Warts and All

Nestled in a bed of sweet woodruff, a damaged hosta disregards harmful beetle bites and perseveres growing, to thrive anew.

There are days and times in the life of a spiritual person when he feels an emptiness within himself, a weakness of soul something is missing. Something within him has left, and he does not quite know how to come to himself how to bring back the initial strength and Grace, which his soul had. He does not know how to bring back the fullness which he lost. In this case the Holy Fathers teach us: resume the prayer; begin prayer again either with the mouth, with the mind or with the heart and this lost fullness will return. You will find it again. Provided that you force yourself to Pray.  ~ Elder Ephraim in Counsels from the Holy Mountain

Every choice we make has a consequence. Each day affects the next… but, the past is the past. Although we can’t go back to change the past, sometimes we are trapped within a particular groove that exists in the past. Or, perhaps occasionally, an incident from the past slips in and raises its ugly head to create turmoil in the heart. We know where these temptations come from, so we must be vigilant. Lord have mercy!

It is with Hope’s Patient Persistence, His Infinite and Unconditional Love, and Forgiveness, that we are given strength to proceed beyond the past… Moving Forward with Hope, because…

We can only meet God in the present moment. This is an area where God chooses to place limits on His own power. We choose whether or not to live in the present moment. Because we can encounter God only in that present moment, whenever we live in the past or in the future, we place ourselves beyond His reach. ~ Archimandrite Meletios (Webber) 

I cannot reflect on what is past, because I live in the present moment… Yesterday does not exist. Tomorrow belongs to God, as yesterday did… So I keep quiet in God’s Eternal Present!... ….By living in yesterday we delay tomorrow’s march. We cannot live in the past which does not exist, and so give it existence it does not have… ~ St. Gavrilia (Gerontissa Gavrilia)

What has happened has happened, it is in the past. Just keep on going, all the while asking for help from God. ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

May we wrap ourselves today in the Eternal Present of God and Focus Forward, warts and all – notwithstanding!

Lord, help.

Here I am.

Now.

Greeting you From Earth to Heaven on tomorrow’s beautiful Feast of Christ’s Ascension… where we joyfully exclaim one to another Christ Has Ascended! Let us climb the Mount of Olives in our hearts and declare… Glory to Thy Ascension, O Most Greatly Merciful One!

Through His Tender Mercy

An October Dawn

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. ~ Psalm 23:6

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. ~ Psalm 52:8

Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. ~ Psalm 85:10

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. ~ St. Matthew 5:7

Repentance is the gate of mercy which is opened to those who seek it. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian

Lord, as You will, and as You know, have mercy! ~ Abba Macarius

In my life, two questions have especially occupied my attention. First, the exploration of the ways of God’s mercy which I found first in nature. Then I began to observe human life, and even where free will was leaning towards evil, I always found God’s mercy. Then I decided to turn to that which is most sinful, most evil, and I turned to my inward life. It seemed that here there was no place for God’s mercy, because there was nothing good in it; but even here I discovered God’s mercy, and I remembered the words of the Psalmist: ‘Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.’ Then I finally became convinced that the mercy of God towards man is limitless and boundless. ~ Archbishop Iosaph Skorodumov

The Dawning Dayspring connects all Creation through the Created! The Dayspring… the Orient from on High, refers to our merciful Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

May we all make Good Choices today… and be swathed in the Tender Mercy of His Redeeming, Healing, Peaceful, Love.

Parish Youth Choir Sing ~ 2023
🎵 Lord Have Mercy 🎵

Reflection of Their Grace

Photo shared by anonymous subscriber

Through the Holy Spirit comes our restoration to paradise, our ascension into the kingdom of heaven, our return to the adoption of sons, our liberty to call God our Father, our being made partakers of the grace of Christ, our being called children of light, our sharing in eternal glory, and, in a word, our being brought into a state of all “fullness of blessing,” both in this world and in the world to come, of all the good gifts that are in store for us, by promise hereof, through faith, beholding the reflection of their grace as though they were already present, we await the full enjoyment. ~ St. Basil the Great

Shuttled Sagacity

Coconut Sunrise beach photo shared by Owen ~ Kauai 2023

Behave with people as you would if Christ were present. And so, you will never have regrets for anything or anyone. ~ Gerontissa Gavrilia

I didn’t mean to eavesdrop.

But, sitting in the front row of an airport shuttle bus, I couldn’t help but overhear another passenger’s glum observation (directed to the driver), on the difficulty of a certain situation.

The shuttle driver paused a moment to consider the remark, then sincerely and somewhat amusedly said…

“Well, like I tell my kidsNothing’s hard – unless you think it’s hard!

I Cluck. Therefore I Am.

Raindrops dot flowering Thunbergia Laurifolia vines overhanging tiered lava rocks. Kauai ~ 2023

Kauai is vibrant and beautiful. In my opinion, it’s the most Heavenly Island on God’s Green Earth.

However, along with the spectacular scenery, wonderful generous people, and tropical songbirds… there are also thousands of feral chickens and roosters everywhere!

These feathered creatures seem compelled to serenade the sleeping masses of humanity, sometimes as early as 3 am.

Lying drowsily in the predawn darkness, being treated to incessant crowing, chatty clucking, boisterous cackles, and hiccupping squawks… One (somewhat) amusedly ponders the logic of their little bird brains’ internal chronometers – channelling the mainland’s West Coast Time Zone? (3 hours ahead of Island Time)

Cocky Rooster Crashes Kapa’a Cafe

It’s a blessed relief to fall back asleep to the redeeming white noise of a pre-sunrise tropical rain shower, or the rattle of palm fronds rustling in the warm trade winds.

Without a doubt, chickens rule the roost in Kauai. Their competitive cacophony is heard everywhere… Whether strutting through restaurants, or scooting daringly across the proverbial road to the other side! I must admit though, the mother hens and chicks were darling. They almost broke me.

There was a fascinating book at the vacation home – An Ocean in Mind with some (fittingly) amazing quotes by Steve Somersen.

There’s a world out here that I didn’t know anything about until forced into it by my choices. Analytic thinking alone cannot bring understanding, and I’m glad of that. We aren’t searching for understanding, but understanding is coming as a result of the search. ~ Steve Somersen (An Ocean in Mind, by Will Kyselka)

I’ve used another of his poignant quotes as text on the feature beach image of my post No Matter Where…

Meanwhile, I’m home again, and have come to the stunning, perplexing conclusion I actually miss hearing those foul rascally fowl!? They cluck. Ergo sum. Go figure!

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.

Opening the Doors of Our Hearts

Cypress Church by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Upon opening
the stolid doors of our hearts
we are swathed in Light.

It is but a choice
to cross the threshold and run
to Divine Wisdom.

Immersed and sheltered
within His Numinous Light,
our true life begins.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. ~ Isaiah 9:2

O my God, Lord of Sabaoth [Lord of Hosts], enlighten the darkness of our hearts that we may see Thee, the true light, the blessed light that enlightens and gladdens the hearts of Thy friends. Enlighten us that we may follow Thee until the eternal rest. ~ Elder Ephraim, Counsels from the Holy Mountain

As if a beam of light falls upon us from heaven and enlightens everything in us and around us. It is a manifestation of the power of God. As if the Lord is saying through us, “Let there be Light”. And the light comes, and a new life appears before our eyes, the life we did not think existed. If only we focus our attention on good thoughts. ~ Orthodox Christianity, Bishop Alexander Mileant

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!

Eye Hath Not Seen

Outdoor Mosaic, St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 2: 9-12

The soul leaves all surface appearances, not only those that can be grasped by the senses but also those which the mind itself seems to see, and it keeps going deeper until by the operation of the spirit it penetrates the invisible and incomprehensible, and it is there that it sees God. The true vision and the true knowledge of what we seek consists precisely in not seeing, in an awareness that our goal transcends all knowledge… ~ St. Gregory of Nyssa

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