In Thy Light…

For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. ~ Psalm 36:9

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~ St.  John 1:5

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” ~ St. John 8:12

We are all vessels, sometimes of Light and sometimes of Darkness. ~ St. Gavrilia

O Lord, enlighten my darkness. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

A recent evening walk along the beach was exhilarating. The Light? Perfect. Mysterious. Discovery of tiny mirrors of the great were reflected in the rocky outcroppings of tidal pools.

The phrase “…For with Thee is the fountain of life; in Thy Light we shall see light; O continue Thy mercy unto them that know Thee…” from the Doxology Hymn, resounded joyfully and encouragingly in my heart. Indeed! Nature is the Secret Gospel!

A Shining New Saint!

Mother Gavrilia (Gabriela) Public Domain Photo from OrthodoxWiki

It gave me the greatest joy to learn yesterday (October 3, 2023), that Eldress (Gerontissa) Mother Gavrilia was canonized a saint!

Her Feast Day is the date of her Heavenly Birthday, March 28th.

Our Venerable and God-bearing Mother Gavrilia the New Ascetic of Love has been added to the Synaxarion.

While it’s “official” now… I’m thrilled, as she has helped me and so many others “unofficially” – for quite some time.

Her inspiring, joyful quotes are salt and peppered throughout Blisswood, flavouring the various postings. (View by the “Gerontissa Gavrilia quote” tag in other posts)

Although this amazing, inspiring, book is currently and sadly out of print, I highly recommended it at a recent parish sisterhood meeting.

Given that Mother Gavrilia was just canonized, God-Willing, there may well be new publication(s) of this book!

Added new note November 29, 2023: Yes you may order the new editions here through Not of This World Icons and Books at Holy Dormition Orthodox Church!


It was a delight reading this conglomerate of practical, encouraging letters to laypeople and friends over the decades, including priceless, pearls of wisdom to her fellow nuns, when she later became a monastic in her 60’s.

Mother Gavrilia saw Christ in everyone, and was imbued with sincere, simple, Christian love… a verdant, precious example to other Orthodox Christians and to those of different faiths.

She LIVED her Faith in Pure Love.

Now the worker of love the revered ascetic Gabriela, who is our aid in misfortune and succour in mortal hardship, the missionary of Christ, let us be wakeful in offering her impressionable hymns, that she may entreat the Creator on our behalf who bless her. ~ Apolytikion in Plagal of the Fifth Tone

Fervent love joined with humility, you lived in the world but lived outside the world, praying and offering herself as a sacrifice to Christ, to her we ardently sing hymns, the divinely luminous Gabriela, the ascetic, crying out with longing: Rejoice, mother inspired by God. ~ Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone

A bright lamp and ray of missionaries, a new boast of ascetics, for your fiery love towards your neighbour, we cry out to you with longing, Gabriela. ~ Megalynarion

She is now closer than ever!

Reach out to her and she will come quickly and lovingly to your aid… leaving the Peace from Above and Joy in her wake.

Through the holy intercessions of our Venerable and God-bearing Mother Gavrilia the New Ascetic of Love, O Christ our God, have mercy on us, and save us!

Amen.

Blisswood 500

Image by Felix Mittermeier from Pixabay

What a wonderful day the Lord has provided!

Each dawn is a blessing… new and fresh, with golden opportunities!

A few years ago, in anticipation of sowing the online seeds for this Blisswood site, I also read (from several sources) that a serious blogger needs the strong roots of at least 500 posts to even be considered a beginner blogger.

Quickly accepting the obvious… that I couldn’t (and can’t) do this on my own was a huge relief. I had to let go, and let God help! And, thanks be to God, I’m officially a beginner blogger… 🙂

Thank you for visiting Blisswood!

You’ve helped funnel my writing voice as a creative outlet, moving me to reflect upon my faith and what helps keeps me buoyant on the stormy seas of life. I try to share what’s joyful, optimistic and uplifting… especially during these trying world times.

Thank you for subscribing, and keeping me on my toes!

Thank you for the inspiring suggestions, encouraging emails, and sharing these posts!

Thank you for your prayers!

With continuing gratitude…

Love in Christ,

m. Barbara

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

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

Dry Spells

Sometimes we are tested by pleasure, sometimes by distress or by physical suffering. By means of His prescriptions the Physician of souls administers the remedy according to the cause of the passions lying hidden in the soul. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

We know God is with us, but sometimes there may be struggles to feel His Presence and Love, or even pray. Yet, there is a consolation!

During times of spiritual dryness, faithful perseverance in prayer is the sweetest of all our prayers to God. By clinging tenaciously to Christ’s love with prayer, regardless of circumstances, we are blessed.

4th Century St. Macarius the Great reminds: One must force himself to prayer when he has not spiritual prayer, and God, beholding him thus striving, and compelling himself by force, in spite of an unwilling heart, gives him the true prayer of the Spirit.

The Holy Apostle Paul writes the rewards of perseverance in prayer: And we also have joy with our troubles because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces experience, and experience produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. God gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us. ~ Romans 5:3-5

Archpriest Nikolai Guryanov encourages: Do not grieve, do not be sad: Again will come a time to be glad; patiently wait, patiently endure, to those who wait will come their reward!

Everything that has a beginning has an end… Except for God, Who is beginningless.

This is just for now!

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