Now is the Most Precious Time

Image by Sue Rickhuss from Pixabay

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. ~ St. John 12:24

From this day, from this hour, from this minute, let us strive to love God above all, and fulfill His holy will. ~ St. Herman of Alaska

There’s a ponderous inscription over the entry gates of St. Paul’s monastery on Mt. Athos saying, If you die before you die, then you won’t die when you die.

We habitually assume there’ll be plenty of time later to tackle our lengthy spiritual to-do lists. But, in turn, each of us will be brought to stand before God and give account of our life. So now is the most precious time for efforts. Now never comes again. Lord, help us to live in Christ – now!

…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
~ 2 Corinthians 6:2

Not of This World

Photo Art by Juliana

There is an ineffable instant in the Liturgy’s Eucharistic Anaphora where heaven and earth converge in Divine Sanctification- unfettered by time or space.

This is a Great Mystery.

Seasons of Time

Backyard Foliage as it Turns… Turns… Turns

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The Book of Ecclesiastes is attributed to King Solomon and written circa the 10th century BC. During the mid- 20th century AD, the King James Bible’s version of these verses were borrowed and adapted into a folk melody called Turn, Turn Turn.

Initially “written” and arranged by Pete Seeger in the late 1950’s, it was The Byrds’ 1965 recording of his song that made it a number 1 hit with the oldest lyrics.

The song became synonymous with that decade’s escalating protests and poignant pleas for world peace.

Even in my youth, this song made a huge impression on me, and the wise words quoted from Ecclesiastes are… Timeless.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:18

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. ~ Romans 13:11

They Dance for Joy

Detail of Mosaic Panel of Creation – St. Sophia Orthodox Church – Canada

angels… are always being filled full of light, becoming ever more radiant and making blessed use of their natural ability to change. They dance for joy around the First Light, look continuously towards Him and are enlightened directly by Him, as they tirelessly sing the praises of the Fount of Light and, being ministers of light, transmit illuminating grace to those lower beings who are being enlightened. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

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

On occasion, I’ve orchestrated group observation with my youth choir to demonstrate how we, as created beings, are unable to fully comprehend the concept of Eternity or Pre-eternal.

After first discussing general definitions of the two words, we’d continue with the next part of the exercise. For just a few minutes, (it’s too difficult to try longer) we silently contemplate the concept of what Eternal means. How God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are Pre-Eternal (beyond time and space)… and have always “been” even before anything else existed. No beginning, no end.

The attempts to try and wrap our mortal minds around the notion of eternal and pre-eternal is humbling and revealing.

Spontaneous laughter and amazement conclude these experiments. Exclamations from the youth range from “Wow, that’s impossible!” to “My brain exploded!”

God is simultaneously everywhere. (Yet another wondrous point to ponder!) He is the beginning, the continuation, the Life and Light of everything that exists. In His great and loving goodness, the Way to salvation is revealed through His Only-Begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ… the Sun of Righteousness, the Dawn and Dayspring from on high.

And so, like the angels, let our souls rejoice and dance with joy; radiantly infused with the Pre-eternal Divine Light, and Peace… which surpasses understanding.

✠ Excellent Post Script from Anastasia, who shares: “A priest once said in my high school religion class: “Eternity is not a “line”. It is a “point”, and we are standing in it.” As he said that, he drew a line and then a dot on the board. I’ve remembered it these 50+ years it impressed me so.


A Floribunda Rose with fragrant, dense clusters of beauteous blossoms

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

The fruits of the earth are not brought to perfection immediately, but by time, rain and care; similarly, the fruits of men ripen through ascetic practice, study, time, perseverance, self-control and patience. ~ St. Antony the Great

I have run to the fragrance of your myrrh, O Christ God, for I have been wounded by your love; do not depart from me, O heavenly Bridegroom. ~ St. Porphyrios

May we buzz like bees to the Fragrance of Christ and become permeated with His Divine Perfume!

Then, with faith and patience, let us perennially blossom forth… wherever God’s Loving Hands have planted us!

Great Sea of Being

God always was, and always is, and always will be. Or rather, God always Is. For Was and Will are fragments of our time, and of changeable nature, but He is Eternal Being. And this is the Name that He gives to Himself when giving the Oracle to Moses in the Mount. For in Himself He sums up and contains all Being, having neither beginning in the past nor end in the future; like some great Sea of Being, limitless and unbounded, transcending all conception of time and nature, only adumbrated [alluded] by the mind, and that very dimly and scantily. ~ St. Gregory the Theologian

What We Say

But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. ~ St. Matthew 12:36

When we are talking and someone interrupts us, we should not continue. It means that he should not hear that which we would have said. The Angels do thus… When you have thought of criticism … judging others, ask God to take hold of you at that hour so that you can love that person as He loves. Then God will help you see your condition. If Christ were visible, could you criticize? …What we say remains to eternity. ~ Gerontissa Gavrielia

Forgiveness is better than revenge. ~ St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

As Sounding Brass

Rome, Italy – 2008

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. ~ 1 Corinthians 13: 1

When you have thought of criticism… judging others, ask God to take hold of you at that hour so you can love that person as He loves. Then God will help you see your condition. If Christ were visible, could you criticize? ~Gerontissa Gavrielia

What we say remains to eternity. ~ Gerontissa Gavrielia

A dog is better than I, for he has love and does not judge. ~ St. Xanthias: The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgement. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil.
~ St. Seraphim of Sarov

You have not yet acquired perfect love if your regard for people is still swayed by their characters – for example, if, for some particular reason, you love one person and hate another, or if for the same reason you sometimes love and sometimes hate the same person. ~ St. Maximos the Confessor

Upon the Willows

This is a pussy willow branch from a third generation church tree… originally grown from a dried and blessed Palm Sunday bouquet, which sprouted in an icon corner!

These furry little catkins are among the first to blossom forth, in early spring, seemingly to show the trees and bushes it’s time to awake from their cold winter sleep!

Pussy willows make easy everlasting flowers. Pick a bunch, and put them into a dry vase. No water. They will keep for years.

If you think of planting a pussy willow tree near your home, do keep it far away from drains. For, as an exuberant willow, it is determined to seek water.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. ~Ecclesiastes 3:11

Sunflower Sense

A friend shared this wonderful quote by St. John of Tobolsk.

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

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