A Touch of Green on Forgiveness Sunday

Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay

Today there are many celebrations!

It is Forgiveness Sunday and tomorrow is the first day of Great Lent (Orthodox Style).

Pascha (Easter) comes late this year. (May 5th)

Today is also St. Owen’s Day (March 17/4)!

On the new style calendar, today is also St. Patrick of Ireland. (The equivalent Julian calendar date for March 17th is 13 days later – on March 30th)

Here are some fascinating historical documents about St. Patrick, written by the 7th century monk Muirchú from the Royal Irish Academy.

Icons of St. Patrick often show him holding a three-leafed shamrock growing on a single stem, he used this to illustrate the Holy Trinity – our One God in Three Persons.

St. Patrick wrote many hymns. Here is an excerpt from a beautiful, longer hymn, the Lorica (Breastplate) of St. Patrick. “I bind unto myself today, the Strong Name of the Trinity! By Invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three!”   ~ St. Patrick

Abbreviated Lorica Hymn of St. Patrick’s Prayer, recorded and sung below, by our Youth Choir in 2019.

As today is Forgiveness Sunday, I’ll conclude with sincerely asking your forgiveness… For any offense I may have given to any of my readers/subscribers, at any time.

God Forgives!

May our Lenten Journey ahead, be Peaceful and Fruitful!

Another (very short) recording of St. Patrick’s Prayer sung outside, by my GG’s a few years ago. The precious robin chirping at the end… was totally unrehearsed!

Born For Resurrection

Greetings on Great and Holy Saturday!

Jesus Christ has taken the world of our sins upon Himself.

For this cause He came into the world…

For this New Beginning!

Do not lament Me, O Mother,
Seeing Me in the tomb,
The Son conceived in the womb without seed,
For I shall arise,
And be glorified with eternal glory as God.
I shall exalt all who magnify thee in faith and in love.
~ Ode 9, Holy Saturday Canon

Why Did Jesus Die on the Cross? Because of God’s great Love, He did something so special for each one of us. It‘s almost too amazing to even try and think about it! When we love someone very much, we help them as much as we can – without thinking how hard it might be for ourselves to do this. Through Adam and Eve, the first created man and woman, sin entered the world, and now we all sin. There are big sins and little sins, but everyone sins, and any sin separates us from God. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, willingly took all the sins of everyone ever born, which means, you, me, the whole world, and took all these sins upon Himself; because sin separates us from God. When Jesus died and was buried, all our sins died and were buried too. We also remember this at our Baptism. We are now forgiven because of what Jesus did for us on the cross! Jesus loves us so much! And, even if you were the ONLY person living in the whole world, Jesus still would have done this – just for you! Just for one person, because He knows each one of us and loves us all so much! And, because He is the Son of God- He arose victorious, from the dead! “Trampling down death, by death!” This is why we no longer fear death, for death is a new beginning, a new and Eternal Life with God. ~ The Ark Youth Quarterly – St. Sophia Orthodox Church

O Precious Paradise

Detail of parish Creation Mosaic with scenes from Genesis, and the Expulsion From Paradise ~ Genesis 3:23-24

…O ranks of angels, O beauty of Paradise and all the glory of the garden: weep for me, for in my misery I was led astray and rebelled against God. O blessed meadow, trees and flowers planted by God, O sweetness of Paradise: let your leaves, like eyes, shed tears on my behalf, for I am naked and a stranger to God’s glory. No longer do I see thee nor delight in thy joy and splendour, O precious Paradise…. ~ Canticle 4, Sunday of Forgiveness

…O Paradise, share in the sorrow of thy master who is brought to poverty, and with the sound of thy leaves pray to the Creator that He may not keep thy gate closed for ever. I am fallen, in Thy compassion have mercy on me… ~ Ikos, Canticle 6 – Sunday of Forgiveness

God Forgives and Blessings Abound!

Today is the day before Great Lent begins, and we celebrate with making Blini Crepes or Pancakes to use up the last of any dairy. If you’re already a plant-based person, these Vegan Blini are simply delicious, and easy to make!

Congratulations on your Saint’s Day Zoe! (Feb. 26/13) God grant you many years!

Branches of Inner Stillness

Photo shared by Irena

Silence fosters stillness; it is indispensable for stillness. Inner stillness, however, goes beyond silence insofar as its aim is to purify the heart and issue in pure prayer. That purification involves the body in its entirety, because body and soul, like mind and heart, are ultimately inseparable. In the words of St. Mark the Ascetic, “The intellect cannot be still unless the body is still also; and the wall between them cannot be demolished without stillness and prayer.” Silence is the prerequisite for inner stillness, and only inner stillness enables us truly to listen to God, to hear His voice, and to commune with Him in the depths of our being. Yet silence and stillness are, like prayer itself, gifts that God can and wants to bestow upon us. The greatest truth about us is that God has created us with a profound longing, a burning thirst for communion with Himself. We can easily pervert that longing into an idolatrous quest for something other than God. Yet God remains faithful even in our times of apostasy. Like the father of the Prodigal Son, He always awaits our return. Once we begin that journey homeward, through repentance and an ongoing struggle against our most destructive passions, God reaches out to embrace, to forgive and to heal all that is broken, wounded and wasted. He reaches into the very fabric of our life, to restore within us the sublime image in which we were made… ~ Fr. John Breck

It’s coming to that amazing time again of recharging our spiritual batteries together. With purpose, we prepare our own humble journeys home to the Greatest Christian Feast of Feasts, Holy Pascha (Easter), the Resurrection of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Travelling the quiet routes of the Great Lenten roads ahead, we choose to make bright efforts in good faith, and to the best of our abilities. Our dear Lord desires us to come to Him and fill us with good things… now and forever!

Tomorrow is an invitation of God’s Grace.

Tomorrow is Forgiveness Sunday.

However, today, I bow to you in spirit, bending the knees of my heart, and ask you to please forgive me.

God forgives!

Isn’t that beyond wonderful? God FORGIVES!

May your upcoming Lenten Journey be Peaceful… and may your Branches of Inner Stillness bear Good Fruit.

With Love in Christ.

Forgiving the Inexcusable

The cat is still annoyed with me.

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. ~ C. S. Lewis

If you have the opportunity to acquire A Year with C. S. Lewis – Daily Readings from His Classic Works… do!

Each day of the year has a short reading… A veritable feast of Spiritual Yum Yums!

Practical. Deep. Excellent. Never grows old.

Easy to pick up. Hard to put down!

May God bless all our endeavours today!

Songs of Joy

Recent Sunset Stroll Scene

Christ is the True Light
Who Illumines the whole world,
He is Glorious!

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~ Psalm 65:8

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. ~ Psalm 28:7

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. ~ Psalm 19:1

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! ~ Psalm 96:9

From the rising of the sun to its going down, the name of the Lord is to be praised. ~ Psalm 113:3

…Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! ~ Nehemiah 8:10

…let not the sun go down upon your wrath…~ Ephesians 4:26

What a wonderful day the Lord has provided! Let our eyes and hearts rejoice in His Gifts of Nature and for His Beauteous, Gladsome Light that shines upon us all!

Grace, a Gift Divine


Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Grace is not something
Earned or deserved, grace through faith
Is a Divine Gift.

Salvific blessings
Flow through the doors of our hearts
When we let Him in.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: ~ Ephesians 2:8

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. ~ Matthew 7:7-8

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. ~Revelation 3:20

Hospital for Souls

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

The Church is a hospital, and not a courtroom, for souls. She does not condemn on behalf of sins, but grants remission of sins. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Prayer is the common medicine for purifying ourselves from the passions, for hindering sin and curing our faults. ~ St. Nektarios of Aegina

Just as a basic concern is to be careful of anything that might be harmful to our physical health, so our spiritual concern should watch out for anything that might harm our spiritual life and the work of faith and salvation. Therefore, carefully and attentively assess your inner impulses: are they from God or from the spirit of evil? ~St. John Maximovitch

Faith, Hope, and Charity

Garden flowers surround this Cross on the Exaltation Feast Day (Sept. 27/14). Along with the traditional red roses and basil, are chrysanthemums, mint, tarragon, tiny sprigs of green olives, (our tree finally produced!) and Chinese lanterns.

Greetings on the Feast Day of Sts. Sophia, and her daughters – Faith, Hope and Love (Sept. 30/17).

Congratulations on your Names’ Day Vera, Sophie, and Esperanza! May God grant you many years of good health, peace and joy in our Lord Jesus Christ.

A Prayer to Sts. Sophia, and her daughters Faith, Hope and Love

O holy and most praiseworthy Martyrs, Faith, Hope and Love, and wise mother Sophia of these glorious daughters: To you do we now hasten in heartfelt prayer; for what better representation can we have before the Lord, than faith, hope and charity, the three cornerstone virtues, which, bearing their names, ye embodied in fact. Entreat the Lord to shield us, save us and keep us in every sorrow and trouble, as One Who is good and loveth mankind. Pray that His glory, like a sun that never setteth, and which ye now see as becometh Saints, be with us in our humble prayers; may the Lord God forgive our sins and iniquities, and have mercy on us sinners who are unworthy of His generosity towards us. Pray indeed for us, ye holy Martyrs, unto our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom we send up glory, together with His Father Who is from everlasting, and His All-holy, and Good, and Life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.  ~ From “Polny Sbornik Molitv” p. 246     

Memory Eternal Michael, Nadezhda, and Faith!      

Dormition of St. Anna

Church Icons of The Most Holy Theotokos – Image by Iulia Radu from Pixabay

Greetings on this wonderful Feast! What a glorious day! Our priest brought a small relic of St. Anna (from Mt. Athos) this morning for the parish to venerate after Divine Liturgy. Blessed joy!

Greetings on the Dormition of St. Anna the mother of the Theotokos. (Julian Calendar July 25/Aug. 7)

Beautiful Icon of St. Anna

St. Anna (Ann or Anne, from Hebrew Hannah – means favour or grace) is descended from the lineage of King David, and the mother of the Virgin Mary, and grandmother of Jesus Christ. 

O Godly-minded Anna, thou didst give birth unto God’s pure Mother who conceived Him Who is our Life. Wherefore, thou hast now passed with joy to thy heavenly rest, wherein is the abode of them that rejoice in glory; and thou askest forgiveness of sins for them that honour thee with love, O ever-blessed one. ~ Troparia


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