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!

Fragrant, Sweet, Blooming

Image by Christiane from Pixabay

All who ask receive, those who seek, find, and those who knock it shall be opened. Therefore, let us knock at the beautiful garden of Scripture. It is fragrant, sweet and blooming with various sounds of spiritual and divinely inspired birds. They sing all around our ears, capture our hearts, comfort the mourners, pacify the angry, and fill us with everlasting joy. ~ St. John of Damascus

Pearls of Compunction

Photo Shared by Alec

Let each one of us keep in mind the benefit of fasting… For this healer of our souls is effective, in the case of one to quieten the fevers and impulses of the flesh, in another to assuage bad temper, in yet another to drive away sleep, in another to stir up zeal, and in yet another to restore purity of mind and to set him free from evil thoughts. In one it will control his unbridled tongue and, as it were by a bit, restrain it by the fear of God and prevent it from uttering idle and corrupt words. In another it will invisibly guard his eyes and fix them on high instead of allowing them to roam hither and thither, and thus cause him to look on himself and teach him to be mindful of his own faults and shortcomings. Fasting gradually disperses and drives away spiritual darkness and the veil of sin that lies on the soul, just as the sun dispels the mist. Fasting enables us spiritually to see that spiritual air in which Christ, the Sun who knows no setting, does not rise, but shines without ceasing. Fasting, aided by vigil, penetrates and softens hardness of heart… it causes fountains of compunction to spring forth… it is not possible for these things to come about in one day or one week! They will take much time, labour, and pain, in accordance with each man’s attitude and willingness, according to the measure of faith and one’s contempt for the objects of sight and thought. In addition, it is also in accordance with the fervour of his ceaseless penitence and its constant working in the secret chamber of his heart that this is accomplished more quickly or more slowly by the gift and grace of God. But without fasting no one was ever able to achieve any of these virtues or any others, for fasting is the beginning and foundation of every spiritual activity. ~ St. Symeon the New Theologian

Steep and Thorny

Bristling Scotch Thistles

Steep and thorny is the path that leads to the Heavenly Kingdom… Self-love is the soil upon which grow passions, emptiness of life, and sorrow. ~ Archbishop Seraphim Sobolev

Loving only himself, a man loves neither God nor his fellow-men. He does not even love the man that is in himself; he loves only his thoughts about himself, his illusions about himself. Were he to love the man in himself, he would at the same time love God’s image in him, and would quickly become a lover of God and man, for he would be seeking man and God in other men, as objects of his love. Self-love is not love, but is rejection of God and contempt for men, whether open or concealed. Self-love is not love but sickness, a serious illness that inevitably brings other illnesses in its train. As pox inevitably produces fever throughout the body, so self-love produces the fire of envy and anger in the whole body. A man full of self-love is full of envy of those who are better than he is, or richer, more learned or more respected by men. With envy there always goes anger, like flame with fire; a concealed anger, that flares out at times and, in so doing, reveals all the ugliness of the man’s sick heart, that has been poisoned with the poison of self-love… ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Take the example of the earth. Even though it is one, nevertheless, some earth is rocky, some quite fertile. And some is good for vines while other ground is suited for raising wheat and barley. So also are different types of human hearts and wills. Likewise also gifts from above are distributed differently. To one is given ministry of preaching, to another that of discernment, to another the gifts of healings (1 Corinthians 12:9). For God knows how a person is able to fulfill his stewardship and so He gives His various gifts accordingly. In a similar way to the interior battles, the enemy power is permitted to attack humans in the certain measure that each person is able to receive and withstand. ~ St. Macarius of Egypt (Fifty Spiritual Homilies)

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

As Sounding Brass

Rome, Italy – 2008

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. ~ 1 Corinthians 13: 1

When you have thought of criticism… judging others, ask God to take hold of you at that hour so you can love that person as He loves. Then God will help you see your condition. If Christ were visible, could you criticize? ~Gerontissa Gavrielia

What we say remains to eternity. ~ Gerontissa Gavrielia

A dog is better than I, for he has love and does not judge. ~ St. Xanthias: The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgement. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil.
~ St. Seraphim of Sarov

You have not yet acquired perfect love if your regard for people is still swayed by their characters – for example, if, for some particular reason, you love one person and hate another, or if for the same reason you sometimes love and sometimes hate the same person. ~ St. Maximos the Confessor

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