Neither Eye Nor Ear

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But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him’. But God has, through the Spirit, let us share his secret. For nothing is hidden from the Spirit, not even the deep wisdom of God. For who could really understand a man’s inmost thoughts except the spirit of the man himself? How much less could anyone understand the thoughts of God except the very Spirit of God? And the marvellous thing is this, that we now receive not the spirit of the world but the Spirit of God himself, so that we can actually understand something of God’s generosity towards us. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9-12

Silence is Golden

Romanian Orthodox Church Cloister image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

May we robe ourselves
with healing, golden, silent
pray’rs in cloistered hearts…

And garments of Grace –
woven with Divine Wisdom
and Peace from Above.

The friend of silence comes close to God. ~ St. John Climacus

You must allow yourself to approach silently nearer and nearer to yourself: the past, the present and the future in this moment of silence… all the waters of your life which flow away and run out and which are collected in the one basin of a heart aware of itself. ~ Fr. Antony Hughes

Silence is the prerequisite for inner stillness, and only inner stillness enables us truly to listen to God, to hear His voice, and to commune with Him in the depths of our being. Yet silence and stillness are, like prayer itself, gifts that God can and wants to bestow upon us. ~ Very Rev. John Breck – On Silence and Stillness

He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: ~ Psalm 23:2-3

           

What Are We Looking For?

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When we are coming to church what are we looking for? Fish in the desert? No, we are looking for that hidden “inward meditation” of the heart which unites us to Christ… The same thing happens in the church where you are mystically and sacramentally united with Christ. In and through your inner meditation on these things they will become a reality… In order to find Him strive to enter into that hidden, inner meditation and you’ll see that He’ll come of His own accord. You’ll see the heavy stone roll away from your heart and He Himself will rise! ~ Elder Aimilianos (The Way of the Spirit)

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.

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.
Refrain:
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.
Refrain
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.
Refrain

Rolling the Stone Away from Our Heart

Mosaic from the ancient cathedral Hagia Sophia, (Holy Wisdom) – Constantinople 2006

When we are coming to church what are we looking for? Fish in the desert? No, we are looking for that hidden “inward meditation” of the heart which unites us to Christ… The same thing happens in the church where you are mystically and sacramentally united with Christ. In and through your inner meditation on these things they will become a reality… In order to find Him strive to enter into that hidden, inner meditation and you’ll see that He’ll come of His own accord. You’ll see the heavy stone roll away from your heart and He Himself will rise! ~ Elder Aimilianos; The Way of the Spirit

For the first time, in a very long time, public church services resumed last weekend.

What delight!

What jubilation!

What indescribable JOY!

It felt like… Pascha.

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