From This Day Forth…

Contemplative Sunrise on Kauai – July 31, 2023

For our good, for our happiness, let us make a vow that from this day forth, from this hour, from this minute, let us strive to love God above all else and seek to do His Holy Will. ~ St. Herman of Alaska

Greetings on the Feast Day celebrating the canonization of Saint Herman of Alaska.

Felicitations also, on today’s Feast of the Holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon! He’s been a helpful blessing for family and friends.

You can read more about these two amazing saints’ lives (including some of today’s other saints) on the Orthodox Calendar, located at the very bottom of each post and page. Daily Scripture readings are listed there too.

Through the prayers and blessed intercessions of our most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints – may God give Help to the residents and tourists on the Hawaiian Island of Maui, struggling today with unprecedented wild fires and evacuations!

Pentecost! The Earth’s Name’s Day!

Image by Anja from Pixabay

The Great Feast of Pentecost ~ Holy Trinity Sunday!

Greeting you with resplendent joy! Happy Feast Day!

Today is the Church’s Birthday and we also celebrate that at our own baptisms, we received the Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Chrismation, and have become participants in the Church’s Life of Grace!

Previous Blisswood Pentecost Posts:
Pentecost Greetings (Preparing for Pentecost)
Pentecost Rose and Traditions (Associated colours, making a Braided Grass Cross, creating a simple floral bouquet to bring/hold at Church)
Greetings on Pentecost (Troparion of Pentecost and excerpts from the beautiful Pentecost Vespers Kneeling Prayers )
Mosaic of Life
Day of the Holy Spirit
Happy Holy Spirit Day
I Believe

Virtual Tour of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (Vancouver BC) decorated with nature’s greenery for Pentecost.

Greetings on the Feast, and Happy Whitsuntide during the Afterfeast & Fast-Free Week until next Saturday!

Pentecost – Also known as Whitsun means literally “White Sunday” from the fact that many were baptized on this feast and thus dressed in white baptismal gowns, but perhaps also from the white light of the Holy Spirit. In Somerset, “God’s Land”, it was customary for women to wear white ribbons in their shoes, or at least carry a white flower, perhaps a daisy. It was a great feast and bells which were rung on this day were decorated with red ribbons to remind the faithful of the tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit. The main dish this day was veal, in other words, the Biblical “fatted calf”, with gooseberry pie… Indeed an old rhyme says: “For gooseberry tart at Whitsuntide, trim old wood out ‘ere Christmastide”. ~ Old English Pentecost Traditions

A little chapel at Pentecost 2004

The Earth’s Name’s Day
~ Vasily Nikiforov-Volgin
(1900-1941)
The birch trees under our window murmured of the coming of the Holy Trinity. Sitting under their canopy, merging with the waves of their glittering leaves, I close my eyes tightly and imagined a path of shimmering light, just like on a river at sunrise; and along this path, in the form of three angels in white raiment, walks the Holy Trinity.
On the eve of the holiday my mother said, “Tomorrow is the earth’s name’s day!”
“How is that?” I asked.

“Because tomorrow, my son, is Holy Trinity Day. Tomorrow, the Holy Spirit walks upon the earth, and decorates the earth with the most beautiful field flowers and thick green grass. That is why on Trinity Day the earth always looks so bedecked and merry, like a name’s day celebrant!”
“The earth’s name’s day!” These extraordinary words sounded so wonderful, that my whole heart was illumined…
In the early morning, the arrival of the Holy Trinity at our village came in the form of the rising sun’s rays, which filled our little room with a delicate radiance. Mother lit the lampada in front of the icons murmuring, “O most Holy Trinity, save us….” Over the earth, which was celebrating its name’s day, the sun spilled its rays in thick and fragrant waves. The church crowned the earth’s name’s day with wondrous words, hymns and long mysterious prayers, during which we stood on our knees, and the floor was covered with flowers and fresh grass. I picked up blades of grass from the floor, rubbed them between my palms and, breathing in their fragrant smell, I sensed with all my heart: how wonderful it is to be alive on the earth’s name’s day!

The Lord grant thee according to thy heart, and all thy purposes fulfill.
~ From 2nd Antiphon at Pentecost

Aflame With Zeal

Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

When you look at the candles and lamps burning in church, rise in thought from the material fire to the immaterial fire of the Holy Spirit, ‘for our God is a consuming fire.’ When you see and smell the fragrant incense, rise in thought to the spiritual fragrance of the Holy Spirit, ‘for we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ.’ ~ St. John of Kronstadt

In order to teach us that just as the vigil lamp cannot be lit without our hand, so too, our heart, our inward vigil lamp, cannot be lit without the holy fire of God’s grace, even if it were to be filled with all the virtues. All these virtues of ours are, after all, like combustable material, but the fire which ignites them proceeds from God. ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovich

In order to remind us that before anything else the Creator of the world created light, and after that everything else in order; And God said, let there be light: and there was light. And it must be so also at the beginning of our spiritual life, so that before anything else the light of Christ’s truth would shine within us. From this light of Christ’s truth subsequently every good is created, springs up and grows within us. ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovich

May the Light of Christ Illumine us all! Keep looking up… there’s always bright Sonshine above those heavy snow clouds!

Comfort and Joy

Cabin Wood Stove Radiates Cozy Comfort from Cold

He who has the Kingdom of God within himself will imperceptibly pass it on to others. People will be attracted by the peace and warmth in us; they will want to be near us, and the atmosphere of Heaven will gradually pass on to them. It is not even necessary to speak to people about this. The atmosphere of Heaven will radiate from us even when we keep silence or talk about ordinary things. ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

One blustery afternoon, we returned to the chilly cabin from a seaside hike, and quickly lit the fire. It was soothing to hear the kindling crackle and smell the woodsmoke. Pretty soon the stove was ablaze and we sat in companionable silence soaking in its warmth… completely mesmerized by the light-show of its dancing, vermillion embers. As we drank in the peaceful atmosphere, it was amazing to think of how simply being in the presence of a cozy fire could bring such a gift of quiet joy. With gratitude, it’s reminded me that in my life, I’ve been blessed with knowing people who emit this exact refreshing radiance and spiritual peace to others – simply by being in their presence! For, they are imbued with the Gladsome Light of Jesus Christ… our Salvific, and Divine – Comfort and Joy.

Greetings on tomorrow’s ancient, joyful Feast Day of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple!

Wishing you a most blessed day today, and Feast Day on the morrow!

With Love in Christ.

Light of the Virtues

As the candle gives its own light to illuminate a person in the darkness, so also must the light of the virtues, the light of love and peace, characterize a Christian. The wax that melts, symbolizes the flame of our love for our fellow men. ~ St. Symeon of Thessaloniki

Our souls are as noetic candles of fire and light. May we, with God’s help, exude His Divine Warmth and Illumination upon others in our daily lives.

Sweet Aroma of Divine Grace

Image by Iryna from Pixabay

As the pure candle is derived from the pollen of a flower and has a sweet scent, so also should our souls have the sweet aroma of Divine Grace. ~ St. Symeon of Thessaloniki

When the door of our heart opens and we stand in prayer before Christ the Lord, our souls are as noetic candles of fire and light. With God’s help, may we be worthy to exude His Divine Warmth and Illumination, upon all of whom we interact with daily.

Kindling the Flame

Sunset on the Strait of Juan de Fuca

If but ten among us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city. ~ St. John Chrysostom 

We must become enlightened bearers of the light within us, the Light of God, the very spark… of God’s divinity. ~ St. Gregory of Nyssa

Gabhaim Molta Bríghde 

An Ancient Irish Chapel – Image by Josef Kotarba Pixabay

Gabhaim Molta Bríghde  (pronounced gaw-im molta breejya) means I Give Praise to St. Brigid.

Greetings on St. Brigid of Ireland’s Feast Day!

Along with St. Patrick, Holy St. Brigid is the Patroness and Protector of Ireland.

Here is a link to my simple folk song praising St. Brigid of Ireland.

The YouTube video below is a Gaelic Folk Song about St. Brigid, with an English Translation in the description section. The lineage of Gabhaim Molta Bríghde’s ancient, traditional melody and lyrics are from “unknown sources” however this arrangement of Sheet Music is sometimes attributed to Tomás Ó Flannghaile (Thomas Flannery), 1846-1916.

Gaelic with English Translation

Here is a fascinating article with excellent photos by Clare Monardo, describing An Exploration of the Holy Wells of St. Brigid. (What a wonderful pilgrimage this would make!)

A Gift of Hospitality – St. Brigid Abbess of Kildare.

On St. Brigid’s Day, it can be traditional to enjoy the Irish fare of oat bannocks, colcannon, barm brack, and perhaps a wee draught of beer.

How to make a St. Brigid Cross, woven from rushes. (Thank you for sharing your newly woven St. Brigid’s Rush Cross, Irena and Juliana!)

St. Brigid’s association with the miracles of fire and the closeness of her day to tomorrow’s Feast of the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple (also known as Candlemas), are closely linked.

On St. Brigid’s day, we celebrate Christ, the Light unto all Nations – the Eternal Spring Who draws nigh to all.

Troparion of Venerable Mother Brigid, Enlightener of Ireland (Tone 4): Instructed by the discourses of the holy Patrick, thou didst arrive at the utmost west, heralding the Orient which hath visited us from on high. Wherefore, we bless thee, O venerable mother Brigid, and cry out to thee: Pray thou in behalf of souls.

Kontakion of Venerable Mother Brigid, Enlightener of Ireland (Tone 6): Rejecting thy noble rank, and loving the godly monastic life, from the wood of the oak didst thou raise up a convent, the first in thy land; and having there united a multitude of nuns to God, thou didst teach the surrounding lands to cry to the Lord: Have mercy on us!

St. Brigid continues to bestow blessings upon those who come to her with faith, interceding with Christ our God, that He may have mercy on our souls.

Fire of Divine Grace

May the kindling of Divine Grace blaze brightly in all our hearts!

The grace of the Holy Spirit which is given mystically to every Christian when he is baptised acts and is manifested in proportion to our obedience to the commandments of the Lord. That is, if a Christian obeys the commandments of the Lord more, grace acts with him more, while if he obeys them less, grace acts within him less. Just as a spark, when covered in the ashes of fire becomes increasingly manifest as one removes the ashes, and the more fire wood you put the more the fire burns, so the grace that has been given to every Christian through Holy Baptism is hidden in the heart and covered up by the passions and sins, and the more a man acts in accordance with the commandments of Christ, the more he is cleansed of the passions and the more the fire of Divine grace lights in his heart, illumines and deifies him. ~ St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain

In the Midst of Them

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. ~ St. Matthew 18:20

Set our hearts on fire with love for You, O Christ our God, so that in its flame we may love You with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul and with all our strength, and our neighbours as ourselves, so that by keeping Your commandments we may glorify You, the giver of all good gifts. ~ A Prayer For Lighting a Candle

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