Angelic Pearls

Feature photo from yesterday’s beautiful Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos (September 21/8). Such a Light and Happy Celebration! Even the bright church flowers seem to point joyfully to the Altar’s Angel Doors.

Liturgically, everything’s connected, and I love how the day after the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, we also remember her parents, Sts. Joachim and Anna (September 22/9). St. Anna (Ann or Anne, from Hebrew Hannah – meaning favour or grace) is descended from the lineage of King David, and the mother of the Virgin Mary, and grandmother of Jesus Christ. 

Congratulations on your Saint’s Day today, goddaughter Anna! God grant you many years!

So many blessings! Each church also has its own Guardian Angel that always remains in the Altar. After a service, when the candles are snuffed and the congregation has left for home… if one sits quietly with their physical eyes closed, the eyes of the soul may catch a glimpse of comprehension – regarding that profound, peaceful silence steeped in holiness.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4: 7

After the Divine Liturgy we should linger in church as long as we can. For the Angels. …If we are interrupted while speaking, we must not continue. It means that what we were about to say should not be heard. The Angels do this. …Talk with your Guardian Angel all the time, about everything. Especially when you are in trouble and when you cannot get along with other people. He always helps. … In my evening prayer I tell my Angel: “Take my soul this evening too and place her by the feet of Christ, to be perfected all night through, so that I may find her improved in the morning!” ~ Gerontissa Gavrilia

Memory Eternal Grandma Faith!

With love in Christ.

Dormition of St. Anna

Church Icons of The Most Holy Theotokos – Image by Iulia Radu from Pixabay

Greetings on this wonderful Feast! What a glorious day! Our priest brought a small relic of St. Anna (from Mt. Athos) this morning for the parish to venerate after Divine Liturgy. Blessed joy!

Greetings on the Dormition of St. Anna the mother of the Theotokos. (Julian Calendar July 25/Aug. 7)

Beautiful Icon of St. Anna

St. Anna (Ann or Anne, from Hebrew Hannah – means favour or grace) is descended from the lineage of King David, and the mother of the Virgin Mary, and grandmother of Jesus Christ. 

O Godly-minded Anna, thou didst give birth unto God’s pure Mother who conceived Him Who is our Life. Wherefore, thou hast now passed with joy to thy heavenly rest, wherein is the abode of them that rejoice in glory; and thou askest forgiveness of sins for them that honour thee with love, O ever-blessed one. ~ Troparia

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!

The Gate of Mercy

Children’s Backyard Secret Garden

Repentance is the gate of mercy which is opened to all who seek it. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian

Repentance raises the fallen, mourning knocks at the gate of Heaven, and holy humility opens it… Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the angel who guards you will honour your patience… Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life… Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair… Repentance is purification of conscience… Repentance is a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness.~ St. John Climacus

Prayer does not consist merely in standing and bowing your body or in reading written prayers… it is possible to pray at all times, in all places, with mind and spirit. You can lift up your mind and heart to God while walking, sitting, working, in a crowd and in solitude. His door is always open, unlike man’s. We can always say to Him in our hearts; Lord, Lord have mercy. ~ St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

I recall an old-time Protestant hymn my grandmother would belt out occasionally… whether pushing a buggy down a grocery store aisle, or washing dishes in the kitchen. I can’t remember the verses, but sure loved its sweet refrain!

🎵 Mercy there was great and grace was free, Pardon there was multiplied to me, There my burdened soul found liberty, At Calvary! 🎵

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

Blue Hydrangea Gift Bouquet from Caroline

Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! ~ Psalm 47:6

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. ~ Psalm 104:33

Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, ~ Ephesians 5:19

…Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. ~ James 5:13

We are encouraged to make a joyful noise unto the Lord! From experience, I’ve found singing helps keep one out of trouble (lessens idle talk). It can also bestow unexpected blessings.

My Grandma loved to sing, and would sometimes just belt out an old-time hymn from her Protestant past. Leaning on the Everlasting Arms was a particular favourite… whilst grocery shopping.

The first time my kid brother and I heard her do this, we simultaneously dove to hide on the shopping cart’s lower rack, along with the 20 pounds of potatoes.

As time passed, we grew too large to cower with sacks of vegetables or bags of flour. So, my brother and I strategized to flee at the first hint of songburst, and from a safe distance, we’d observe fellow shoppers part like the Red Sea, deserting the aisles when they heard her coming.

Driving home, our grandma would innocently remark on how quickly the Lord helped us finish shopping at the supermarket!

I recently came across this ageless hymn she loved. It made me smile, and I can almost hear a shopping cart’s squeaky wheel accompanying her forte voice, singing that simple refrain… 🎵 Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms. 🎵

Although my grandma was baptised into the Orthodox Church at the youthful age of 89 and learned yet more hymns, I’m grateful she also helped me appreciate the simple lyrical compositions found in some of the old-time Protestant hymns.

Memory Eternal, Faith!

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms was published in 1887 with music by Anthony J. Showalter and lyrics by Showalter and Elisha Hoffman. When writing letters of consolation to two of his former pupils whose wives had died, Showalter was inspired by the phrase The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. ~ Deuteronomy 33:27

A great acapella recording by one artist singing all four voice parts.

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

O how sweet to walk, In this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

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