St. Nicholas Day Greetings!

Happy, happy, St. Nicholas Day!

Our dear, Holy Father, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra and Lycia, was born circa 270 AD, and reposed around 343 AD.

He is the patron saint of travellers, children, orphans, widows, sailors, bankers, pawnbrokers, and victims of judicial mistakes.

Troparia to St. Nicholas (Tone 4): The truth of things revealed thee to thy flock, as a rule of faith, a model of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence, wherefore thou hast attained the heights through humility, and riches through poverty. O hierarch Nicholas our father, entreat Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion to St. Nicholas (Tone 3): In Myra thou wast shown to be a performer of the sacred mysteries, O holy one, for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, thou didst lay down thy life for thy people, O venerable one, and didst save the innocent from death. Wherefore, thou hast been sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God.

There is a lovely children’s tradition associated with the evening before St. Nicholas Day. Children leave their shoes outside their front door, and during the night, they’re filled with small gifts. (Canadian $1 “Loonies” make excellent “gold” coinage!)

Above’s a short St. Nicholas Children’s Carol, sung (a few years ago) after Liturgy by my GG’s (grand-girls) in front of the St. Nicholas icon, before heading home to tuck into a delicious slice of our family’s traditional St. Nicholas Day Pie!

Today’s not only St. Nicholas day, but we’re now also halfway through our Advent journey to Nativity! We’re on the home-stretch!

To this very day, St. Nicholas continues to help and protect us from misfortunes. He’s very close and attentive to the poor and destitute. St. Nicholas is only a prayer away.

Some more Modern Miracles of St. Nicholas.

St. Nicholas helps those who believe, to affirm their faith, and those who do not yet know God, to kindle in them the flame of faith... As the Lord makes the sun to shine upon all, whether good or evil, and the rain to fall upon all, and calls everyone to salvation and knowledge of the truth, so St. Nicholas does good deeds for those who do not know the true God in the hope that they will understand and turn to the Creator. ~ Metropolitan Onuphry of Ukraine

Wishing you a most blessed, bright, and happy feast day!

Perhaps, when next encountering someone needy, we may remember this wonderful Saint, and give alms.

If one doesn’t have money on themselves, then share a warm smile, or a kind greeting… as these are precious Gifts of Hope and Love.

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!

Give Something, However Small…

Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

Give something, however small, to the one in need. For it is not small to the one who has nothing. Neither is it small to God, if we have given what we could. ~ St. Gregory Nazianzen

Someone recently shared; when they’re driving past a street person, they’ll pray for them with all their heart, “Lord have mercy on (that person or him or her).” A poignant consideration… perhaps that might be the only prayer offered on behalf of that soul for today – or ever.

If unexpectedly walking by someone in need, with nothing material to give at that moment, we can always share Christ’s Love – even through the joyful gift of a warm smile.

Good Deeds, however small, are never lost!

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. ~ St. Matthew 5:7


All Things Are Near to God

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens? ~ Job 35:11

..surely we ought to show kindness and gentleness to animals for many reasons, and chiefly because they are of the same origin as ourselves.~  St. John Chrysostom

Man is not a being isolated from the rest of creation; by his very nature he is bound up with the whole of the universe… In his way to union with God, man in no way leaves creatures aside, but gathers together in his love the whole cosmos disordered by sin, that it may be transfigured by grace. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

All things are near to God, says the Russian proverb. Truly everything is near: all spiritual, and sentient creatures, the Angels, the souls of the departed, all living men, all animals, all material worlds. The Spirit of God passes through all things, a reasoning pure, most refined Spirit, dwelling in every believing, pious soul. “The wild beasts of the field are in my sight (Psalm 1:11),” says He. “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (St. Matthew 28:20).” As an infinite Spirit, to God nothing is far away, but all things are in Him. All things live and exist in Him.~  St. John of Kronstadt

Much Fruit

Image by Michael Strobel from Pixabay 

Much effort and labour is needed, for a man to be changed and to be the good tree that brings forth fruit. Strive then, for nothing else but to change, renew, and correct yourself. And pray for this… ~ St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

An unfulfilled promise is like a tree without fruit. ~ St. Ambrose of Optina

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 sows kindness, gathers love. ~ St. Basil the Great

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. ~ St. John 12:24

In His Garden

Candlelight Streams onto Flowers by the Most Holy Theotokos Icon

We have so many things to be thankful for! Our daily bread, health, family, friends, prayers and kindness from others, and all the so-called ordinary things mistakenly taken for granted – that aren’t ordinary at all.

Children seem more observant of blessings. A mother just shared something precious. Their family baked a Saint Basil’s Day Cake for the Feast yesterday, and her youngest received the special $2 coin hidden in the cake. The thoughtful child insisted the mother take the coin and find a way to give it to the homeless. The child said, “I have everyfing, and some don’t have nuffin’!”

Everything is God’s and we are His guests… although sometimes we feel that everything belongs to us. We become used to His many blessings and blindly expect that all good things are a given.

Nothing stays the same. Everything changes… Except God.

Let’s make efforts to be considerate houseguests appreciating our Divine Host’s Bountiful Blessings.

For, when we’re out in nature, or in church, or going about our daily lives, we are in His Garden, surrounded by the Beauteous Art of Creation.

With opened eyes, we glimpse it… everywhere.

For as long as you are on earth, consider yourself a guest in the Household of Christ. If you are at the table, it is He who treats you. If you breathe air, it is His air you breathe. If you bathe, it is in His water you are bathing. If you are traveling, it is over His land that you are traveling. If you are amassing goods, it is His goods you are amassing. If you are squandering, it is His goods that you are squandering. If you are powerful, it is by His permission that you are strong. If you are in the company of men, you and the others are His guests. If you are out in nature, you are in His garden. If you are alone, He is present. If you set out or turn anywhere, He sees you. If you do anything, He remembers. He is the most considerate Householder by Whom you were ever hosted. Be careful then toward Him. In a good household, the guest is required to behave. These are all simple words but they convey to you a great truth. All the saints knew this truth and they governed their lives by it. That is why the Eternal Householder rewarded them with eternal life in heaven and glory on earth. ~St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Walking By Faith

An Ancient Pebble-Mosaic Church Walkway, Greece ~ 2004

Today is the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Powers: the Archangels Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salaphiel, Jegudiel, Barachiel, and Jeremiel.

For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. ~ Psalm 26:3

We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. ~ Psalm 55:14

For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. ~ Psalm 84:11

Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. ~ Psalm 89:15

Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. ~ Psalm 143:8

Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day. ~ 1 Kings 8:61

Can two walk together, except they be agreed? ~ Amos 3:3

Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. ~ St. John 5:8

For we walk by faith, not by sight: ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. ~ Galatians 5:25

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: ~ Colossians 2:6

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.~ Colossians 4:5

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:12

Silence is a Mystery

The highest form of prayer is to stand silently, in awe before God. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian

Words are instruments of this world, but silence is a mystery of the age to come. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian

Very desirable is the prayer of the heart. Very desirable is the silence of the heart. ~ St. Ignatius Brianchaninov 

Wordless Thanksgivings

Mosaic Window Frames Sunflower & Marigold Bouquet

The apostle (Paul) notes four types of prayer. ‘My advice is that first of all supplication should be offered up for everyone, prayers, pleas, and thanksgiving’ (1 Timothy 2:1). …A supplication is a plea or petition made on account of present and past sin by someone who is moved by contrition to seek pardon. In prayers we offer or promise something to God. The Greek term means ‘vow’… Third comes pleas. We usually make them for others when we ourselves are deeply moved in spirit. We offer them for those dear to us or when we beg for peace in the world… Fourth are thanksgivings. Unspeakably moved by the memory of God’s past kindnesses, by the vision of what He now grants or by all that He holds out as a future reward to those who love Him, the mind gives thanks. In this perspective richer prayers are often uttered. Looking with purest gaze at the rewards promised to the saints, our spirit is moved by measureless joy to pour out wordless thanksgiving to God. ~ St. John Cassian

Perfume of Peace

We are the sons of light and love, the sons of God, His children. As such we must have His qualities and His attributes of love, peace, and kindness towards all. ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Thus, my brother, if you love peace of heart, strive to enter it by the door of humility, for no other door but humility leads therein. ~ Unseen Warfare

Fasting and self-control are a double wall of defense and whoever lives within them enjoys great peace.~ St. Gregory Palamas

Peace is truly the complete and undisturbed possession of what is desired. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

Whoever enters a shop that sells perfume said an elder, even if he does not buy any perfume, he comes out fully fragrant. The same happens to those who socialize with holy people. They take upon themselves the spiritual fragrance of their virtue. ~ Anonymous Elder

You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of one who gives and kindles joy in the heart of one who receives. ~ St. Seraphim of Sarov

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