Always, Now, & Ever!

Greetings on the (2nd) Day of the Holy Spirit!

Blessed Feast!

Yesterday’s beautiful Trinity Sunday Pentecost Vespers prayers were read aloud with an accompaniment of joyous birdsong, filtering through open church windows. Melodious cheeps and chirps of praise peppered the prayers delighting my heart and soul. Nature is indeed the Secret Gospel!

The Holy Spirit has always been, is now and ever shall be, having neither beginning nor end, but one with the Father and the Son: life and life giving; goodness itself and source of goodness, through Whom the Father is made known and the Son is glorified, and is known by all: one power, one unity, one worship, of the Holy Trinity. ~ Pentecost Vespers

I praise the Godhead, unity in three persons, for the Father is light, the Son is light, and the Spirit is light; but the light remains undivided, shining forth in oneness of nature; yet in the three rays of the persons! ~ Matins, Sunday of the Cross

Bless thou the Lord, and let thine song delight the world. ~ Holy Apostle St. Nathanial (Bartholomew)who, during the 9th century, appeared and spoke these words to a monk, St. Joseph the Melodist in a monastery altar... The Apostle Nathanial lifted the holy Gospel from the sacred altar, and placed it on the chest of the Saint, then blessed him. This was the beginning of the divine gift he desired. 

Today, we also celebrate the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “It is Truly Meet” (“Axion Estin”).

Parish Youth Choir sings It is Truly Meet to Bless Thee O Theotokos:

Congratulations on your Saint’s Day, godson Nathanial! May God grant you many years!

Throwing Ourselves

Detail of the Christ Child in the Orans Icon

Let us open our arms and throw ourselves into Christ’s embrace. When Christ comes, we will have gained everything. Christ will alter everything within us. He will bring peace, joy, humility, love, prayer and the uplifting of our soul. The Grace of Christ will renew us. ~ Elder Porphyrios (Wounded By Love)

…Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~ St. Matthew 18:3

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

Pray like a child, in simplicity of heart, concerning all your needs and sorrows, and entrust yourself to God’s Will, for the Lord arranges our salvation. ~ St. Nikon

May we, like trusting children, remember (more often), to run with the outstretched arms of our soul – and hurl ourselves into the warm, comforting Embrace of Christ’s Everlasting Arms!

He’s patiently and lovingly waiting.

For us.

Right now.

Comfort and Joy

Cabin Wood Stove Radiates Cozy Comfort from Cold

He who has the Kingdom of God within himself will imperceptibly pass it on to others. People will be attracted by the peace and warmth in us; they will want to be near us, and the atmosphere of Heaven will gradually pass on to them. It is not even necessary to speak to people about this. The atmosphere of Heaven will radiate from us even when we keep silence or talk about ordinary things. ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

One blustery afternoon, we returned to the chilly cabin from a seaside hike, and quickly lit the fire. It was soothing to hear the kindling crackle and smell the woodsmoke. Pretty soon the stove was ablaze and we sat in companionable silence soaking in its warmth… completely mesmerized by the light-show of its dancing, vermillion embers. As we drank in the peaceful atmosphere, it was amazing to think of how simply being in the presence of a cozy fire could bring such a gift of quiet joy. With gratitude, it’s reminded me that in my life, I’ve been blessed with knowing people who emit this exact refreshing radiance and spiritual peace to others – simply by being in their presence! For, they are imbued with the Gladsome Light of Jesus Christ… our Salvific, and Divine – Comfort and Joy.

Greetings on tomorrow’s ancient, joyful Feast Day of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple!

Wishing you a most blessed day today, and Feast Day on the morrow!

With Love in Christ.

Three in One

Image by Nhân Nguyễn from Pixabay

As the Holy Trinity, our God is One Being, although Three Persons, so, likewise, we ourselves must be one. As our God is indivisible, we also must be indivisible, as though we were one man, one mind, one will, one heart, one goodness, without the smallest admixture of malice – in a word, one pure love, as God is Love. “That they may be one, even as We are One.” (St. John 17:22) ~ St. John of Kronstadt.

…we shall begin… by applying identical expressions to the Three. ‘He was the true light that enlightens every man coming into the world’ (St. John 1:9) – yes, the Father. ‘He was the true light that enlightens every man coming into the world’ -yes, the Son. ‘He was the true light that enlightens every man coming into the world’ -yes, the Comforter. These are the three subjects and three verbs – He was and He was and He was. But a single reality was. There are three predicates – light and light and light. But the light is one, God is one. This is the beginning of David’s prophetic vision: ‘In Your light shall we see light’ (Psalm 36:9). We receive the Son’s light from the Father’s light in the light of the Spirit: that is what we ourselves have seen and what we now proclaim – it is the plain and simple explanation of the Trinity. ~St. Gregory Nazianzus (On Christ and God, Oration 31:3)

The three-leafed shamrock on a single stem, was used by 5th century St. Patrick to illustrate the Holy Trinity – our One God in Three Persons. St. Patrick wrote many hymns. Here is a short excerpt from a longer, beautiful hymn. “I bind unto myself today, the Strong Name of the Trinity! By Invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three!”   

Sparks Among the Stubble

But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery, And their going from us to be utter destruction: but they are in peace. For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality. And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself. As gold in the furnace hath he tried them, and received them as a burnt offering. And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble. They shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign for ever. They that put their trust in him shall understand the truth: and such as be faithful in love shall abide with him: for grace and mercy is to his saints, and he hath care for his elect. ~Wisdom 3:1-9

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. ~Revelation 21:4

With heartfelt prayers to those suffering loss. May God comfort and ease your pain through His Great Love and Mercy.

Song of Bread

He who asks to receive his daily bread does not automatically receive it in its fullness as it is in itself: he receives it according to his own capacity as recipient. The Bread of Life (cf. St. John 6:35) gives Himself in His love to all who ask, but not in the same way to all; for He gives Himself more fully to those who have performed great acts of righteousness, and in smaller measure to those who have not achieved so much. He gives Himself to each person according to that person’s spiritual ability to receive Him. ~St. Maximos the Confessor

The Lord promised to send the Comforter. (St. John 16:7), Who should join us to God. For as a compacted lump of dough cannot be formed of dry wheat without fluid matter, nor can a loaf possess unity, so, in like manner, neither could we, being many, be made one in Christ Jesus without the water from heaven. And as dry earth does not bring forth unless it receives moisture, in like manner we also, being originally a dry tree, could never have brought forth fruit unto life without the voluntary rain from above. For our bodies have received unity among themselves by means of that laver which leads to incorruption; but our souls, by means of the Spirit. Wherefore, both are necessary, since both contribute towards the life of God. ~ St. Irenaeus of Lyons

Day of the Holy Spirit

Altar Mosaic Hospitality of Abraham in St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada (Based on the mosaic from 6th century church St. Vitale, in Ravenna, Italy)

On the day after every Great Feast, the post-feast honours the one through whom the Feast Day is made possible. Today is called Day of the Holy Spirit. It is the 2nd of the three days in a row dedicated to the Holy Spirit, with Pentecost beginning the three-day run. This whole week is fast-free.

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 savor of Christ’… ‘Every soul is quickened by the Holy Spirit.’ Recognize that the Holy Spirit stands in the same relation to your soul as air stands in relation to your body… The Holy Spirit comforts the believing soul, as a mother comforts her child. ~ St. John of Kronstadt

The grace of the Holy Spirit which is given mystically to every Christian when he is baptized acts and is manifested in proportion to our obedience to the commandments of the Lord. That is, if a Christian obeys the commandments of the Lord more, grace acts with him more, while if he obeys them less, grace acts within him less. Just as a spark, when covered in the ashes of fire becomes increasingly manifest as one removes the ashes, and the more fire wood you put the more the fire burns, so the grace that has been given to every Christian through Holy Baptism is hidden in the heart and covered up by the passions and sins, and the more a man acts in accordance with the commandments of Christ, the more he is cleansed of the passions and the more the fire of Divine grace lights in his heart, illumines and deifies him. ~ St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain


Happy Holy Spirit Day

Hospitality of Abraham Icon St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada

Happy Holy Spirit Day!

Over the years I’ve noticed that on Pentecost and the following day (Holy Spirit Day), it seems breezier than usual. The trees, flowers and grasses sway and dance in the gentle winds. The Breath of the Holy Spirit encircles all. Today the sun shines brighter. More golden. Today the birds sing sweeter. Today a wordless song of gratitude bubbles up within me – a fountain of joy… Thanking God, for everything. (Even my sore foot!)

Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. ~ Psalm 100:2  

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. ~ Isaiah 55:12

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance… ~Galatians 5:22-23

For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth, … but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord… ~ Ephesians 5: 9, 18, 19

The closer we approach God, the closer we approach each other, just as the closer rays of light are to each other, the closer they are to the Sun. In the coming Kingdom of God there will be unity, mutual love and concord. The Holy Trinity remains eternally unchanging, all-perfect, united in essence and indivisible. ~ St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco

The One, Indivisible Trinity ever remains the Trinity. The Father always remains the Father, the Son remains the Son, the Holy Spirit remains the Holy Spirit. Besides Their personal Properties, They all share all in common and in unity. That is why the Holy Trinity is One God. ~ St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco

The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who fills the whole universe, passes through all believing, meek, humble, good, and simple human souls, dwelling in them, vivifying and strengthening them. He becomes one spirit with them and everything to them – light, strength, peace, joy, success in their undertakings, especially in a pious life, and everything good – “going through all understanding, pure and most subtle spirits” … filled with the Spirit of God similarly as a sponge is filled with water. ~ St. John of Kronstadt.

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