Come, Magnify Him!

Garden bouquet, picked for a friend this week: Heather, Viburnum, Pieris Japonica, Sword Fern

Light was first
Through the Lord’s
word Named day:
Beauteous, bright creation! ~ St. Caedmon

Greetings on St. Caedmon’s Day!

This 7th century British Saint heard angels sing, and recorded their heavenly hymn which became the earliest English poem in existence!

Previous Blisswood post shows the ruins of the ancient Whitby monastery where St. Caedmon lived.

After reading St. Caedmon’s Hymn from these Latin, Moore/Leningrad Northumbrian Dialects/Bodleian West Saxon sources and translations – this poem achingly called to me, asking to be adapted further.

I translated it into a more contemporary old English and put my adaptation to the ancient melody of the 13th century Byzantine Hymn: Defte Lai.

My version of St. Caedmon’s Hymn with Sheet music here.

Below is my version of St. Caedmon’s Creation Hymn, rusticly sung and recorded, accompanied by my faux-lyre (ukulele) using the chords: Fm; Cm; and B♭m.

Come magnify Him,
Creator of the firmament,
Author of each and all,
And glorify His purpose;
Love, Invincible.

Come and honour Him,
Protector of Fair Paradise,
Holy, Mighty, Immortal,
Architect, Omnipotent;
Father of Glory.
Blessed, Timeless, Lord,
Thou hast established Thy wonders,
Before middle earth* was formed,
Or adorned with Thought of Mind;
Lord, God Almighty!

For the sons of men;
Thou formed the Roof of Heaven!

* Middle earth (not just a Tolkien invention)- it means the world, the middle enclosure – which exists between heaven and hell. From Middle English middel-erde, and Old English middangeard.

I’m grateful for the heavenly hymn St. Caedmon has bequeathed to us, and his role in the early English Orthodox church… From his beginnings as a humble shepherd – to his subsequent life as a meek monk in a great, historic, monastery.

When the song of the lips becomes the song of the soul, we’re able to – bit by bit, acquire a small, uplifting, repertoire of prayerful Psalmody from the heart – by singing anytime praises to the Glory of God!

Sweet Essence of Eden

Fragrant, plumeria blossom falls to rest on neighbouring Heliconia Rostrata leaf (Hanging Lobster Claw Flower) ~ Kauai 2023

Every flower is fragrant through the power of the Holy Spirit, in a delicate flow of aroma and tenderness of colour; the beauty of the Great contained in what is small. ~Akathist Glory to God for All Things, Kontakion 3

Without winter there would be no spring, and without spring there would be no summer. So it is also in the spiritual life: a little consolation, and then a little grief-and thus little by little we work out our salvation. Let us accept everything from the hand of God. ~St. Joseph the Hesychast

Everything that God has created is beautiful!

Even the flowers are full of grace!

Like so many places all over the world that are special to each one of us – to me, Hawaii is the Living Epitome of Heavenly Fragrance. It still contains the Sweet Essence of Eden with: Aromatic maile (MY-lee) leaves from the rainforest… Divinely fragrant, mangoes that hang as luscious, topaz jewels… Delightfully perfumed blooms of pikake, jasmine, lilies, and plumeria…

All of these and more, help awaken the numinous senses with Awe in Nature’s Mysterious Beauty of the Great.

When we perceive God’s Gift of Nature, how can we not admire it?

How can we not be grateful for consoling glimpses and reminders that Paradisiacal Eden – once our Original Home – is never very far away from us?

May we take time today to observe, touch and smell one flower!

May we listen to the still, small, voice of flowers that continue to magnify our Creator!

May we actively allow our day to be filled with the Sweet Essence of Eden and the Divine Fragrance of Christ!

Cleansing the Door of Our Perceptions

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Christ is Risen!

“Let us go forth in peace” is the last commandment of the Liturgy. What does it mean? It means, surely, that the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy is not an end but a beginning. Those words, “Let us go forth in peace,” are not merely a comforting epilogue. They are a call to serve and bear witness. In effect, those words, “Let us go forth in peace,” mean the Liturgy is over, the liturgy after the Liturgy is about to begin. This, then, is the aim of the Liturgy: that we should return to the world with the doors of our perceptions cleansed. We should return to the world after the Liturgy, seeing Christ in every human person, especially in those who suffer. In the words of Father Alexander Schmemann, the Christian is the one who wherever he or she looks, everywhere sees Christ and rejoices in him. We are to go out, then, from the Liturgy and see Christ everywhere. ~ Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of Diokleia

What does God want me to do? …The answer: God is not interested in where you are or what you do… He is interested only in the quality and quantity of the love you give. Nothing else. Nothing else. ~ Mother Gabrielia

God is everywhere.  There is no place God is not…You cry out to Him, ‘Where art Thou, my God?’  And He answers, “I am present, my child! I am always beside you.’  Both inside and outside, above and below, wherever you turn, everything shouts, ‘God!’  In Him we live and move. We breathe God, we eat God, we clothe ourselves with God.  Everything praises and blesses God.  All of creation shouts His praise. Everything animate and inanimate speaks wondrously and glorifies the Creator. Let every breath praise the Lord! ~ St. Joseph the Hesychast, 78th Letter

His Steadfast Love

Image by Michaela from Pixabay

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! ~ Psalm 7: 7, 10-11

Look at the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds, which are higher than you. ~ Job 35:5

In love did God bring the world into existence; in love does He guide it during its temporal existence; in love is He going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the Great Mystery of Him who has performed all these things. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian

From the Sea to the Clouds

A peaceful sunset walk by the sea is reviving for soul, mind and body. Isn’t it amazing to ponder that all water on Earth is and always has been continually recycled through the hydrosphere of our oceans, rivers, lakes and clouds? Everything is connected. Everything. And how blessed we are to be part of this Everything!

Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. ~ Isaiah 42:10

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. ~ Ecclesiastes 1:7

It is easier to measure the entire sea with a tiny cup than to grasp the ineffable greatness of God with the human mind. ~St. Basil the Great

When you see the light, do not forget Him who gave it to you; when you see the sky, the earth, the sea and all that is in them, marvel at these things and glorify their Creator... In short, if everything you do becomes for you an occasion for glorifying God, you will be praying unceasingly. And in this way your soul will always rejoice… ~ St. Peter of Damascus, Philokalia

…But accept the fountain of my tears, Thou who dost gather the waters of the sea to clouds. Bow down Thine ear to the sighing of my heart, Thou who didst bow the heavens in Thine ineffable condescension… ~ Hymn of Kassiani

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!

Be Still

Camellias Bloom by Church Wall

In floral language, the Camellia Japonica is considered a symbol of purity.

I want creation to penetrate you with so much admiration that everywhere, wherever you may be, the least plant may bring to you the clear remembrance of the Creator. If you see the grass of the fields, think of human nature, and remember the comparison of the wise Isaiah. “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.” ~ St. Basil the Great

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. ~ Isaiah 40:8

Be still, and know that I am God… ~ Psalm 46:10

Silence is the mystery of the age to come. ~ St Isaac of Syria

May your Lenten Journey be quiet, peaceful, and fruitful.

The Orient From on High

Yesterday’s Dawn by Juliana T.

The Dayspring, the Dawn, the Sun of Righteousness, the Orient from on High, refers to our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

God Himself is called the Sun, (Psalm 84:11). As the Source of Light, and Light itself, God gives this same title to His only-begotten Son, who appears on earth as the Dawn of a new day… the Day of the Lord which enlightens those who sit in darkness and in the land of the shadow of death (Isaiah 9:2).

It is not without reason or by chance that we worship towards the East. But seeing that we are composed of a visible and an invisible nature, that is to say, of a nature partly of spirit and partly of sense, we render also a twofold worship to the Creator; just as we sing both with our spirit and our bodily lips, and are baptized with both water and Spirit, and are united with the Lord in a twofold manner, being sharers in the Mysteries and in the grace of the Spirit. Since, therefore, God is spiritual light, and Christ is called in the Scriptures Sun of Righteousness and Dayspring, the East is the direction that must be assigned to His worship. For everything good must be assigned to Him from Whom every good thing arises. Indeed the divine David also says, Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth: O sing praises unto the Lord: to Him that rideth upon the Heavens of heavens towards the East. Moreover the Scripture also says, And God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed: and when he had transgressed His command He expelled him and made him to dwell over against the delights of Paradise, which clearly is the West. So, then, we worship God seeking and striving after our old fatherland. Moreover the tent of Moses had its veil and mercy seat towards the East. Also the tribe of Judah as the most precious pitched their camp on the East. Also in the celebrated temple of Solomon, the Gate of the Lord was placed eastward. Moreover Christ, when He hung on the Cross, had His face turned towards the West, and so we worship, striving after Him. And when He was received again into Heaven He was borne towards the East, and thus His apostles worship Him, and thus He will come again in the way in which they beheld Him going towards Heaven; as the Lord Himself said, As the lightning cometh out of the East and shineth even unto the West, so also shall the coming of the Son of Man be. So, then, in expectation of His coming we worship towards the East. But this tradition of the apostles is unwritten. For much that has been handed down to us by tradition is unwritten. ~ St. John of Damascus

Christ, the Sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2), is without beginning and pre-eternal. He is both immutable and unchangeable, as with Him there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning (James 1:17). He is without end, never-setting, beaming out the true and heavenly light of day without evening, in which the spirits of the righteousness live with the good angels. When this present age reaches its end, the righteous shall also have their bodies with them, as heirs of the light and sons of the true day. That day continues forever without evening, and neither has, nor ever did have, a morning, since it has no beginning. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

Garments of Grace

Beautiful Golden Thread Embroidery for Vestments ~ New York Garment District, 2017

A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; ~Ecclesiastes 3:7

The Garments of God and Man ~ Sergei Komarov

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? ~ St. Luke 12: 27-28

As a moth gnaws a garment, so doth envy consume a person. ~ St. John Chrysostom

And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. ~ Hebrews 1:10-12

…O Christ, who art covered with light as though with a garment, who for my sake stood naked in front of Pilate, clothe me with that might which you caused to overshadow the saints, whereby they conquered this world of struggle. May your Divinity, Lord, take pleasure in me, and lead me above the world to be with you.~St. Isaac the Syrian

If our human nature is not kept pure or else restored to its original purity by the Holy Spirit, it cannot become one body and one spirit in Christ, either in this life or in the harmonious order of the life to come. For the all-embracing and unifying power of the Spirit does not complete the new garment of grace by sewing on to it a patch taken from the old garment of the passions. ~ St. Gregory of Sinai (The Philokalia)

The Spiritual Sustainability of our Garments of Grace, is a Lifetime Labour. We’re all works in progress, and by standing still, go nowhere. As thread follows a needle (African proverb), it’s through good actions and efforts that we move forward and obtain results.

By directing our numinous eyes on the binding of torn seams, the darning of tiny holes before they grow and gape, and reinforcing loose buttons before they fall off – forever lost; it’s only with God’s help, that we mend.

Whether offering a stitch in time to aid a friend or brother in need, or faithfully tempering choices by measuring at least seven times, before cutting once (Russian proverb), these too, are inclusive of the Sewing Circle.

We can’t work it alone.

Let’s try to remember more often, to reach out to the Giver of Light for help to persevere until the end, to enlighten the vesture of our soul… and to save us.

Crystalline Cantatas

Beautiful Star Mosaic by Melania

If we could hear stars sing their crystalline cantatas of praise to the Creator, our hearts would be so effused with such Divine sweetness and yearning; it would be unbearably impossible to not join in chorus of jubilation with them.

What sort of praise can I give Thee? I have never heard the song of the Cherubim, a joy reserved for the spirits above. But I know the praises that nature sings to Thee. In winter, I have beheld how silently in the moonlight the whole earth offers Thee prayer, clad in its white mantle of snow, sparkling like diamonds. I have seen how the rising sun rejoices in Thee, how the song of the birds is a chorus of praise to Thee. I have heard the mysterious mutterings of the forests about Thee, and the winds singing Thy praise as they stir the waters. I have understood how the choirs of stars proclaim Thy glory as they move forever in the depths of infinite space. What is my poor worship! All nature obeys Thee, I do not. Yet while I live, I see Thy love, I long to thank Thee, and call upon Thy name. ~ Ikos 12, (The Akathist Hymn: Glory to God for All Things)

The firmament has the stars for its beauty, and dispassion has the virtues for its adornments. ~ St. John of the Ladder

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