Past Pentecost Posts

Parish’s Old Chapel at the Great Feast of Pentecost, circa 2002.

Blessed Feast!

Greetings on tomorrow’s Great Feast of Pentecost, the 50th day after Pascha, and the Church’s Birthday!

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, Amen!

I’ve noticed over the years, that on Pentecost, and the following day (Holy Spirit Day), it seems breezier than usual outside. The trees, flowers and grasses sway and dance in the gentle winds. The Breath of the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, tangibly encircles all. At Pentecost, the sun shines brighter. More golden. Today the birds sing sweeter, and a wordless song of gratitude bubbles up from within, like a silver fountain of shining joy.

Greetings on Pentecost

Pentecost Greetings

Pentecost! The Earth’s Name’s Day!

Pentecost Rose & Traditions (and how to make…)

Mosaic of Life

Day of the Holy Spirit

Happy Holy Spirit Day

I Believe

Happy 3rd Day of the Holy Spirit!

Blessed art Thou, Christ our God, Who hast shown forth the fishermen as supremely wise, by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit, and through them, didst draw the world into Thy net. O Lover of mankind, glory be to Thee. ~ Troparion of Pentecost

O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things, and Giver of life: come and take up Thine abode in us, and cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O Good One! ~ Trisagion Prayers

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

Rising Up Through the Cracks

Greetings on the Afterfeast of the Ascension!

I’m always rooting for those hardy Sweet Alyssum seed volunteers (dispersed from last year’s window-boxes) that rise up through the cracks in our patio walkway! They emerge. They flourish. Their appearance softens and beautifies the terrace flagstones. They become part of the whole.

A reward is bestowed for a conflict, and no one speaks of a victory where there is no struggle. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian

Do not be cast down over the struggle – the Lord loves a brave warrior. The Lord loves the soul that is valiant. ~ St. Silouan the Athonite

The heavier the burdens we’ve got to lift in this world, the greater God’s blessing will be… ~ Elder Symeon Kragiopoulos

Don’t let anything deprive you of Hope. ~ St. Nektarios of Aegina

Like impossibly fragile plants, people too (with God’s help), become as valiant Seedlings of Light… breaking through seemingly impossible barriers – to grow, and flourish, despite whatever they’re buried beneath.

Nature’s resilience is amazing.

People’s resilience is astounding!

Jesus said… “with God all things are possible.” ~ Matthew 19:26

May we too, with the help of Creation’s Planter, ascend like the fragrant, sweet alyssum, to blossom forth – through the personal flagstones of life!

In Thy Light…

For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. ~ Psalm 36:9

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~ St.  John 1:5

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” ~ St. John 8:12

We are all vessels, sometimes of Light and sometimes of Darkness. ~ St. Gavrilia

O Lord, enlighten my darkness. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

A recent evening walk along the beach was exhilarating. The Light? Perfect. Mysterious. Discovery of tiny mirrors of the great were reflected in the rocky outcroppings of tidal pools.

The phrase “…For with Thee is the fountain of life; in Thy Light we shall see light; O continue Thy mercy unto them that know Thee…” from the Doxology Hymn, resounded joyfully and encouragingly in my heart. Indeed! Nature is the Secret Gospel!

Petals of Whispered Wisdom

As a perpetual student of flowers, I find their enlightening fragrant grace, simply awe-inspiring!

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? ~ St. Matthew 6:28-29

As the field is adorned by a multitude of flowers, so should the field of my own soul be adorned by all the flowers of virtue; as the trees bring forth flowers and afterwards fruit, so must my soul bring forth the fruits of faith and good works. ~ St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

The rose does not speak, but puts forth a strong fragrance. We too, should put forth fragrance, pour forth spiritual fragrance, the fragrance of Christ. The fragrance of our deeds should be heard from far around: good, pure and righteous deeds, full of love. Only thus can the Kingdom of God appear within our hearts, appearing not through words, but with power. ~ St. Luke of Simferopol

Every flower is fragrant through the power of the Holy Spirit, in a delicate flow of aroma and tenderness of colour; the beauty of the Great contained in what is small. ~ Akathist Glory to God for All Things, Kontakion 3

Take delight in all things that surround us. All things teach us and lead us to God. All things around us are droplets of the love of God – both things animate and inanimate, the plants and the animals, the birds and the mountains, the sea and the sunset and the starry sky. They are little loves through which we attain to the great Love that is Christ. Flowers, for example, have their own grace; they teach us with their fragrance and with their magnificence. They speak to us of the love of God. They scatter their fragrance and their beauty on sinners and on the righteous. ~ St. Porphyrios

Whatever in us that truly lives, exuding the fragrance of life like the blossoms in springtime will never know an autumn of decomposition and death. Those alive in Christ experience an everlasting seedtime of continual growth in faith, trust, hope, confidence, understanding, awareness, optimism, love, and joy. For them this world is a mere cocoon destined to release its true self on radiant, pure and glorious wings to a world alive with the fragrance of the Holy Trinity. ~ Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky

Light in Darkness

Image by Ciroja from Pixabay

You find yourself in a darkened room and you move your hands so as to try to brush away the darkness which, of course, doesn’t move. If you open a window and light enters, the darkness disappears. The same happens with study. The Holy Scripture, the Lives of the Saints, and the Writings of the Fathers are the light that chases away the darkness of the Soul.
~ St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia

O Lord Jesus Christ! You are my medicine when I am sick; You are my strength when I need help; You are Life itself when I fear death; You are Light when all is dark. ~ St. Ambrose of Milan

Banquet of Faith

Some of our 2022 Pascha eggs (dyed brick-red with onion skins) sit on a nest of sweet lavender. These floral imprints are from marigold, barrenwort flowers, and a clover leaf.

Dying eggs red for Pascha is an ancient tradition, and symbolize the gift of eternal life though our Lord Jesus Christ’s glorious Resurrection.

Their shells represent the sealed tomb of Jesus, and when we crack our eggs together, we depict the end of the old and the beginning of the new… His Resurrection from the dead, the shattering of the Gates of Hell, and the Promise of Life Eternal!

The tradition of red eggs begins with St. Mary Magdalene, one of the Holy Myrrh-Bearers. As a witness of Christ’s Resurrection, and after His Ascension to the heavens, she began a life of ministry and also became known as an Equal-to-the-Apostles.

According to holy tradition, during her travels, St. Mary Magdalene gained an audience with the Emperor Tiberius in Rome… where she denounced the conduct of Jerusalem’s governor (Pontius Pilate) at Christ’s trial, by his condemning of an innocent man (whom he acknowledged to be) to death.

Then St. Mary Magdalene told the Emperor about the life and miracles of Jesus Christ, and His Resurrection from the dead. To illustrate the symbol of New Life (in Christ), she held an egg out to him, and joyously proclaimed, “Christ is Risen!”

The emperor mocked her saying, “There’s about as much chance of a human being returning to life again from the dead… as there is for that very egg in your hand to turn red!”

An instantaneous sign from God confirmed the truth of her message, and the egg immediately turned red!

Christ’s redemption transcends time and space. When we greet each other during the 40 days of Pascha-tide saying, “Christ is risen,” we confirm that not only did He rise all those years ago, but He remains risen right now.

Christ is risen! Truly He is Risen!

Song of Bread

He who asks to receive his daily bread does not automatically receive it in its fullness as it is in itself: he receives it according to his own capacity as recipient. The Bread of Life (cf. St. John 6:35) gives Himself in His love to all who ask, but not in the same way to all; for He gives Himself more fully to those who have performed great acts of righteousness, and in smaller measure to those who have not achieved so much. He gives Himself to each person according to that person’s spiritual ability to receive Him. ~St. Maximos the Confessor

The Lord promised to send the Comforter. (St. John 16:7), Who should join us to God. For as a compacted lump of dough cannot be formed of dry wheat without fluid matter, nor can a loaf possess unity, so, in like manner, neither could we, being many, be made one in Christ Jesus without the water from heaven. And as dry earth does not bring forth unless it receives moisture, in like manner we also, being originally a dry tree, could never have brought forth fruit unto life without the voluntary rain from above. For our bodies have received unity among themselves by means of that laver which leads to incorruption; but our souls, by means of the Spirit. Wherefore, both are necessary, since both contribute towards the life of God. ~ St. Irenaeus of Lyons

Aroma of Christ

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? ~ 2 Corinthians 14-16 

Fountain of Life

Hawaiian Beach Sunrise over Lava Rocks, 2014

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. ~Genesis 1:3

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. ~ Genesis 1:4

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised. ~ Psalm 113:3

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. ~ Psalm 119:105

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. ~Lamentations 3:22-23

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. ~ St. John 8:12

It seems that we do not understand one thing: it is not good when we return the love of those who love us, yet hate those who hate us. We are not on the right path if we do this. 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

Thy bridal chamber I see adorned, O my Savior, and I have no wedding garment that I may enter. O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul, and save me. ~Exapostilarion of Bridegroom Matins

Believing IS Seeing

For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. ~ Psalm 36:9

In a world where seeing is believing, it is through Faith we understand that believing is seeing.

Faith opens our spiritual eyes and ears. With awe and reverence, Faith is the beginning of wisdom, and it often comes before a miracle.

After the Resurrection of Christ, the (doubting) Apostle Thomas, absent at Christ’s previous visit to the other Apostles said, “Except I see in his hands the prints of the nails… I will not believe.” When Jesus came again, He invites Thomas to “reach hither and touch” and reproaches Thomas, “be not faithless, but believing.” (John 20:27)

My favourite part comes next. It’s powerful. It surpasses time. It’s a direct consolation from Christ to us, right here and right now… in today’s world, where seeing is believing.

Jesus blesses those who believe before they see: “blessed art they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” ~ C. S. Lewis

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