Privilege of Prayer

Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

No matter what misfortune might befall you, no matter what unpleasantness might occur, say ‘I will endure this for Jesus Christ’s sake!’ Just say that, and you will feel better, for the Name of Jesus Christ is powerful… Before It, all difficulties abate, and demons disappear. Your annoyance and faintness of heart will abate when you repeat His most sweet Name… ~ St. Anthony of Optina

When life hurls kitchen sinks our way; duck, cover, carry on, and ask God for help!

Or, we can choose to sit like a bump on a log, waiting for help to be doled out like a grand prize, as if it’s our due… because why should we have to ask for help? Doesn’t God know everything, anyway?

We are indeed given free will. God wants us as collaborators, and it’s up to us to decide whether to ask, or not ask for help. Even if we’ve never asked for help before! God loves us, truly loves us, and waits patiently for us to come to Him.

I’d like to re-share these short, powerful, (tried and true) prayers, to use when sucker-punched with anxiety over any (or constant) painful situation that rears its ugly head, or even if we’re not quite sure of what to pray for someone:

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on (fill in the blank)!

Or… Lord, help!

Or…

O Lord, You love (name) more than I,
And You can help (name) better than I,
And You know better than I, what is profitable for (him)(her).
So do for (name) what is best- only save (him)(her).

The short prayer above “O Lord, You love” is so very helpful, and positively over-rides useless, worrisome thoughts that may otherwise spin those windmills of our mind out of control. It also helps teach how to pray for someone when we’re not sure of how to pray. Feel free to add on your concerns in your own words. Unselfish, heartfelt prayer is prayer.

Prayer helps us to Faithfully endure uncertainties.

The Powerful and Sweetest Name of Jesus imbues us with Strength.

St. Gavrilia, the newly canonized saint (Oct. 3, 2023) whom I deeply revere, says in The Ascetic of Love (page 246):

When we… think of those for whom we wish to pray, we are induced to so by love. “Lord, You are the Source of Love. It is from this Source of Love that I draw too, and I offer you this person. Lord, I pray to You, grant him [her] Your Light, grant him Your Mercy, grant him Strength, grant him Faith, grant him all the abundant Blessings that You grant. All I can offer is my humble love.” After this introduction, you take a knot of the Komboskini [Prayer Rope] and say: “I pray for so and so… and for so and so…” visualizing each of these persons at the Feet of Christ, praying on their knees before Him – themselves in person, as the anonymous author of the Way of a Pilgrim says. I have long years of experience that with this prayer God works many miracles. Because God wants us as <<collaborators>>, no matter how worthless we may be. For we are His Creatures, and it is with these Creatures of His that He has to work…

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

There’s nothing is quite so precious as our praising God, even in adversity, and to humbly show gratitude thanking Him for all His Blessings… and for hearing us (even if the situation currently seems unresolved)! Because He HAS heard us, and WILL DO what’s best, according to His Plan.

What a privilege to carry what weighs upon our hearts to the Lord in prayer!

Through the prayers and intercessions of our most Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, our Guardian Angels, St. Gavrilia, and all the saints… thank you dear Lord, for hearing our prayers!

Amen!

Chrysalis

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Like a butterfly, we struggle to emerge from life’s various transitional states. Sometimes we’re tired. Sometimes we’re stuck. Sometimes there’s no progress whatsoever. Sometimes the chrysalis darkens and dies. But, if we gird up our loins, and punch our way through the cocoon’s tiny hole – to become whole, we begin anew! This challenging exit strategy fortifies our wings, and prepares us for flying. Through perseverance of trials, and with God’s help, we grow stronger!

May God bless our good intentions and efforts!

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!

Faith, Hope, and Charity

Garden flowers surround this Cross on the Exaltation Feast Day (Sept. 27/14). Along with the traditional red roses and basil, are chrysanthemums, mint, tarragon, tiny sprigs of green olives, (our tree finally produced!) and Chinese lanterns.

Greetings on the Feast Day of Sts. Sophia, and her daughters – Faith, Hope and Love (Sept. 30/17).

Congratulations on your Names’ Day Vera, Sophie, and Esperanza! May God grant you many years of good health, peace and joy in our Lord Jesus Christ.

A Prayer to Sts. Sophia, and her daughters Faith, Hope and Love

O holy and most praiseworthy Martyrs, Faith, Hope and Love, and wise mother Sophia of these glorious daughters: To you do we now hasten in heartfelt prayer; for what better representation can we have before the Lord, than faith, hope and charity, the three cornerstone virtues, which, bearing their names, ye embodied in fact. Entreat the Lord to shield us, save us and keep us in every sorrow and trouble, as One Who is good and loveth mankind. Pray that His glory, like a sun that never setteth, and which ye now see as becometh Saints, be with us in our humble prayers; may the Lord God forgive our sins and iniquities, and have mercy on us sinners who are unworthy of His generosity towards us. Pray indeed for us, ye holy Martyrs, unto our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom we send up glory, together with His Father Who is from everlasting, and His All-holy, and Good, and Life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.  ~ From “Polny Sbornik Molitv” p. 246     

Memory Eternal Michael, Nadezhda, and Faith!      

Free to Receive

Golden Petals Glow at Dawn

…God created the sun and the eye. Man is free to receive the sun’s light or not. The same is true here. God sends the light of knowledge like rays to all, but He gave us faith like an eye. The one who wants to receive knowledge through faith, keeps it by his works, and so God gives him more willingness, knowledge, and power. ~ St. Peter the Damascene

Angelic Banquet

The upcoming two week Dormition Fast which (on the civil calendar) begins August 14th, helps us prepare for the Feast Day on August 28th, of the Dormition – which means falling asleep, the repose of our most holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary!

Fasting possesses great power. To fast is to banquet with angels. ~ St. Athanasius the Great

And indeed that which I am about to say is wonderful, yea it is of those things which are very miraculous; yet not far from the truth, as you may be able to learn from the sacred writings. That great man Moses, when fasting, conversed with God, and received the law. The great and holy Elijah, when fasting, was thought worthy of divine visions, and at last was taken up like Him who ascended into heaven. And Daniel, when fasting, although a very young man, was entrusted with the mystery, and he alone understood the secret things of the king, and was thought worthy of divine visions. But because the length of the fast of these men was wonderful, and the days prolonged, let no man lightly fall into unbelief; but rather let him believe and know, that the contemplation of God, and the word which is from Him, suffice to nourish those who hear, and stand to them in place of all food. For the angels are no otherwise sustained than by beholding at all times the face of the Father, and of the Saviour who is in heaven. And thus Moses, as long as he talked with God, fasted indeed bodily, but was nourished by divine words. When he descended among men, and God had gone up from him, he suffered hunger like other men. For it is not said that he fasted longer than forty days – those in which he was conversing with God. And, generally, each one of the saints has been thought worthy of similar transcendent nourishment. ~ St. Athanasius the Great

May your Dormition Fast be peaceful and fruitful.

Thy Will Be Done

I had a heart-warming conversation with a friend regarding God’s Will. 

Asking her the result of a job interview, she grinned saying, “I haven’t heard anything back yet… but that’s okay, because it’s in God’s Hands. If I’m meant to get it, I will.”

Empowered Faith joyfully anticipates Providence’s decision come what may… knowing things will work out for the best regardless, because it’s God’s Will.

From feeble past experience when my personal agenda didn’t align with God’s will, I sometimes struggled (putting it mildly). By second and third-guessing myself, it never felt peaceful (big clue something wasn’t right). Sometimes, I would sort of acknowledge His Will… up to a point, not fully accepting it… and still doing what I thought best in spite of – (Much to my Guardian Angel’s chagrin).

This has made for more than one heck of a bumpy ride on occasion, me speeding nowhere… at a mindless Mach 10. When relinquishing the Driver’s Seat back to God, we’re freed from useless detours and snarled traffic jams along this mortal coil’s stretch of highway.

God’s Will is for us to keep His commandments and to give thanks for all things.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

With thankfulness and gratitude for my faithful friend, who’s a breath of fresh air…

May God grant us all strength and help to overcome the limitations of our own will… even if the path ahead seems unclear. May we allow Him to help us accept what appears difficult, or unbearable, or impossible according to our own will, by remembering that God loves us. That He knows and wants what’s best for us, and that He answers our petitions according to what’s best for our salvation.

Lord! Thou knowest all things. Do with me as Thou willest! ~St. Theophan the Recluse

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