O Gladsome Light

Sunbeams stream through church window before Evening Vespers.

O Gladsome Light of the Holy Glory, of the Immortal Father. Heavenly Holy, Blessed Jesus Christ. Now that we have come to the setting of the sun, and behold the light of evening, we praise God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For meet it is, at all times, to worship Thee with voices of praise. O Son of God, and Giver of Life, wherefore all the world doth glorify Thee! ~ Earliest known, recorded Christian hymn, still used in Orthodox Church Vespers

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. ~ 2 Cor. 4:6 

When a sunbeam falls on a transparent substance, the substance itself becomes brilliant, and radiates light from itself. So too Spirit bearing souls, illumined by Him, finally become spiritual themselves, and their grace is sent forth to others… ~ St. Basil the Great

May your day be full of Light!

Happy Mothers’ Day!

Lighting Our Little Lights

Two Bright Lights from my life: Metropolitan Vitaly and my godmother Princess Eve Galitzine, Memory Eternal!

A Conversation with Metropolitan Vitaly, 1986

Having been baptised recently, you are very happy and think everything is good- all of our sins have been erased from the Book of Life, and we are now assured of being admitted into Heaven, Paradise. But, for some reason, even though we’ve been baptised, we continue to commit many of the same sins. And when we meet with others, we sometimes find it difficult to get along with them. This is because both we and other people are full of passions which don’t get along with one another. I am asking you to be realistic. It is important to realize that the Church is not a Society of Saints, but a hospital in which we can sometimes hear screaming. And like all hospitals there are some doctors in it. And it is necessary to to take bitter medicine to help us struggle with our passions. Saints are people who have struggled with, and overcome their passions. They are healthy people, but they’re still in the hospital… We are all sinners, but we in the Church want to struggle with our sins. …

When we go before an icon it is important not just to bow down with our bodies, but to bow down our souls. Why do we light a candle before the icon? When we light a candle we are lighting our little light before Christ, and the burning candle symbolizes our life from beginning to end. In this context, all our actions must come from the inside, not the outside, including our work and everything we’re doing… All our life is a fight against two things, our soul and our body/flesh. The fight goes on until we die… We must always try to remember our goal of acquiring the Grace of the Holy Spirit, then we’ll be intelligent Christians.

Wherever They Are

Hawaiian Beach Wedding – Hanalei, 2012

During a sunset walk on the beach, we happened upon a couple having wedding photos taken.

We snapped a quick picture, and offered a silent prayer for God to bless them in their life ahead.

The spontaneous kiss and obliviousness to everyone and everything (including the incoming tide splashing up to their knees), completed the romantic scene perfectly.

Of course, marriage is not just romance.

The Crowning at an Orthodox Christian wedding, symbolizes the glory and honour bestowed by God upon the couple during this sacrament… and that Christ establishes them as King and Queen of their home, which they are to rule with Wisdom, justice, and integrity.

The crowns are also referred to as Crowns of Martyrdom.

My godmother related a wedding story with newlyweds asking WHY on earth would there be a need to call these Martyr’s Crowns?

My godmother just said, “You’ll find out.”

Whenever I come across this photo, I can’t help but wonder how the beach couple are doing now.

May God help and bless them, wherever they are… in life’s journey.

Fractured Routines

While experiencing a broken leg it’s odd to think of such a thing as a blessing, but it is. Really.

Thankfully, I’m healing well, and the pain has mostly subsided. I shouldn’t whine, as the worst part now is just having to wear an aircast boot for a few more weeks… And not being independent.

With my physical limitations it’s bizarre… because I now WANT to do laundry or other household chores! If my leg was fine, there would be mental weeping and gnashing of teeth. Daily patience and acceptance levels also vary, according to either how sunny or rainy it is outside, or the quality of sleep from previous night.

Along with the upset to my other “pre-fractured” routines, I’ve observed that by not planning ahead, I’m rushing through morning prayers, trying to fit them in. If by plain forgetfulness they are overlooked, the resulting day acquires an unpleasant flavour… and the out-of-sorts attitude can always be traced back to this.

We are creatures of habit. Restructuring new and temporary morning routines is hard. A quote from my late godmother comes to mind. “But why shouldn’t the most worthwhile things be the most difficult?”

Of course, my present situation is a short-term inconvenience, while so many others have to contend with real struggles of a more permanent nature. I’m  very grateful to be surrounded by the care of loved ones.

What a joy and relief we can reach out to God anytime and rise (for awhile) above the frailties of our nature – whether physical and spiritual… girding us with His strength from on high.

Right here. Right now. Regardless.

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