For our good, for our happiness, let us make a vow that from this day forth, from this hour, from this minute, let us strive to love God above all else and seek to do His Holy Will. ~ St. Herman of Alaska
You can read more about these two amazing saints’ lives (including some of today’s other saints) on the Orthodox Calendar, located at the very bottom of each post and page. Daily Scripture readings are listed there too.
Through the prayers and blessed intercessions of our most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints – may God give Help to the residents and tourists on the Hawaiian Island of Maui, struggling today with unprecedented wild fires and evacuations!
God travels our road, and no matter where we go… our angel’s there too!
I’m out of practice with international travelling. It’s been a few years!
Thankfully, we received a trip blessing before departure on our recent and amazing family vacation – which began with a huge hiccup at a connecting airport… with hundreds waiting in line to go through customs, (many apparently) for a Taylor Swift concert.
I accepted the possible inevitability it was God’s Will we might miss our next flight. There was nothing to do but patiently go through the long process. In the near 2 hour line up, I found myself quietly humming Lord Have Mercy a prayer of the heartI’d taught the Youth Choir – who sang it (as recorded below) at concert, during Palm Sunday Liturgy this year.
Lord Have Mercy Hymn – Youth Choir 2023
This serene piece (possibly hummed several hundred times while waiting in line) calmed me, and it seemed I could almost hear the Youth Choir’s precious voices singing along, as if in accompaniment!
In a nutshell… once passed security, we made a desperate, sweaty 10 minute dash (dragging our carry-on), and actually boarded the plane shutting its doors! Whew! Six hours later we arrived safely in beautiful Kauai, Hawaii.
Mahalo ke Akua (thanks be to God)!
Be that as it may, it was still surprising and disconcerting to remember (I’d conveniently forgotten) that no matter where we go, we always manage to pack along our imperfect inner selves. Ack! There’s no escaping this, even on holiday in paradise!
Familiar foibles sneakily surfaced, and (unless constantly playing in the ocean) the high humidity magnified an existing (hard to believe I’m sure, ha-ha!) grump factor.
With my comfort zone challenged, I happily rediscovered that conscious repetition of Thank you Godinspires true appreciation of His Creation.
Sincere gratitude helped me explore and happily embrace more unexpected adventures as they came during our vacation.
All in all, it was a joy to share new and meaningful experiences with loved ones. And, with apologies to my long-suffering Guardian Angel… I learned to embrace higher humidity!
It’s good to go – and good to come home… and very good to gird up one’s loins to resume the Me Battle again!
Mahalo for visiting Blisswood! I hope this finds you well.
Congratulations on your Saint’s Day dear Olga! (A brave young woman who fled from Ukraine due to the Russian war) May God continue to grant you many blessings, and many years, Olga! Roses – a Watercolour by Olga.
Do not treat your conscience with contempt; for it always advises you to do what’s best. It sets before you the will of God and the angels; it frees you from secret defilements of the heart; and when you depart from this life it grants you the gift of intimacy with God. ~ St. Maximos the Confessor
Always be guided by your heart rather than by your head, and your life will be transformed. Happiness does not consist in living in a palace or enjoying a large fortune; these can be lost. True happiness is something that neither men nor events can take from you. You will find it in Faith, in Hope and in Charity. Try to make those around you happy, and you will be happy yourself.~ Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia
Orthodoxy is a faith that is deep enough to allow her believers to confront the complexities of our human experience, while at the same time recognizing that not all is understood in this life, but viewed as a Mystery. So, the view that believers never doubt, is simply not true. Doubt is not the opposite of faith, but rather the vehicle by which we are challenged to go deeper into the Mystery that is true faith. Nothing keeps we true believers from struggling with uncertainty, for it is this very uncertainty that keeps us from complacency. Complacency is the true enemy of faith, and the inhibitor of spiritual growth. It is complacency that keeps us from the Kingdom of God, and the joy that comes when we are in Communion with Christ. It is not a question of choosing sides, but of surrendering to Divine Wisdom. ~ Abbot Tryphon
In the mystical theology of the Orthodox Church, Wisdom is understood as the Divine Logos (God the Word), Who became Incarnate as Jesus Christ. In Greek, Ἁγία Σοφία (Hagia Sophia) is defined “Holy Wisdom” meaning “Jesus Christ”…The Wisdom and Power of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 1: 24,30; 1 Corinthians 2:7
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth… No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. ~ First chapter of 1 John
Shared by a friend… Some Aspects of Surrendering to Divine Wisdom
Surrender = Conscious, Willing, Choice. Surrender = Unconditional Seeking Refuge within the Divine. Surrender = Faith. Surrender = Effort. Surrender = Hope. Surrender = Love. Surrender = Trust. Surrender = Strength. Surrender = Recognizing Blessings. Surrender = Gratitude, Thankfulness. Surrender = Action with Consistent Prayer. Surrender = Communication. Surrender = Understanding that Christ Knows What’s Best For Us.
Accepting God’s Will = Learning to let go, andlet God!
Happy Saint’s Day fr. dcn. Gordian – may God grant you many years!
I remember attending an adult baptism service years ago, and afterwards a non-Orthodox visitor went over and peered into the huge font. Looking perplexed, he came over and asked, “Where did all those lights go?” I wasn’t sure what he meant, and he explained further. “During the service the inside of that font was suddenly full of bright lights which came up and out of the water. I went over expecting to see light bulbs like hot tubs have, but there’s nothing!?” I told him that although I’d never seen this, he was obviously meant to…. and what he saw was holy… the hallowing of the water by the descent of the Holy Spirit.
It must have been beautiful!
Grant unto me the robe of Light, O Thou Who coverest Thyself with Light as with a garment, Christ our God, plenteous in mercy! ~ Irmos from Baptism Service
Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain. ~ Psalm 104:1-2
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. ~ St. John 8:12
While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light… ~ St. John 12:36
We have seen the True Light, we have received the heavenly Spirit, we have found the True Faith, worshipping the undivided Trinity: who hath saved us. ~Hymn at Divine Liturgy
…having approached Light itself, the soul is transfigured into light. ~ St. Gregory of Nyssa
…O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul and save me. ~ Exapostilarion Matins, Great and Holy Tuesday.
Christians, have we understood the great responsibility that we have taken on before God through baptism? Have we come to know that we must conduct ourselves as children of God, that we must align our will with the will of God, that we must remain free from sin, that we must love God with all our hearts and always patiently await union with Him? Have we thought about the fact that our heart should be so filled with love that it should overflow to our neighbour? Do we have the feeling that we must become holy and perfect, children of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven? We must struggle for this, so that we may not be shown unworthy and rejected. Let none of us lose our boldness, nor neglect our duties, nor be afraid of the difficulties of spiritual struggle. For we have God as a helper, who strengthens us in the difficult path of virtue. ~ St. Nektarios of Aegina, The Path to Happiness
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice ~ Psalm 96:11-12
Each September, and like clockwork – I literally ache totravel somewhere… anywhere… if only for a few days.
New destinations are required to be off the beaten track. They must include either deserted peaceful beaches backed by pristine nature, or jaunts to lofty mountains nestled by mysterious woodland streams.
Internal summonings such as these are particularly hard to resist, especially with wild geese flying overhead to distant warmer climes.
Today I’m a bit torn between completing weekend chores or planning an upcoming jaunt. With God’s help, I can do both, and manage to be back in plenty of time to celebrate the wonderful upcoming September Feast Days! [Nativity of the Theotokos (September 21/8) and Exaltation of the Cross (September 27/14)]
We shall see what opportunity God provides. And if not this year, then God willing, maybe a mystery tour next year!
Meanwhile, the end of summer beauty abides close to home. Bees buzz busily on patio flowers, and briny ocean breezes beckon. Joyful birdsong abounds everywhere.
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. ~ Psalm 118: 23-24
These warm, and hazy September days bring my favourite poem to mind. I hope you enjoy it too!
I Meant to Do My Work Today
I meant to do my work today – But a brown bird sang in the apple tree, And a butterfly flitted across the field, And all the leaves were calling me.
And the wind went sighing over the land, Tossing the grasses to and fro, And a rainbow held out its shining hand – So what could I do but laugh and go?
A drop of prayer is worth more than a sea of worrying. ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovic
There is no need at all to make long discourses, it is enough to stretch out one’s hands and say, “Lord, as You will, and as You know, have mercy.” And if the conflict grows fiercer say, “Lord, help!” He knows very well what we need and He shows us His mercy. ~ Abba Macarius
Since God is continuously present, why do you worry? For in Him we live and move. We are carried in His arms. We breathe God; we are vested with God; we touch God; we consume God in the Mystery. Wherever you turn, wherever you look, God is everywhere: in the heavens, on the earth, in the abysses, in the trees, within the rocks, in your nous [eye of the soul], in your heart. ~ St. Joseph the Hesychast
Lord, I do not know what to ask of You. You know better than me what my needs are. You love more than I know how to love. Help me to see clearly my real needs which I do not see. I open my heart to You. Examine and reveal to me my faults and sins. I put all trust in You. I have no other desire than to fulfill Your will. Teach me how to pray. Pray in me. Amen. ~ Prayers For All Occasions
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
Prayer unites one with God, being a divine conversation and spiritual communion with the Being that is most beautiful and highest. Prayer is forgetting earthly things, and ascent to heaven. Through Prayer we flee to God. ~ St. Nektarios of Aegina
Do not think that you have a right to complain when your prayers are not answered. God fulfills your desires in a manner that you do not know. ~ St. Nektarios of Aegina
If God is slow in answering your request, or if you ask but do not promptly receive anything, do not be upset, for you are not wiser than God. ~ St. Isaac of Syria
Do you know what a great gift it is that God gave us the right to speak to Him every hour and moment, wherever we are? He always listens to us. This is the greatest honour we have. For this reason we must love God. ~ St. Porphyrios