All Saints of North America

Today we celebrated All Saints of North America!

Above – 3 Icons of saints celebrated today: Synaxis of All Saints of America, 3rd century physicians Sts. Cosmas and Damian and St. Nikolai Velimirovich.

Excellent Resource and List of North American Saints

Come, let us praise the saints of North America, holy hierarchs, venerable monastics, and glorious martyrs, pious men, women, and children, both known and unknown! Through their words and deeds in various walks of life, by the grace of the Spirit they achieved true holiness. As they now stand before Christ Who glorified them, and they pray for us who celebrate their memory with love… ~ Stichos 6; Stichera of the North American Saints

Rejoice… leap for joy, O waters of the Great Lakes; rise up, O fertile plains of Canada; for the elect of Christ who dwelt in you are glorified, men and women who left their homes for a new land! With faith, hope and patience as their armour, they courageously fought the good fight. Comforted by the beauty of the Orthodox Faith… ~ Stichos 1; Stichera of the North American Saints

It’s wonderful to joyfully celebrate so great and shining cloud of witnesses in our land!

When I first came to Orthodoxy, I was greatly influenced by reading the life of the recently canonized (1980) young indigenous martyr, St. Peter the Aleut. (Seen on the far right of the Synaxis of the Saints of America icon) He touched my heart, and I love him dearly.

Recent – Canonization of Matushka Olga of Alaska

Through the prayers of Matushka Olga and of all the Saints who have shone forth in North America, may the Lord grant His mercy and blessings.

Amen!

However Difficult It May Seem

At Holy Virgin Cathedral San Francisco, January 7th 2024 – Shared by Anastasia

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Greetings on the 6th Day of Christmas!

There’s nothing more beautiful or sweeter than to love the Lord Jesus. ~ St. Joseph the Hesychast

We don’t pursue hardships but if they come, we face them through steadfastness and prayer. ~ St. Paisios

Lord, I beg you… Do Your own will in me. However difficult it may seem to me, it will be easy because it will be Yours! ~ St. Gavrilia

Congratulations on your Saint’s Day, Anysia! May 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.

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

No Greater Sin

Image by Daniel from Pixabay

I was somehow taken by the feeling of the universe’s sufferings. My experience from the First World War and the Russian Revolution that followed contributed to this. I lived for years in a suffocating atmosphere of Fratricidal hatred, first because of the World War and then because of the civil war. Since then it is better for me to hear about perhaps the thousands of victims of earthquakes, floods, epidemics and other disasters and catastrophes, which usually provoke the sympathy of all, than for wars – which almost without exception entice everyone to moral involvement in the killings. There is no greater sin than war. ~ St. Sophrony the Hagiorite

Pray for Peace!

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

Lord have Mercy!

Moving Forward With Hope

Cave Church Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

All of us sin constantly. We slip and fall… The Holy Fathers and the Saints always tell us, “It is important to get up immediately after a fall and to keep on walking toward God. Even if we fall a hundred times a day, it does not matter; we must get up and go on walking toward God without looking back.” What has happened has happened – it is in the past. Just keep going all the while asking for help from God. ~ Elder Thaddeus Vitovnica

Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly the angel who guards you will honour your patience. While a wound is still fresh and warm it is easy to heal, but old, neglected and festering ones are hard to cure, and require for their care much treatment, cutting, plastering and cauterization. Many from long neglect become incurable. But with God all things are possible ~ St. John of Kronstadt

Remembrance Day

Image by Tim Hill from Pixabay

Memory Eternal Judith, and Great Uncle Will.

With gratitude on Remembrance Day… to all who’ve served and continue to serve – protecting Canada and our freedom. Today we reflect upon our past, and look ahead with bright hope toward the future. Thank you for your courage, service, and sacrifice!

May our merciful God grant us His Peace from Above, especially to those in the midst of great suffering which continues, in many places.

In Flanders Fields

by Canadian John McCrae (1872 -1918); A poet, physician, author, artist and soldier during World War I. 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

May God grant us to be worthy of His Peace from Above!

Sprigs of Prayer

Thriving in Son Shine!

A drop of prayer is worth more than a sea of worrying. ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovic

There is no need at all to make long discourses, it is enough to stretch out one’s hands and say, “Lord, as You will, and as You know, have mercy.” And if the conflict grows fiercer say, “Lord, help!” He knows very well what we need and He shows us His mercy. ~ Abba Macarius

Since God is continuously present, why do you worry? For in Him we live and move. We are carried in His arms. We breathe God; we are vested with God; we touch God; we consume God in the Mystery. Wherever you turn, wherever you look, God is everywhere: in the heavens, on the earth, in the abysses, in the trees, within the rocks, in your nous [eye of the soul], in your heart. ~ St. Joseph the Hesychast

Lord, I do not know what to ask of You. You know better than me what my needs are. You love more than I know how to love. Help me to see clearly my real needs which I do not see. I open my heart to You. Examine and reveal to me my faults and sins. I put all trust in You. I have no other desire than to fulfill Your will. Teach me how to pray. Pray in me. Amen. ~ Prayers For All Occasions

Angelic Efforts

Progress on Altar Angel by Parish Mosaicists based on detail from background angels of a 6th century icon at the ancient St. Catherine’s Monastery of Mt. Sinai.

When we once begin to form good resolutions, God gives us every opportunity of carrying them out. ~ St. John Chrysostom

You can set up an altar to God in your minds by means of prayer. And so it is fitting to pray at your trade, on a journey, standing at a counter or sitting at your handicraft. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the angel who guards you will honour your patience. ~ St. John Chrysostom

We all do nearly nothing – some a little more, some a little less. When Christ sees our little effort, He gives us an analogous [matching] token; and so our “nearly nothing” becomes valuable, and we can see a little progress. For this reason we must not despair, but hope in God. ~ Elder Paisios of Mount Athos

April in August

April the Sunflower – was planted from seed in “the month of” and duly designated as such, by a certain young gardener.

O Christian! Remember this once and for all: even on cloudy days the sunflower continues to follow the sun in its focused love, even though it cannot see the sun. The Sun that illumines our life’s path is the will of God. It does not always shine on us without clouds, often, clear days are followed by overcast days when rains, winds, and storms arise, No Christian is safe from these phenomena, these changes in spiritual weather. May our love for the Sun, the will of God, be as strong as the sunflower’s, so that even in days of hardship and sorrow, we will continue to sail unerringly along the sea of life, following the directions of the barometer and compass of God’s will that leads us to the safe haven of eternity. ~ St. John of Tobolsk, from The Sunflower

As requested… the exciting, and surprising conclusion to the April in July posting, regarding the saga of a Sunflower’s struggle to survive.

Yes, indeed!

April the Sunflower BLOOMS!

Despite April’s previous dramatic turmoils… such as literally losing her head, and having her tiny stem chomped on by marauding beetles – that rascally little Helianthus just soldiered on, undeterred by the grim reaper loitering menacingly (complete with scythe) for weeks, beside the compost bin!

Turning her daily tribulations into a tour de force, April overcame all odds, and has faithfully blossomed forth.

Never wallowing in self-pity, she just kept growing, and doing what any sensible sunflower is supposed to do… No matter what!

Meanwhile, April continues to thrive and provide life-lessons, much to our family’s delight.

It’s no mere coincidence that her sunflower leaves are heart-shaped!

You Grow Girl!

💚

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