Spiritual Fragrance

Roses of Spiritual Friendship from Olga

Today is the Feast Day of St. Xenia! (A very special Saint who has greatly helped our family) Congratulations also, to goddaughter Xenia on your Saint’s Day. May God grant you many years!

Yesterday, after service, our youth choir rehearsed It is Truly Meet to Bless Thee, O Theotokos… a hymn they’ll be singing for an upcoming liturgy. Sung from the heart, their pure, prayerful voices filled the air with spiritual fragrance – and arose like incense.

It is Truly Meet – Parish Youth Choir 2023

It is truly meet to bless thee, O Theotokos,
Ever blessed and most pure,
And the Mother of our God.
More honourable than the cherubim,
And more glorious beyond compare
Than the seraphim,
Who without corruption gavest birth
To God the Word,
True Theotokos we magnify thee.

May the Mother of God keep you and your family.

Heart and Soul

Image by Cheryl Holt from Pixabay

A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life; and those who fear the Lord will find him. ~ Sirach 6:14-16

Spiritual Friendship means we are deeply rooted by heart and soul- with each other through Jesus Christ, the Theotokos, and all the Saints.

Faithful Friends cultivate a mutually thriving, inner stillness of soul, as we walk along Life’s Path together. They are Dearer Than the Light of Heaven!

With Love and Gratitude to my precious Friends in Christ. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes on my Saint’s Day today!

A hearty congratulations in Spirit, to Julia on our shared Saints’ Day. May God grant all your petitions according to your salvation!

April in August

April the Sunflower – was planted from seed in “the month of” and duly designated as such, by a certain young gardener.

O Christian! Remember this once and for all: even on cloudy days the sunflower continues to follow the sun in its focused love, even though it cannot see the sun. The Sun that illumines our life’s path is the will of God. It does not always shine on us without clouds, often, clear days are followed by overcast days when rains, winds, and storms arise, No Christian is safe from these phenomena, these changes in spiritual weather. May our love for the Sun, the will of God, be as strong as the sunflower’s, so that even in days of hardship and sorrow, we will continue to sail unerringly along the sea of life, following the directions of the barometer and compass of God’s will that leads us to the safe haven of eternity. ~ St. John of Tobolsk, from The Sunflower

As requested… the exciting, and surprising conclusion to the April in July posting, regarding the saga of a Sunflower’s struggle to survive.

Yes, indeed!

April the Sunflower BLOOMS!

Despite April’s previous dramatic turmoils… such as literally losing her head, and having her tiny stem chomped on by marauding beetles – that rascally little Helianthus just soldiered on, undeterred by the grim reaper loitering menacingly (complete with scythe) for weeks, beside the compost bin!

Turning her daily tribulations into a tour de force, April overcame all odds, and has faithfully blossomed forth.

Never wallowing in self-pity, she just kept growing, and doing what any sensible sunflower is supposed to do… No matter what!

Meanwhile, April continues to thrive and provide life-lessons, much to our family’s delight.

It’s no mere coincidence that her sunflower leaves are heart-shaped!

You Grow Girl!

💚

Dearer Than the Light of Heaven

Image by Manfred Antranias Zimmer from Pixabay 

Such is friendship, that through it we love places and seasons; for as bright bodies emit rays to a distance, and flowers drop their sweet leaves on the ground around them, so friends impart favour even to the places where they dwell. With friends even poverty is pleasant. Words cannot express the joy which a friend imparts; they only can know who have experienced. A friend is dearer than the light of heaven, for it would be better for us that the sun were exhausted than that we should be without friends. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Much Fruit

Image by Michael Strobel from Pixabay 

Much effort and labour is needed, for a man to be changed and to be the good tree that brings forth fruit. Strive then, for nothing else but to change, renew, and correct yourself. And pray for this… ~ St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

An unfulfilled promise is like a tree without fruit. ~ St. Ambrose of Optina

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship; and he who sows kindness, gathers love. ~ St. Basil the Great

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. ~ St. John 12:24

Frēond

An Affinity of Apple Blossoms Vie in Tandem for Sunshine

The Old English word frēond is the source of the word friend – which means to love, like, honour, to set free from slavery or confinement.

On the flip side of the coin, the Old English word  fēond, (frēond WITHOUT an “R”) meant fiend an enemy, foe, hater, reviler, devilish. These two completely opposite Old English words are separated by just one letter, as they continue today in modern English.

Throughout my life and like most people, I’ve experienced the many degrees of kith and kin friendships – including affinity of neighbours, classmates, acquaintances, and coworkers. But, I’ve found the most true, meaningful, and lasting of friendships are those rooted in a deep, spiritual bond. Our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ unites us in understanding and purpose… To help us grow together toward the Light… To help us Bloom and acquire the Fruits and Gifts of the Holy Spirit… To help us become the friends of God. What a Friend we have in Jesus! His Amazing Love never changes! Thank you Oh most Holy Trinity our God! Glory be to Thee!

God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or any else could love, and even more than we are able to love ourselves. ~ St. John Chrysostom

A faithful friend is beyond price, since he regards his friend’s misfortunes as his own, and suffers with him, sharing his trials until death. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. ~ Proverbs 18:24

The genuiness of a friend is shown at a time of trial, if he shares the distress you suffer. ~ St. Thalassios the Libyan

Concern yourself only that you have God for a friend, and do not be afraid of anything. Behold, He is your only friend Who loves you without change. ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Walking By Faith

An Ancient Pebble-Mosaic Church Walkway, Greece ~ 2004

Today is the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Powers: the Archangels Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salaphiel, Jegudiel, Barachiel, and Jeremiel.

For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. ~ Psalm 26:3

We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. ~ Psalm 55:14

For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. ~ Psalm 84:11

Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. ~ Psalm 89:15

Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. ~ Psalm 143:8

Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day. ~ 1 Kings 8:61

Can two walk together, except they be agreed? ~ Amos 3:3

Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. ~ St. John 5:8

For we walk by faith, not by sight: ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. ~ Galatians 5:25

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: ~ Colossians 2:6

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.~ Colossians 4:5

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:12

Budding Promises

Rose from Pixabay ~SchneeKnirschen

Rosebuds contain mysterious layers of hidden beauty. Immature buds have no perfume until they mature and bloom. Upon fruition, they radiate a myriad of fragrances which correspond to their various transformations. All buds promise the possibility of flowers, and fill us with joy, hope, and reflections of Sonshine.

For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; ~ 2 Corinthians 2:15

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. ~Ephesians 5:1-2

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend. ~ Proverbs 27:9

Your mind is the garden, your thoughts are the seeds, the harvest can either be flowers or weeds. ~ William Wordsworth

Spiritual Friendship

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! ~ Psalm 133:1

The righteous choose their friends carefully… ~ Proverbs 12:26

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. ~ Proverbs 13:20

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. ~Proverbs 27:9

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. ~ St. John 15:12-15

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another… ~ Romans 12:10

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. ~ 1 Peter 4:8-10

Though you should name infinite treasures, none of them is comparable to a genuine friend. And first let us speak of the great delight of friendship itself. A friend rejoices at seeing his friend, and his heart expands with joy. He is tied to him with an union of soul that affords unspeakable pleasure. I speak of genuine friends, men of one soul, who would even die for each other, who love each other fervently. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Eating and drinking don’t make friendships – such friendship even robbers and murderers have. But if we are friends, if we truly care for one another, let us help one another spiritually. . . Let us hinder those things that lead our friends away to hell. ~ St. John Chrysostom

It would be better for the sun to be extinguished than that we should be deprived of friends. Better to live in darkness than to be without friends. ~ St. John Chrysostom

A true friend is one who in times of trial, calmly imperturbably suffers with his neighbour the ensuing afflictions, privations and disasters as if they were his own. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

A faithful friend is a strong defense; for when things are going well with you, he is a good counselor and a sympathetic collaborator, while when things are going badly, he is the truest of helpers and a most compassionate supporter. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

Strive by every means constantly to rejoice the Heavenly Father by your life; that is, by your meekness, humility, gentleness, obedience, abstinence, right judgment, love of peace, patience, mercy, sincere friendship with worthy people, kindness to everybody, cordial hospitality, universal benevolence, accuracy in business, simplicity of heart and character, and by the purity of all your thoughts. ~ St. John of Kronstadt

Gather Love

Such is friendship, that through it we love places and seasons; for as bright bodies emit rays to a distance, and as flowers drop their sweet leaves on the ground around them, so friends impart favour even to places where they dwell. With friends even poverty is pleasant. Words cannot express the joy which a friend imparts; only they can know who have experienced. A friend is dearer than the light of heaven, for it would be better for us that the sun were exhausted than that we should be without friends. ~ St. John Chrysostom

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