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Here are some fascinating historical documents about St. Patrick, written by the 7th century monk Muirchú from the Royal Irish Academy.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

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.

Happy Sts. Peter & Paul Day!

July 12/June 29

Icon of Saints Peter (left) and Paul (right).

The long Apostles’ Fast is over!

Greetings on this ancient, joyful feast day, commemorating the Holy Apostles Saints Peter and Paul. They are celebrated together because of their great roles in the Church as fathers and guides to all Christians.

O first-enthroned among the apostles and teachers of the whole world: Entreat the Master of all, that He grant peace to the world: and great mercy to our souls. ~ Troparion of Apostles Peter & Paul (Tone 4)

With hymns of praise let us honour the true preachers of piety, the all-radiant stars of the Church: Peter, the rock of Faith, and Paul, the teacher of the truth and initiate of the mysteries of Christ. For both of them having sown the word of truth in the ears of the faithful beseech Christ God Who giveth fruitfulness unto all, that our souls be saved. ~ Stichera for Apostles Peter & Paul (Tone 6)

Remembering the Old English Poem associated with the tradition of harvesting lavender on (or around) this particular Feast Day, we added a small, fresh bouquet of Provence Lavender at the festal icon of Saints Peter and Paul. “If you wish lavender bushy and tall, then tend on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

We have 4 lavender bushes that need “tending”. Their harvested stems are bundled securely into individual bouquets, (but not too tightly, and making sure they’re not damp) then hung upside down (flowers at bottom) to dry in the house, avoiding direct sunlight. It can take about 3 weeks for the stems and flowers to dry. Meanwhile, the house smells amazing! Lavender can easily be made into drawer/closet/car sachets, sleep pillows, or kept/shared as a dried floral wall decoration. If they dry straight enough, you can pop them into a dry vase to keep. I also strip some buds off several stems and put them in a lidded glass jar and stored in a dark kitchen cupboard- for use in… tea, lemonade, vinaigrettes, or baking. During winter use, it’s a joy to remember they were picked on a sunny summer Saints’ Day! Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, pray to God for us!

Culinary Lavender Summer Recipes…
Lavender-Rose Vegan Mini Mochi
Lavender Dream Cookies

Happy Saint’s Day – Reader Peter! May God grant you many years!

Memory Eternal – J. Paul T. 🐓 and Paul G.!

Spiritual Blossoms of the Isles

Heath blooming at Lochinver, Scotland – by Ivor Bond from Pixabay

Today we honour all the saints who, during the first millennium, have shone forth from England, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Scotland.

Being of English, Scottish and Irish heritage myself, this Sunday is very special to me.

Timeline of Orthodoxy in the British Isles

A Brief History of Orthodox England

We magnify thee, O all ye saints who have shone forth in the Isles, and we honour thy holy memory, for ye intercede with Christ our God on our behalf. ~ Saints of the British Isles Magnification

All Ye Saints of the British Isles pray to God for us!

From the ends of the earth, O Lord, the Isles of the Sea offer Thee all the saints who have shone forth therein as the fair fruit of Thy salvific splendour. Through their supplications and through the Theotokos, preserve Thy Church and Thine Isles in the profoundest peace, O most Merciful One. ~ Festal Troparion for All the Saints of the British Isles

Today the choirs of the saints who have pleased God in the Isles, standeth in the Church and invisibly prayeth to God for us. With them the angels give glory; and all the saints of the Church of Christ celebrate with them, and all together they beseech the Pre-Eternal God for us. ~ Kontakion Tone 3

The saints are shown to be fair blossoms of the Garden of Eden, laden with the nectar of good works and the sweet scent of Orthodox teachings, whereby our souls are fed and our spiritual thirst is quenched, Come ye therefore, let us hasten beneath their shade and let us bless them as the delight and adornment of the Isles, and as a model and pattern for our lives, for they have received unfading crowns of glory and all together they beseech the Pre-Eternal God for us. ~ Ikos

Let all the ranks of saints and angels make glad with us, singing in spiritual choir. They have beheld Our Sovereign, the Queen of Heaven and Lady of the Isles, Who is glorified by all the faithful. And the souls of all the righteous celebrate with them, beholding Her most precious hands stretched forth in supplication beseeching peace for the world, renewal of the Orthodox Faith in the Isles and the salvation of our souls. ~ Stichera of the Saints of the British Isles, Tone 8

O Queen of heaven and Lady of the Isles, to pray to God for us!

Happy 3rd Day of the Holy Spirit!

Image by Joe from Pixabay

As Children of Light, may we (with purpose and gratitude) strive to reflect the Holy Trinity’s Joyous, Gladsome Light- on all whom we meet today – and every day… The Three in One and One in Three!

The Holy Spirit has always been, is now and ever shall be, having neither beginning nor end, but one with the Father and the Son: life and life giving; goodness itself and source of goodness, through Whom the Father is made known and the Son is glorified, and is known by all: one power, one unity, one worship, of the Holy Trinity. ~ Pentecost Vespers

I praise the Godhead, unity in three persons, for the Father is light, the Son is light, and the Spirit is light; but the light remains undivided, shining forth in oneness of nature; yet in the three rays of the persons! ~ Matins, Sunday of the Cross

Come, O ye people, let us worship the Godhead in Three Hypostasis: the Son in the Father, with the Holy Spirit; for the Father timelessly begat the Son Who is Co-eternal and Equal in Majesty, and the Holy Spirit was in the Father, glorified together with the Son; One Might, One Essence, One Godhead. In worshipping Whom let us all say: O Holy God, Who madest all things by the Son, through the cooperation of the Holy Spirit; Holy Mighty, through Whom we have known the Father, and through Whom the Holy Spirit came into the world; Holy Immortal, the Comforting Spirit, Who proceedest from the Father, and restest in the Son: O Holy Trinity, glory be to Thee. ~ Dogmaticon of Great Vespers of Pentecost

Sung by the GG’s

When asked to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity in a simple manner, 5th century St. Patrick of Ireland used a tiny shamrock (a low growing plant of the clover family) with its three lobed leaves on a single stem, to demonstrate how God the Father- God the Son- and God the Holy Spirit are the Holy Trinity; Three in One, One in Three… Undivided. St. Patrick wrote many hymns. Above is an excerpt from a beautiful, longer hymn. “I bind unto myself today, the Strong Name of the Trinity! By Invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three!” 

May your fast-free week of the Afterfeast be peaceful and fruitful!

Apple Blossoms

Apple Blossom Scripture Art created by Juliana

Christ is Risen!

Happy Saint’s Day Irena! May God grant you many years!

Today is also 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.

Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.~ Psalm 17:8

He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. ~ Deuteronomy 32:10

Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.~ Proverbs 7:2

The expression of being the apple of one’s eye comes from the Old Testament, and is translated from Hebrew as little man of his eye… the reflection one sees in the eye of another. In early English translations of the Bible, the phrase appears as apple of his eye. This is derived from the Old English word aeppel, meaning either apple and/or an eye’s pupil. The phrase developed into apple of one’s eye, retaining the original meaning of something being both highly cherished and greatly treasured.

May we blossom forth and wax fruitfully in Christ!

Truly He is Risen!

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.

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

Happy New You!

Image by jplenio from Pixabay 

Happy New You” is what my grandchild used to chirp joyfully to others on New Year’s Day!

Children have such a way with words!

Standing on the threshold of another New Year, I’d like to share these precious pictures from my friend Irena – regarding a school’s “Random Prayers Bulletin Board”.

Thank you dear children who wrote those beautiful, wise words that tug the heartstrings!

May God indeed help us “be more jentle towards others” and to become New You’sby sharing His Truth and Beauty.

Let us be as little children thanking our Heavenly Father – for all our blessings! For everything He has ever given us… and to say plainly, and simply to Him, “I love you so much. Amen.”

Beauty calls to each of us, and sometimes we find truth and beauty where and when we least expect it.

May you have a most blessed, beautiful, and fruitful New Year!

Happy New You!

Happy New Us!

Good Deeds are Never Lost

Japanese Anemone flower, a lovely and vigorous perennial that blooms late summer until first frost, providing a welcome splash of garden colour.

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. ~ Proverbs 16:24

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 plants kindness gathers love. ~ St. Basil the Great

Out and about on errands recently, we pulled into a shopping mall and parked outside a coffee shop. To save time, I nabbed the groceries while my husband picked up wine for dinner. When I returned to the car, my husband related how a street person gently approached him asking for spare change. He actually found several dollars worth of coin, handed it to the street person and asked him to accept it in memory of his deceased brother. The man nodded, took the coin, walked around the corner of the building – and returned several seconds later. A forgotten purse sat on an empty bistro table outside the cafe. He picked up the purse, took it into the coffee shop, handed it over to the barista, then quickly exited and continued on his way. May God help that honest man and reward his good deeds!

Excerpts from Everyman a late-15th-century English morality play. Called by Death, Everyman can persuade none of his friends – Beauty, Kindred, Worldly Goods – to go with him, except Good Deeds

Good Deeds: Everyman, I will bide with thee, I will not forsake thee indeed; Thou shalt find me a good friend at need.

Everyman: I see my time is nigh spent away. Take example, all ye that do hear or see, How they that I loved best do forsake me, Except my Good-Deeds that bideth truly.

Good-Deeds: All earthly things are but vanity: Beauty, Strength, and Discretion, do man forsake, Foolish friends and kinsmen, that fair spake, All fleeth save Good-Deeds, and that am I. 

Everyman: Heaven have mercy upon me, and stand by me!

Good-Deeds: Fear not, I will speak for thee. Short our end, and minish our pain; Let us go and never come again.

It’s not an abundance of words that supplicate God, but a pure soul which manifests good deeds. ~ St John Chrysostom

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