Spiritual Blossoms of the Isles

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

On the third Sunday after Pentecost we honour all the saints who, during the first millennium, have shone forth from England, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Scotland.

Being of Scottish and Irish heritage, 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!

Reaping the Harvest

Scripture Art by Juliana

When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands ~ Deuteronomy 24:19

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

Now is the Most Precious Time

Image by Sue Rickhuss from Pixabay

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

From this day, from this hour, from this minute, let us strive to love God above all, and fulfill His holy will. ~ St. Herman of Alaska

There’s a ponderous inscription over the entry gates of St. Paul’s monastery on Mt. Athos saying, If you die before you die, then you won’t die when you die.

We habitually assume there’ll be plenty of time later to tackle our lengthy spiritual to-do lists. But, in turn, each of us will be brought to stand before God and give account of our life. So now is the most precious time for efforts. Now never comes again. Lord, help us to live in Christ – now!

…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
~ 2 Corinthians 6:2

Bright Greenery

Our Potted Patio Garden Flowers, Herbs, and Veggies Blossom Forth!

As the earth, long awaiting moistening and at last receiving it in abundance, suddenly is covered by tender and bright greenery, so also the heart, exhausted by dryness, and afterwards revived by tears, emits from itself a multitude of spiritual thoughts and feelings, adorned by the common flower of humility.~ St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

If our thoughts are kind, peaceful, and quiet, turned only to the good, then we also influence ourselves and radiate peace all around us – in our family, the whole country, everywhere. This is true not only here on earth, but in the cosmos as well. When we labour in the fields of the Lord, we create harmony. Divine harmony, peace, and quiet spread everywhere.~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitnovica

Truth is the Beverage of Life

Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay

One should not seek among others the truth that can be easily gotten from the Church. For in her, as in a rich treasury, the apostles have placed all that pertains to truth, so that everyone can drink this beverage of life. She is the door of life. ~ St. Irenaeus of Lyon

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. ~ Psalm 100:5

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. ~ St. John 1:14

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. ~ St. John 4:24

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. ~ St. John 8:32

For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth…~ Ephesians 5:9

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. ~ 1 John 3:18

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

Even When it’s Raining

The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all of us who are bowed down. ~ Psalm 145:14

It’s been said that sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but Faith looks up!

We glimpse this in our own gardens, with flowers blooming – regardless of debris from past storms.

For even when it’s raining, the Sun is shining above those clouds!

The fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth. ~ Ephesians 5:9

Lover of Silence

Greetings on Clean Wednesday.

These profound silence quotes are by the 7th century St. Isaac of Syria

If you love truth, be a lover of silence. In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent. But then, something is born that draws us to silence. May God give you the experience of this something that is born in silence.

Silence is the mystery of the world to come.

Humility collects the soul into a single point by the power of silence. A truly humble man has no desire to be known or admired by others, but wishes to plunge from himself into himself, to become nothing, as if he had never been born. When he is completely hidden to himself in himself, he is completely with God.

Above anything, welcome silence, for it brings fruits that no tongue can speak of, neither can it be explained.

Silence is a mystery of the age to come, but words are instruments of this world.

Not every quiet man is humble, but every humble man is quiet.

May your Lenten Journey be peaceful and fruitful.

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