Bouquets of Our Labour

Late blooming Michaelmas Daisies evoke joy in a past January Garden!

Flowers are indeed the Echoes of Eden, and there are over 250 species of the perennial Michaelmas Daisies which belong to the Aster family. They are a gardener’s delight!

Like the protecting miracles of Archangel Michael whom this flower is named after, it blooms brightly in the early fall upon Archangel Michael’s feast days… as if to battle the coming winter’s gloom.

In ancient Scotland, an old verse about Michaelmas Daisies says: Michaelmas Daisies, among the dede weed, bloom for St. Michael’s valorous deeds!

…each of us… resembles a flower, be it modest or lush, that makes a composition or adds unique fragrance. Altogether, we create a bouquet of our labours, talents, and most importantly, love of God and people – in short, the Church of Christ. ~ Marina Schmeleva

Flowers speak to us of the Love of God. ~ St. Porphyrios

Cultivate
those Petals of Paradise
in our hearts.

Let us bring
Bouquets of Labours to our
Saviour’s Feet.

Numinous Harmony

Foamy Lace – A Beach Microcosm – the Small within the Great!


The Holy Spirit binds together the separated spirits of each one of us. ~ St. Cyril of Alexandria

In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course. ~ St. Boniface

…put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. ~ Colossians 3:14

Sometimes the stars sing me to sleep with their silentness. ~ Shared by Ellie

Where ocean meets shore,
foamy constellations ebb –
eclipsing star shells.

Briny bubbles burst
like salty supernovae
in the waxing tide.

To Merge, to Become –
Triadic Axials of
Harmonic Oneness.

Ripples of Prayer

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Prayer breathes hope… ~ St. John of Kronstadt

The Angels and the Saints are also near to us in their names, as their names and our faith in them are near to our hearts; for they are nothing else but the breath of God, and are “one spirit with the Lord”. ~ St. John of Kronstadt

God does not interfere in our lives, but waits for us to ask Him to help us, for He respects our freedom. ~ St. Paisios the Athonite

Life is a Liturgy. It is not only in the church that the Liturgy takes place; the Liturgy is outside the church building too. The entirety of life should be a Liturgy – if you feel the existence of God… You never finish your prayer. The definition of prayer is this: the feeling of the presence of God in you. And if you have this feeling of the presence of God, you engage in a continual prayer. ~ Archimandrite Roman

Below is a new documentary filmed by the Saint Photios Orthodox Theological Seminary: The Little Convent.

The Holy Protection Convent in Bluffton, Alberta, is a place of precious spiritual beauty, which many (our family included), hold very dear and close in our hearts.

In this post-Christian world, we are so blessed there still are monastics… as their daily prayers asking God’s help for the whole world, ripple and resound continually!

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

Called to Be Saints

Image by Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay

Greetings on All Saints’ Day!

In the New Testament we are called to be saints, and the Orthodox Church gives the title of saint to those who throughout history, have lived and died in Christ.

While Canonized (Glorified) Saints have their own feast days, there are countless multitudes of saints who don’t have a feast day… and some of these are even nameless Saints – known only to God!

Since the 4th century in Eastern Christendom, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, the Church continues to commemorate All the Saints (both past/present, known/unknown)! As all are alive in Christ, the saints are our friends and alive in Heaven. They are venerated, but not worshipped.

Today is a joint celebration honouring the Holy Apostles who spread the Gospel to the four corners of the earth, as well as All the Saints who’ve shone forth great love of Christ… whether by living a God-pleasing, righteous life, or by receiving a martyric crown. 

[During the 8th century in Western Christendom, the Sunday of All Saints was transferred to the first Sunday in November – and even more recently was moved again to November 1st.]

Previous *All Saints’ Day* Blisswood Posts
God’s Garden ~ Posted June 14, 2020
Sunday of All Saints ~ Posted June 27, 2021
God Giveth the Increase ~ Posted June 19, 2022

Every one of us is the painter of his own life. Our soul is like the canvas, and the virtues are the paint. Jesus Christ is the image we should copy. ~ St. Gregory of Nyssa

To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 1:7

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s: ~ 1 Corinthians 1:2

We live together with them (the Saints in heaven), in the house of the Heavenly Father, only in different parts of it. We live in the earthly, they in the heavenly half; but we can converse with them, and they with us. ~ 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

May you have a blessed All Saints’ Feast Day!

She Who is Quick to Hear

For the health of a dear friend, family prayers were recently said in front of this special Icon, She Who is Quick to Hear.

The original wonderworking icon resides on Holy Mount Athos at the Dokhiareia monastery. There are many copies of it throughout the world. Tradition states the icon was written in the tenth century when the head of this monastery was St. Neophytes – who is also commemorated on the Icon’s Feast Day November 22/9. At its first miracle in 1664 AD, our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary promised, “From this time on, my icon shalt be named Quick-Hearing, and for all hastening to it, shalt there quickly appear, mercy and fulfillment of entreaties.”

To this day, the Most Holy Mother of God continues to fulfill Her promise and quickly offers help and consolation for all, who with faith, hasten to her. She hears every prayer!

This icon, a copy of She Who is Quick to Hear, belonged to my grandmother and given upon her baptism at 89 years of age, by a venerable matushka (the same age as she), who became her godmother, by proxy.

I’ll always remember my grandmother’s first visit to the church after her baptism. It was an arduous journey, for at that time we had no Orthodox church in our city and had to travel by car and ferry, a trip (3-4 hours each way) to church.

Her godmother – an aged matushka, could only speak Russian, and my grandmother could only speak English. However, upon greeting each other joyfully for the first time (before the church service began – and what would be their last time to ever see one another upon this earth), they embraced and chatted non-stop with each other… Matushka Eudocia in Russian, and my grandmother in English! I stood perplexed at this exchange. Then one of them apparently said something amusing to the other, and they both glanced over at me, giggled simultaneously over the anecdote… and happily continued their conversation until the service began.

Journeying home after church, I was bursting to know what my grandma and matushka Eudocia were chatting about? She responded matter-of-factly, “Surely you heard, my dear? You were standing there right beside us… and now Eudocia and I know each other better – before one of us heads off to Glory!”

I asked my grandma how could she understand matushka Eudocia, because matushka was speaking Russian?!

My grandmother smiled serenely, looked out the car window at the passing scenery and said, “We understood each other perfectly, my dear”.

And that was that!

Little Miracles occur everyday!

Memory Eternal dear Faith, and matushka Eudocia, who through the Power and Mystery of the Holy Spirit… transcended the barrier of language! Amen!

For the Peace From Above

Image by wal_172619 from Pixabay

Greetings on the Feast Day of St. Geneviève of Paris!

In peace, let us pray to the Lord. For the peace from above and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord. For the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of the holy churches of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord. That we may live out our lives in peace and repentance, let us pray to the Lord… ~ From the Great Litany

Making Impossible Possible

St. Nicholas Church in Juneau Alaska: Image by Simeon_B_Johnson from Pixabay

Nothing you see equals prayer, it makes the impossible possible, the difficult easy, and the crooked way straight. ~ St. John Chrysostom

If God is slow in answering your request, or if you ask but do not promptly receive anything, do not be upset, for you are not wiser than God. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian

God only gives three answers to prayer (Anonymous quote):
1. Yes!
2. Not yet.
3. I have something better in mind.

A snowflake is one of God’s most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together! ~ Vesta M. Kelly

For new-calendar friends and family celebrating Christmas this weekend, I wish you a most Happy, Blessed Christmas!

Annotation:
Merry Christmas is a greeting from the Old English (pre-12th century) words “Meriġe Crīstesmæsse” which, in the ancient sense, meant Blessed Christmas” and was used with the time-honoured salutation – Christ is Born!

Here is a joyful carol on why snowflakes dance! Little Pine Tree

With Love in Christ.

Peace on Earth

With heartfelt support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church during these turbulent times, painted rocks with Slava Ukraini (Glory to Ukraine), adorn a Canadian Orthodox Church garden.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
~ St. Matthew 5:9

Let us pray to the Lord… Stop the war that destroys lives and homes, give repentance to the oppressors, comfort the afflicted, guide the wandering, and plant peace and blessing in the hearts of Your servants. For the uprooting of hatred, enmity, and the desire for domination from the hearts of those who oppress the innocent, to bring among them unfeigned love, understanding, and peaceful co-existence, and put an end to war, disturbance, and human suffering, let us pray to the Lord. That He may deliver the oppressed from distress by the onslaught of armies, and turn the oppressors from evil and lead them to peace and love, that no one may perish, and that peace may reign on earth, unto the joy of His Church and people, let us pray to the Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, our God, who art the Source of life and peace in heaven and on earth, pour out the grace of your peace on a world troubled by war and hatred. Extinguish the differences and enmity between humans and pour into the hearts of all humility, peace, and goodness… Let us pray to the Lord. ~ Special Petitions for Peace; Romanian Orthodox Church

…There is no greater sin than war. ~ St. Sophrony the Hagiorite

As we draw nigh unto the Bright Feast of Christ’s Holy Nativity, may we seek and find the True, Healing Peace from Above, within the Bethlehem of our hearts.

Prayer for Peace

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!

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