Autumnal Prayer

Image by Joe from Pixabay

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. ~ Psalm 90:14

November 27/14

Happy Eve of the Nativity Fast!

Tomorrow we begin our spiritual pilgrimage into the Advent season… to contemplate the upcoming Great Feast of Christ’s Incarnation.

Just like Great Lent is before Easter/Pascha, the ancient Nativity Fast is a reflective, joyful time for spiritual preparation – nourished with prayer, love of one’s neighbour, and generous almsgiving.

Each fast is fresh, new, and a collective reminder to shift focus away from oneself, and onto the needs of others, instead.

Together we’ll begin the late autumnal journey with sweeping the dried leaves and debris away from body and soul.

We fast before we feast, and the feasting aspect is saved to start on the actual Nativity Feast Day itself, including the following bright “12 days of Christmastide”.  

May your Nativity Fast be peaceful and fruitful!

With love in Christ.

His Infinite, Unconditional, Love

Hanalei Church windows absorb and reflect the early evening’s Divine, Gladsome Light.

God is everywhere. There is no place God is not…You cry out to Him, ‘Where art Thou, my God?’ And He answers, “I am present, my child! I am always beside you.’ Both inside and outside, above and below, wherever you turn, everything shouts, ‘God!’ In Him we live and move. We breathe God, we eat God, we clothe ourselves with God. Everything praises and blesses God. All of creation shouts His praise. Everything animate and inanimate speaks wondrously and glorifies the Creator. Let every breath praise the Lord! ~ St. Joseph the Hesychast

We can only meet God in the present moment. This is an area where God chooses to place limits on His own power. We choose whether or not to live in the present moment. Because we can encounter God only in that present moment, whenever we live in the past or in the future, we place ourselves beyond His reach. ~ Archimandrite Meletios (Webber) 

I cannot reflect on what is past, because I live in the present moment… Yesterday does not exist. Tomorrow belongs to God, as yesterday did… So I keep quiet in God’s Eternal Present!... ….By living in yesterday we delay tomorrow’s march. We cannot live in the past which does not exist, and so give it existence it does not have… ~ St. Gavrilia (Gerontissa Gavrilia)

What has happened has happened, it is in the past. Just keep on going, all the while asking for help from God. ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

We slip.
We fall.
We pull ourselves up again.
We persevere.
We keep walking toward God.
We focus forward.
We don’t look back.

God is right here! Right now!

We are so blessed!

God loves us! Infinitely! Unconditionally!

He loves us SO much that He’s given us free will in every aspect of our life, and won’t interfere at all, unless we choose to ask Him in, and wrap ourselves in the Eternal Present of God.

May your path today be Divinely Inclusive, and imbued with His Illuminating Light!

With love in Christ.

Proven Paths

Traditional Stone Village in Askas, Cyprus by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

In all things let us travel the road laid down for us by the tradition of our elders and by the goodness of their lives. ~ St. John Cassian

Christianity is more than a theory about the universe, more than teachings written down on paper; it is a path along which we journey – in the deepest and richest sense, the way of life. ~ Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive… One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness. ~ C.S. Lewis

Look Up!

Image by mamkaklass from Pixabay

Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. ~ Psalm 123:1

To repent is not to look downwards at my own shortcomings, but upwards at God’s love, it is not to look backwards with self-reproach but forward with trustfulness, it is to see not what I have failed to be, but what by the grace of Christ I might yet become. ~ St. John Climacus

It’s been said that sorrow looks back… worry looks around… but Faith looks up!

Let’s keep looking up… there’s Sonshine above those clouds!

There is Always Hope

Kayaking Into Diamonds – Strait of Juan de Fuca

I have consciousness of my sinfulness, but I live with hope. It is bad to despair, because someone who despairs becomes embittered and loses his willingness and strength. Someone who has hope, on the contrary, advances forward. ~ St. Porphyrios

On a recent holiday we watched a kayaker glide rapidly along a sea of glass, seemingly unaware of having passed through a brilliant, sparkling corridor of sunbeams. Suddenly, they reversed course and came to a contemplative standstill, drinking in the glittering vista. Then they paddled forward, into the Golden Avenue of dazzling diamonds dancing on the water… and were swathed in Light.

From the Belly of Hades

Bleeding Hearts are surrounded by the comforting starry cosmos of Sweet Woodruff’s white flowers.

Greetings on:
The (movable) Feast of MidPentecost!
The annual feast of the Wonderworking Icon of the Inexhaustible Cup (Chalice)!

The Icon’s Akathist to the Theotokos for help with the struggle of various addictions is here.

Congratulations to my dear friend Irena on her Saint’s Day!

In Christianity, the Bleeding Heart flower represents the suffering that Christ endured for our sins, and the Theotokos’ grief seeing her Son on the Cross.

Tiny white stars of Sweet Woodruff flowers are symbolic of hope and humility. This perennial ground cover spreads its cheer where other herbaceous plants may find it difficult to thrive. It bursts into burgeoning blooms come early spring, then quietly seems to diminish in the summer. Its fragrant fresh flowers (mildly reminiscent of vanilla) and leaves were used for everything from air fresheners to bed-straw stuffing. Its flowers flavoured wine and jellies, and were used for other medicinal purposes. (Of course, one should always check with a doctor before using any medical herb they’re not familiar with.) Last, but not least – marauding deer abhor sweet woodruff in gardens… and that alone makes it extra sweet to me!

That being said, and setting rascally deer aside…. the many blessings in our lives are unavoidably peppered with banes, but it’s the banes that make each new blessing a heartfelt consolation!

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. ~ Romans 7:15. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. ~ Romans 7:19-20

Like St. Paul in his epistle to the Romans, we find ourselves in spiritual battles. We want to do what’s right, yet sometimes we do the very things we hate… even when knowing we’re wrong.

Granted, we can look back on the past – but don’t stare. Staring backwards can make one disheartened, overwhelmed and anxious. Everyone has a heartache, and we’re all dealing with struggles of some sort. Focus Forward!

Anxiety about ourselves means lack of faith; anxiety about our neighbour means pain. Feeling the intensity of other’s pain from within is accompanied by prayer and then comes the divine consolation. Therefore, you should pray as much as you can and then leave everything in the hands of God and calm yourself. Does God hurt His creatures less than you? Why worry? God gives a lot of comfort to anyone who is in spiritual pain and suffering for others because otherwise, one could not bear this burden… But from this pain comes true joy. ~ St. Paisios

Let the heavens rejoice; let earthly things be glad; for the Lord hath wrought might with His arm. He hath trampled down death by death; the first-born of the dead hath He become. From the belly of Hades hath He delivered us, and hath granted to the world great mercy. ~ Troparion of the Resurrection (Tone 3)

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