Pacific

Dayspring on the Peaceful Pacific

…Peace be unto you. ~ St. Luke 24:36

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Philippians 1:2

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ~ St. John 14:27

No Greater Sin

Image by Daniel from Pixabay

I was somehow taken by the feeling of the universe’s sufferings. My experience from the First World War and the Russian Revolution that followed contributed to this. I lived for years in a suffocating atmosphere of Fratricidal hatred, first because of the World War and then because of the civil war. Since then it is better for me to hear about perhaps the thousands of victims of earthquakes, floods, epidemics and other disasters and catastrophes, which usually provoke the sympathy of all, than for wars – which almost without exception entice everyone to moral involvement in the killings. There is no greater sin than war. ~ St. Sophrony the Hagiorite

Pray for Peace!

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. ~ St. Matthew 5:9

Lord have Mercy!

Frēond

An Affinity of Apple Blossoms Vie in Tandem for Sunshine

The Old English word frēond is the source of the word friend – which means to love, like, honour, to set free from slavery or confinement.

On the flip side of the coin, the Old English word  fēond, (frēond WITHOUT an “R”) meant fiend an enemy, foe, hater, reviler, devilish. These two completely opposite Old English words are separated by just one letter, as they continue today in modern English.

Throughout my life and like most people, I’ve experienced the many degrees of kith and kin friendships – including affinity of neighbours, classmates, acquaintances, and coworkers. But, I’ve found the most true, meaningful, and lasting of friendships are those rooted in a deep, spiritual bond. Our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ unites us in understanding and purpose… To help us grow together toward the Light… To help us Bloom and acquire the Fruits and Gifts of the Holy Spirit… To help us become the friends of God. What a Friend we have in Jesus! His Amazing Love never changes! Thank you Oh most Holy Trinity our God! Glory be to Thee!

God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or any else could love, and even more than we are able to love ourselves. ~ St. John Chrysostom

A faithful friend is beyond price, since he regards his friend’s misfortunes as his own, and suffers with him, sharing his trials until death. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. ~ Proverbs 18:24

The genuiness of a friend is shown at a time of trial, if he shares the distress you suffer. ~ St. Thalassios the Libyan

Concern yourself only that you have God for a friend, and do not be afraid of anything. Behold, He is your only friend Who loves you without change. ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Gentle Hearts

God rests within gentle hearts. The gentle and merciful shall sit fearless in His regions, and will inherit Heavenly glory. ~ St. John Climacus

Why does the Lord command us to love our enemies and to pray for them? Not for their sake, but for ours! For as long as we bear grudges, as long as we dwell on how someone offended us, we will have no peace. ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

We are the sons of light and love, the sons of God, His children. As such we must have His qualities and His attributes of love, peace, and kindness towards all. ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Yesterday afternoon, in broad daylight, our dear little Orthodox church was vandalized by some poor soul, who must have been in great spiritual pain. Little did they know our congregation is a veritable united nations in itself… composed of Canadian, American, Serbian, Ukrainian, Russian, Greek, Romanian, Spanish, Asian parishioners – worshipping together “as one” in the Lord Jesus Christ… with love, peace and harmony.

My spiritual Father Vladimir (of eternal memory), who served in a cathedral of Kiev, and fled Russia in its earlier times of grievous persecution, related how the Communists turned the ancient cathedral into a car repair garage, leaving the icons on the walls. When someone asked him about these events he tenderly said, “Churches come and go. Build a church in your heart.”

Grieved by the horrific events unfolding in Ukraine and Russia, this beautiful Prayer for Peace is being read at Divine Liturgies. May God grant us all help, reigning down His Peace from Above – for the whole world.

May we build little churches in our hearts… gentle, loving, merciful… and worthy abodes for our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

From our Metropolitan Hilarion to Metropolitan Onouphry of Kiev and All Ukraine

From from the OCA

From our Local Newspaper

Shedding Our Garment

Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing Life! ~Paschal Tropar

What is dying? Just what it is to put off a garment. For the body is about the soul as a garment; and after laying this aside for a short time by means of death, we shall resume it again with more splendour. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Congratulations on entering the Nativity Fast! Although we’re in a different “liturgical season” than the Great Lent which precedes Pascha (Easter)… We are nonetheless, on day #3 into the 40 day Nativity Lenten period. Advent helps us properly prepare for the upcoming Great Feast of the Nativity of Christ.

The birth and death of Christ are very connected. Sometimes Nativity (Christmas) is even called the Winter Pascha.

Today is also a friend’s funeral… and the Mystery of Pascha is very much on my mind.

Pascha is why Christ was born. He was Born for Resurrection, and Pascha is the the holiest day, over any of all the other feast days, including the Nativity.

Detail of Nativity Icon

The Nativity Icon deliberately connects events… the manger resembles a stone coffin, the swaddling clothes resemble a burial shroud, and the cave itself prefigures Christ’s tomb. The ox and ass portrayed, are from the prophesy of Isaiah.

Jesus came to us in order to die, and this was known by Him even from the very beginning. He took away death, by conquering death, through His Glorious Resurrection!

Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, the first created man and woman, and now we all sin. There are big sins and little sins, but everyone sins, and any sin separates us from God.

Because of God’s great love for each one of us, He did something incredibly special. Jesus Christ the Son of God, willingly took all the sins of everyone ever born, that means you, me, the whole world, and put them all upon Himself. When Jesus died and was buried, all our sins died and were buried too. We also remember this at our baptism, and are now forgiven because of what Jesus did for us on the cross!

He is the Son of God – and arose victorious, from the dead!

This is why we no longer fear death.

Death is a new beginning.

Those who have gone on before us, are alive in ChristFor he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. ~St. Luke 20:38

I’ve been singing and humming the Paschal Tropar a lot today. It helps softens sadness, and bestows hope and joy.

Paschal Tropar – Appalachian melody, English

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. ~ Revelation 21:4

With the saints give rest, O Christ our God to the soul of Thy servant, Nicholas. Memory Eternal.

Grace is Like a Bird

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. ~ Psalm 91:1,4

Birds fear the sight of a hawk, and those who practice humility fear the sound of an argument. ~ St. John Climacus

Try your best not to give in to anger. Anger drives grace from your soul. Grace is like a bird; when something scares it, it flies away. ~ Elder Sergei of Vanves

We should follow the example of the birds. They’re always joyful. Whereas we’re always bothered by something. ~Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Great and Holy Friday

Photo of a Past Holy Friday

Today is the saddest day of the Church Year.

Today, He is slapped by hands that He, Himself, hath made.

Today all Creation weeps.

Today the sun hides its rays and the earth quakes with fear.

Today He who hung upon the earth upon the waters is hung upon the tree.The King of the angels is decked with a crown of thorns. He who wraps the heavens with clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery. He who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped on the face. The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the cross with nails. The Son of the Virgin is pierced by a spear. We worship Thy Passion, O Christ. We worship Thy Passion, O Christ. Show us also Thy Glorious Resurrection!

Faith, Strength, Endurance

Rugged Beauty of Church Floor Mosaics in Mystra, Greece – 2017

The Lord lives! Blessed and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation ~ 2 Samuel 22:47

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. ~ Deuteronomy 31:8

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. ~ St. Matthew 24:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. ~Philippians 4:13

Fractured Routines

While experiencing a broken leg it’s odd to think of such a thing as a blessing, but it is. Really.

Thankfully, I’m healing well, and the pain has mostly subsided. I shouldn’t whine, as the worst part now is just having to wear an aircast boot for a few more weeks… And not being independent.

With my physical limitations it’s bizarre… because I now WANT to do laundry or other household chores! If my leg was fine, there would be mental weeping and gnashing of teeth. Daily patience and acceptance levels also vary, according to either how sunny or rainy it is outside, or the quality of sleep from previous night.

Along with the upset to my other “pre-fractured” routines, I’ve observed that by not planning ahead, I’m rushing through morning prayers, trying to fit them in. If by plain forgetfulness they are overlooked, the resulting day acquires an unpleasant flavour… and the out-of-sorts attitude can always be traced back to this.

We are creatures of habit. Restructuring new and temporary morning routines is hard. A quote from my late godmother comes to mind. “But why shouldn’t the most worthwhile things be the most difficult?”

Of course, my present situation is a short-term inconvenience, while so many others have to contend with real struggles of a more permanent nature. I’m  very grateful to be surrounded by the care of loved ones.

What a joy and relief we can reach out to God anytime and rise (for awhile) above the frailties of our nature – whether physical and spiritual… girding us with His strength from on high.

Right here. Right now. Regardless.

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