A Sacrifice of Praise

An abundance of sweet-scented wisteria spill over the pergola, upheld and supported by its rough, wooden beams.

Let us lift up our hearts! We lift them up unto the Lord! ~Anaphora

From every cut springs new growth. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all in gardening, or life.

To encourage a profusion of fragrant blossoms and to thrive – shrubs, trees, and vines require careful tending to transform into ultimate splendor. They must first be reduced, in order to become more.

By deadheading and pruning our own spiritual debris, we are refreshed and ready for new growth! We are able to lightly and joyfully lift up our hearts unto the Lord!

Through God’s Mercy of Peace we thrive, and our hearts are transformed by being in God.

In the words of an anonymous saint (whose name escapes me at the moment), may we remember more often to: Prune wisely and clip with discernment.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. ~ St. John 15:1-2

Prayer is the flower of gentleness and the fruit of joy. ~ Evagrios the Solitary, 4th century

Let Us Make a Joyful Noise!

Image by mokca from Pixabay

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. ~Psalm 100:1-5

…but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… ~ Ephesians 5:18-20

Nothing elevates the soul, nothing gives it wings as a liturgical hymn does… We should offer up doxologies to God with fear and a contrite heart, in order that they may be accepted like fragrant incense… Nothing so arouses the soul, gives it wing, sets it free from the earth, releases it from the prison of the body, teaches it to love wisdom… as concordant melody and sacred song composed in rhythm. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Pray gently and calmly, sing with understanding and rhythm; then you will soar like a young eagle high in the heavens. Psalmody calms the passions and curbs the uncontrolled impulses in the body. ~ Evagrios the Solitary

To sing is to pray twice. ~ St. Augustine

Wherever there are spiritual melodies, there does the grace of the Spirit come, sanctifying the mouth and the soul. ~ St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

Sing to God in love and humility of spirit, for the Lord rejoiceth therein. ~ St. Silouan the Athonite 

Only ecclesiastical music can express the secret movements of the heart, which are completely different than what worldly music expresses. For this reason the two kinds of music are totally different, just as shown by the words: “sing” and “chant.” ~Photios Kontoglou

In case you haven’t yet discovered this wonderful site of hymnody (in multiple languages), please enjoy: The Rudder Internet Radio Station Streaming Orthodox Music 24/7

May your day be harmoniously tuned with the Spirit… in holy, heartfelt psalmody!

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