A Sacrifice of Praise

An abundance of sweet-scented wisteria spill over the pergola, upheld and supported by its rough, wooden beams.

Let us lift up our hearts! We lift them up unto the Lord! ~Anaphora

From every cut springs new growth. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all in gardening, or life.

To encourage a profusion of fragrant blossoms and to thrive – shrubs, trees, and vines require careful tending to transform into ultimate splendor. They must first be reduced, in order to become more.

By deadheading and pruning our own spiritual debris, we are refreshed and ready for new growth! We are able to lightly and joyfully lift up our hearts unto the Lord!

Through God’s Mercy of Peace we thrive, and our hearts are transformed by being in God.

In the words of an anonymous saint (whose name escapes me at the moment), may we remember more often to: Prune wisely and clip with discernment.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. ~ St. John 15:1-2

Prayer is the flower of gentleness and the fruit of joy. ~ Evagrios the Solitary, 4th century

Holy Wisdom’s Water of Love

Exotic Heliconia Rostrata, the Hanging Lobster Claw Flower ~ Kauai 2023

Greetings on the Holy Mandylion Feast Day!

If you do not shatter and empty your Ego, how will you make room for God?… God’s gifts to us blossom only if watered with the water of Love… Those who love can do only beautiful things. ~ Gerontissa Gavrilia

Let us unfurl our thirsty roots and drink deeply from Holy Wisdom’s salvific Springs of Living Water.

May our hearts Blossom Forth choosing happy, beautiful, Songs of Joy and gladness today!

Divine Choreography

A Gardener’s Delight!

Final Encore of one diverse Floral Troupe’s whirling, spinning, Petal Pirouette [Pronounced pee-rooet]! ~ photo shared by Melania

Christ is Risen!

Celestial Music
Out of Eternity
Music was heard,
And into Infinity
Straightaway flowed,
All chaos along with it
Taking away.
In the chasm like a whirlwind
The stars began swirling,
Their every ray singing
Like musical strings,
And life, being stirred
By this Divine Vibration,
Shows only to him
Its true inspiration,

Who is sometimes attune
To this music celestial,
Whose mind is wide open,
Whose heart is aflame.
~ Y.P. Polonsky

In the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, the godparent holds or follows the newly-illumined (depending on their age) behind the priest, three times around the Baptismal Font, clasping a baptismal candle which symbolizes the Divine Light of Christ. The Procession is like a joyful dance as we embark upon the first few steps of our new life in Christ, while the clergy and choir sing, “As many as have been baptised into Christ, have put on Christ. Alleluia!”

In the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the Priest leads the couple in a Procession around the stand on which the Holy Gospel and Blessing Cross have been placed. Here too, the choir sings as the husband and wife take their first steps of holy wedlock together, and the Church (symbolized by the Priest leading the way) will help guide them in the way they should step. This part of the ceremony is sometimes called the Dance of Isaiah or the Dance of Life.

Let all the trees of the forest dance and sing, let all the trees clap their hands. ~ Sunday of the Cross

Whether with people or in nature, there is a Divine Choreography and it’s on us (of free will) to learn the Qualities of Movement to Life’s Dance of Truth. Through practice, we can move gracefully to any new melody. If we inadvertently have our own toes painfully trod upon during the Great Dance of Life, there is St. Paisios’ dynamic quote: So in every test, let us say: “Thank you, my God, because this was needed for my salvation.” Remembering this helps reset our internal rhythm… it enables us to glide forward… it inspires us to kick up our heels again with joyattuned anew… to the Divine Vibration!

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. ~ Isaiah 40:8

O Precious Paradise

Detail of parish Creation Mosaic with scenes from Genesis, and the Expulsion From Paradise ~ Genesis 3:23-24

…O ranks of angels, O beauty of Paradise and all the glory of the garden: weep for me, for in my misery I was led astray and rebelled against God. O blessed meadow, trees and flowers planted by God, O sweetness of Paradise: let your leaves, like eyes, shed tears on my behalf, for I am naked and a stranger to God’s glory. No longer do I see thee nor delight in thy joy and splendour, O precious Paradise…. ~ Canticle 4, Sunday of Forgiveness

…O Paradise, share in the sorrow of thy master who is brought to poverty, and with the sound of thy leaves pray to the Creator that He may not keep thy gate closed for ever. I am fallen, in Thy compassion have mercy on me… ~ Ikos, Canticle 6 – Sunday of Forgiveness

God Forgives and Blessings Abound!

Today is the day before Great Lent begins, and we celebrate with making Blini Crepes or Pancakes to use up the last of any dairy. If you’re already a plant-based person, these Vegan Blini are simply delicious, and easy to make!

Congratulations on your Saint’s Day Zoe! (Feb. 26/13) God grant you many years!

Beautiful Garden of Scripture

European Robin Image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay

All who ask receive, those who seek find, and to 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

After the ancient feasts of Theophany and the upcoming Meeting of the Lord in the Temple (Candlemas), we notice the days growing longer. Although we know spring is just around the corner, sometimes February tosses us a few surprises. One moment we’re relaxed and relieved to see crocus and snow drop flowers blooming in glorious patches of dappled sunshine, and the next moment – heavy gray overcast skies compete with our weariness of winter and the happiness of blossoming silver catkins. While there’s almost always one last and brief farewell blast of snow or a crisp, cold snap, February has the last laugh! Robins return from their wintery travels to herald hope of the coming spring. Hearing their birdsong comforts and captures my heart anew… making me smile with joy! Thank you dear Lord for creating the saucy robins!

Then Will Come the 2nd Feast!

Detail of Parish Mosaic Icon – St. Bail the Great

…that will be St. Basil’s Feast; rejoice!

One of my favourite quotes from St. Basil the Great ~ 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.

May we all plant a Perennial Crop of Kindness and Share the Harvest from the Garden of God’s Love!

Happy St. Basil’s Day – January 14/1

Greetings on the Feast – with St. Basil the Great Quotes

St. Basil’s Day Cake Recipe

Sharing our parish choir’s (a cappella) 2014 recording of the Christmastide Carol – We Wish You Good Evening. We sing of the coming 3 feasts! Holy Nativity, St. Basil the Great’s Day, and Holy Theophany.

O rejoice all the world, the Son of God is born!

Peace on Earth

With heartfelt support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church during these turbulent times, painted rocks with Slava Ukraini (Glory to Ukraine), adorn a Canadian Orthodox Church garden.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
~ St. Matthew 5:9

Let us pray to the Lord… Stop the war that destroys lives and homes, give repentance to the oppressors, comfort the afflicted, guide the wandering, and plant peace and blessing in the hearts of Your servants. For the uprooting of hatred, enmity, and the desire for domination from the hearts of those who oppress the innocent, to bring among them unfeigned love, understanding, and peaceful co-existence, and put an end to war, disturbance, and human suffering, let us pray to the Lord. That He may deliver the oppressed from distress by the onslaught of armies, and turn the oppressors from evil and lead them to peace and love, that no one may perish, and that peace may reign on earth, unto the joy of His Church and people, let us pray to the Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, our God, who art the Source of life and peace in heaven and on earth, pour out the grace of your peace on a world troubled by war and hatred. Extinguish the differences and enmity between humans and pour into the hearts of all humility, peace, and goodness… Let us pray to the Lord. ~ Special Petitions for Peace; Romanian Orthodox Church

…There is no greater sin than war. ~ St. Sophrony the Hagiorite

As we draw nigh unto the Bright Feast of Christ’s Holy Nativity, may we seek and find the True, Healing Peace from Above, within the Bethlehem of our hearts.

Prayer for Peace

The Eternal Present of God

Fistful of Fall Pansies in Afternoon Sunlight

In the radiance of His light the world is not commonplace. The very floor we stand on is a miracle of atoms whizzing in space… In a world where everything that seems to be present is immediately past, everything in Christ is able to participate in the eternal present of God. ~ Fr. Alexander Schmemann

The sky is beautiful, but it is so in order that you may bow down before Him who made it; the sun is bright, but it is so in order that you may worship its Author; if you stop at the wonder of creation and get stuck at the beauty of these works, the light will become dark for you, or rather you will have used the light to change it to darkness. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Beauty is never ‘necessary,’ ‘functional’ or ‘useful.’ And when, expecting someone we love, we put a beautiful tablecloth on the table and decorate it with candles and flowers, we do all this not our of necessity, but out of love. And the Church is love, expectation and joy. ~ Fr. Alexander Schmemann

…God, Who fashioned us and brought us out of non-existence into being, has placed us in this life as in a schoolroom to learn the Gospel of His Kingdom. ~ St. Theodore the Studite

With God placing us in this life as in a schoolroom, may we all graduate in heaven!

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

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

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