, listen to the depths of your thoughts, desires, feelings, anticipations, nostalgias, yearnings, the pursuits of your hearts. For our hearts are created in the image of God and they yearn for God; the truth is often buried in passions, desires, appetites, ambitions, prejudices. Let us free ourselves of them and meet the Lord, for He always comes to meet us. He is the One who came, who is with us, Who always comes to be with us. ~ Bishop Atanasije (Homily on the Meeting of our Lord)

In some places, white snowdrop flowers traditionally decorate churches on this special day. Old English Names for Snowdrops are Christ’s Flowers, Purification Flowers, Candlemas Bells, and Fair Maids of February.

Congratulations on the Feast! Today, spring and winter meet, and like blessed spiritual candles, may our hearts and souls shine and wax brightly… as we open our noetic arms to embrace Christ’s Divine Warmth, and Illumination!

Surrendering to Divine Wisdom

Image by Taken from Pixabay

Orthodoxy is a faith that is deep enough to allow her believers to confront the complexities of our human experience, while at the same time recognizing that not all is understood in this life, but viewed as a Mystery. So, the view that believers never doubt, is simply not true. Doubt is not the opposite of faith, but rather the vehicle by which we are challenged to go deeper into the Mystery that is true faith. Nothing keeps we true believers from struggling with uncertainty, for it is this very uncertainty that keeps us from complacency. Complacency is the true enemy of faith, and the inhibitor of spiritual growth. It is complacency that keeps us from the Kingdom of God, and the joy that comes when we are in Communion with Christ. It is not a question of choosing sides, but of surrendering to Divine Wisdom. ~ Abbot Tryphon

In the mystical theology of the Orthodox Church, Wisdom is understood as the Divine Logos (God the Word), Who became Incarnate as Jesus Christ. In Greek, Ἁγία Σοφία (Hagia Sophia) is defined “Holy Wisdom” meaning “Jesus Christ”…The Wisdom and Power of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 1: 24,30; 1 Corinthians 2:7

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth… No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. ~ First chapter of 1 John

Shared by a friend…
Some Aspects of Surrendering to Divine Wisdom

Surrender = Conscious, Willing, Choice.
Surrender = Unconditional Seeking Refuge within the Divine.
Surrender = Faith.
Surrender = Effort.
Surrender = Hope.
Surrender = Love.
Surrender = Trust.
Surrender = Strength.
Surrender = Recognizing Blessings.
Surrender = Gratitude, Thankfulness.
Surrender = Action with Consistent Prayer.
Surrender = Communication.
Surrender = Understanding that Christ Knows What’s Best For Us.

Accepting God’s Will = Learning to let go, and let God!

One step at a time… It’s a lifelong process!

Aflame With Zeal

Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

When you look at the candles and lamps burning in church, rise in thought from the material fire to the immaterial fire of the Holy Spirit, ‘for our God is a consuming fire.’ When you see and smell the fragrant incense, rise in thought to the spiritual fragrance of the Holy Spirit, ‘for we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ.’ ~ St. John of Kronstadt

In order to teach us that just as the vigil lamp cannot be lit without our hand, so too, our heart, our inward vigil lamp, cannot be lit without the holy fire of God’s grace, even if it were to be filled with all the virtues. All these virtues of ours are, after all, like combustable material, but the fire which ignites them proceeds from God. ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovich

In order to remind us that before anything else the Creator of the world created light, and after that everything else in order; And God said, let there be light: and there was light. And it must be so also at the beginning of our spiritual life, so that before anything else the light of Christ’s truth would shine within us. From this light of Christ’s truth subsequently every good is created, springs up and grows within us. ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovich

May the Light of Christ Illumine us all! Keep looking up… there’s always bright Sonshine above those heavy snow clouds!

We Are Never Alone

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses… ~ Hebrews 12:1

Though the Christian may pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him. ~ St. Clement of Alexandria

If you feel sweetness or compunction at some word of your prayer, dwell on it; for then our guardian angel is praying with us. ~ St. John Climacus

When you are about to pray to our Lady the Holy Virgin, be firmly assured, before praying, that you will not depart from her without having received mercy. To think thus and to have confidence in her is meet and right. She is, the All-Merciful Mother of the All-Merciful God, the Word, and her mercies, incalculably great and innumerable, have been declared from all ages by all Christian Churches... ~ St. John of Kronstadt

The Most Holy Mother of God prays for us ceaselessly. She is always visiting us. Whenever we turn to her in our heart, she is there. After the Lord, she is the greatest protection for mankind… She is constantly by our side, and all too often we forget her. ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as always, that God the Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter than the sun; also all the angels, your own Guardian Angel, and all the Saints of God. Truly they do; for they are all one in God, and where God is, there are they also. Where the sun is, thither also are directed all its rays. Try to understand what this means. ~ Elder Herman of Mt. Athos

A saint is a Christian who lets God’s light shine through. ~ Anonymous quote by a child who looked at a saint in a stained glass window

Vigil lights are placed before the icons of the saints to show that without the Light, Who is Christ, the Saints are nothing. It is only as the light of Christ shines on them that they become alive and resplendent. ~ St. Symeon the New Theologian 

The candles lit before icons of saints reflect their ardent love for God for Whose sake they gave up everything that man prizes in life, including their very lives, as did the holy apostles, martyrs and others. These candles also mean that these saints are lamps burning for us and providing light for us by their own saintly living, their virtues and their ardent intercession for us before God through their constant prayers by day and night. The burning candles also stand for our ardent zeal and the sincere sacrifice we make out of reverence and gratitude to them for their solicitude on our behalf before God. ~ St. John of Kronstadt

In God and in His Church there is no division between the living and the departed, but all are one in the love of the Father. Whether we are alive or whether we are dead, as members of the Church we still belong to the same family, and still have a duty to bear one another’s burdens. Therefore just as Orthodox Christians here on earth pray for one another and ask for one another’s prayers, so they pray for the faithful departed and ask the faithful departed to pray for them. Death cannot sever the bond of mutual love which links the members of the Church together. ~ Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

Noting the small congregation in church one Sunday morning, a cynic said to the priest, “Not many in church this morning, Father. Not many at all.” The old priest replied, “You are wrong, my son. There were thousands at church this morning. Thousands and thousands and tens of thousands.” For, the priest had just read in the prayers of the liturgy: “Therefore with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven we laud and magnify thy glorious name, evermore praising Thee. It was the Communion of Saints in action! ~ fatheralexander.org

…Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~ St. Matthew 28:20

The Eternal Present of God

Fistful of Fall Pansies in Afternoon Sunlight

In the radiance of His light the world is not commonplace. The very floor we stand on is a miracle of atoms whizzing in space… In a world where everything that seems to be present is immediately past, everything in Christ is able to participate in the eternal present of God. ~ Fr. Alexander Schmemann

The sky is beautiful, but it is so in order that you may bow down before Him who made it; the sun is bright, but it is so in order that you may worship its Author; if you stop at the wonder of creation and get stuck at the beauty of these works, the light will become dark for you, or rather you will have used the light to change it to darkness. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Beauty is never ‘necessary,’ ‘functional’ or ‘useful.’ And when, expecting someone we love, we put a beautiful tablecloth on the table and decorate it with candles and flowers, we do all this not our of necessity, but out of love. And the Church is love, expectation and joy. ~ Fr. Alexander Schmemann

…God, Who fashioned us and brought us out of non-existence into being, has placed us in this life as in a schoolroom to learn the Gospel of His Kingdom. ~ St. Theodore the Studite

With God placing us in this life as in a schoolroom, may we all graduate in heaven!

Light in Darkness

Image by Ciroja from Pixabay

You find yourself in a darkened room and you move your hands so as to try to brush away the darkness which, of course, doesn’t move. If you open a window and light enters, the darkness disappears. The same happens with study. The Holy Scripture, the Lives of the Saints, and the Writings of the Fathers are the light that chases away the darkness of the Soul.
~ St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia

O Lord Jesus Christ! You are my medicine when I am sick; You are my strength when I need help; You are Life itself when I fear death; You are Light when all is dark. ~ St. Ambrose of Milan

Beauty of the Lord

Gold Tesserae Awaiting Placement in Parish Mosaic

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in his temple. ~ Psalm 27:4

Sanctify those that love the beauty of Thy house. Glorify them in return by Thy divine power. ~ Prayer behind the Ambo

…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8

Numinous beauty is found in the physical and spiritual splendour surrounding us!

We perceive God’s grace through the noetic beauty of nature. Our souls sense it when we throw open the doors of our heart and gaze upon the holy icons at Church. We smell it in the sweet fragrance of pure beeswax candles, the bouquets of flowers, and the clouds of billowing incense. We hear it in the joyful voices singing hymns and psalms of praise. We taste it in the Holy Mysteries, the antidoron and prosphora. We experience His Mercy of Peace through the powerful permeation of communal prayer at Divine Liturgy.

Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote: Beauty will save the world.

True Beauty points to God… Who exudes and transcends Inexpressible Beauty in everything, through the Glorious, Gladsome Light of His Divinity!

Light of the Virtues

As the candle gives its own light to illuminate a person in the darkness, so also must the light of the virtues, the light of love and peace, characterize a Christian. The wax that melts, symbolizes the flame of our love for our fellow men. ~ St. Symeon of Thessaloniki

Our souls are as noetic candles of fire and light. May we, with God’s help, exude His Divine Warmth and Illumination upon others in our daily lives.

error: Content is protected !!