The Light of Truth

Photo by Olga Kononenko on Unsplash

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

In order to remind us that before anything else the Creator of the world created light, and after that everything else in order: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). And it must be so also at the beginning of our  spiritual life, so that before anything else the light of Christ’s truth would shine within us. From this light of Christ’s truth subsequently every good is created, springs up and grows in us. ~ St. Nikolai of Ohrid

Through the Divine Spark of the Holy Spirit, it’s Our Time to Shine.

Let us be as noetic Candles, Aflame with Zeal, and exude the Sweet Aroma of Divine Grace… Christ’s Light of the Virtues.

May your day brim with Light!

Rejoicing in His Creatures

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

When God, who is absolute fullness, brought creatures into existence, it was not done to fulfill any need but so that His creatures should be happy to share His likeness, and so that He himself might rejoice in the joy of His creatures as they draw inexhaustibly upon the Inexhaustible. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

Love all God’s creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything.  If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

I will never laugh at anyone for grieving over a loved beast. I think God wants us to love Him more, not to love creatures (even animals) less. We love everything in one way too much (i.e., at the expense of our love for Him), but in another way we love everything too little. No person, animal, flower, or even pebble has ever been loved too much – i.e., more than every one of God’s works deserves. ~ C. S. Lewis

Take delight in all things that surround us. All things teach us and lead us to God. All things around us are droplets of the love of God – both things animate and inanimate, the plants and the animals, the birds and the mountains, the sea and the sunset and the starry sky. They are little loves through which we attain to the great Love that is Christ. Flowers, for example, have their own grace; they teach us with their fragrance and with their magnificence. They speak to us of the love of God. They scatter their fragrance and their beauty on sinners and on the righteous. ~ Elder Porphyrios

…Animals can instinctively sense if you love them. The animals in Paradise felt the fragrance of Grace and served Adam. Since the transgression, nature groans together with man… My mind tells me that even the animals are better than me; so, I humble myself and obey them. Very early this morning, being tired from praying all night and exhausted because of my illness, I lay down to rest. After a while, I heard a kitten meowing outside my cell as if she needed something. I really wanted to rest, but I humbled myself and went against my own will. I obeyed the kitten and replied to her calling. I went to open the door. It had started to rain and I let her in so she wouldn’t get wet. What do you think then? Should I obey the animals or not? My thoughts tell me I should. ~ St. Paisios

With love and gratitude to my past creatures (dogs, rabbit, goldfish, birds and cats), who’ve made my life richer… Such a blessing to have been their human for a time!

Oh… and last but not least, cheers to the current grand-cat-by-default… who deigns to allow me to feed her treats.

To Fly Like Clouds

Image by Anja from Pixabay

Christ is Risen!

For virtue is a light and buoyant thing, and all who live in her way, “fly like clouds” as Isaiah says, “and as doves with their young ones” – but sin is a heavy affair, as another of the prophets says, “sitting upon a talent of lead.” ~ St. Gregory of Nyssa

Thoughts which originate from God bring internal peace and joy to the person. On the contrary, the thoughts which originate from the devil are filled with agitation, disturbance and grief. ~ Abba Barsanouphios

Thoughts are like airplanes flying in the air. If you ignore them, there is no problem. If you pay attention to them, you create an airport inside your head and permit them to land! ~ St. Paisios of Mt. Athos

Turn your face toward light, O child of light. The Father of Light calls you with a fiery Love. ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovic

The Gladsome Light of Christ surrounds us – no matter what the weather! Let’s keep looking up! There’s Sonshine above those clouds!

Truly He is Risen!

Divine Choreography

A Gardener’s Delight!

Final Encore of one diverse Floral Troupe’s whirling, spinning, Petal Pirouette [Pronounced pee-rooet]! ~ photo shared by Melania

Christ is Risen!

Celestial Music
Out of Eternity
Music was heard,
And into Infinity
Straightaway flowed,
All chaos along with it
Taking away.
In the chasm like a whirlwind
The stars began swirling,
Their every ray singing
Like musical strings,
And life, being stirred
By this Divine Vibration,
Shows only to him
Its true inspiration,

Who is sometimes attune
To this music celestial,
Whose mind is wide open,
Whose heart is aflame.
~ Y.P. Polonsky

In the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, the godparent holds or follows the newly-illumined (depending on their age) behind the priest, three times around the Baptismal Font, clasping a baptismal candle which symbolizes the Divine Light of Christ. The Procession is like a joyful dance as we embark upon the first few steps of our new life in Christ, while the clergy and choir sing, “As many as have been baptised into Christ, have put on Christ. Alleluia!”

In the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the Priest leads the couple in a Procession around the stand on which the Holy Gospel and Blessing Cross have been placed. Here too, the choir sings as the husband and wife take their first steps of holy wedlock together, and the Church (symbolized by the Priest leading the way) will help guide them in the way they should step. This part of the ceremony is sometimes called the Dance of Isaiah or the Dance of Life.

Let all the trees of the forest dance and sing, let all the trees clap their hands. ~ Sunday of the Cross

Whether with people or in nature, there is a Divine Choreography and it’s on us (of free will) to learn the Qualities of Movement to Life’s Dance of Truth. Through practice, we can move gracefully to any new melody. If we inadvertently have our own toes painfully trod upon during the Great Dance of Life, there is St. Paisios’ dynamic quote: So in every test, let us say: “Thank you, my God, because this was needed for my salvation.” Remembering this helps reset our internal rhythm… it enables us to glide forward… it inspires us to kick up our heels again with joyattuned anew… to the Divine Vibration!

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. ~ Isaiah 40:8

Receiving Him Into Our Own Arms

Parish Festal Icon of The Meeting of the Lord in the Temple ~ St. Luke 2:22-40

Greetings on the Feast! (February 15/2)

Today’s bright and beautiful feast day falls 40 days after the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is among the most ancient feasts, and since 450 AD, church candles are also blessed on this day as we remember Christ is our salvation, and the Light of the World.

Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendour of the One who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of His eternal light. Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ... We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet Him. The Light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness. This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through Him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God. The true Light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Let all of us share in its splendour, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the Light whose brilliance is eternal... ~ St. Sophronius of Jerusalem (638 AD)

Detail from Meeting of the Lord in the Temple, parish Icon – St. Joseph the Betrothed holds two turtledoves (pigeons), and the Virgin Mary passes the Christ Child to St. Simeon, and aged St. Anna the Prophetess holds a scroll pertaining to the Babe’s Divinity, “This Child has created heaven and Earth.”

On today’s Feast of the Meeting of the Lord, when the heavens meet the earth, God meets man, history meets eternity, when – as our people beautifully say – spring and winter meet, may we also open our hearts for an encounter with the Lord… Open your hearts, listen to the depths of your thoughts, desires, feelings, anticipations, nostalgias, yearnings, the pursuits of your hearts. For our hearts are created in the image of God and they yearn for God; the truth is often buried in passions, desires, appetites, ambitions, prejudices. Let us free ourselves of them and meet the Lord, for He always comes to meet us. He is the One who came, who is with us, Who always comes to be with us. ~ Bishop Atanasije (Homily on the Meeting of our Lord)

In some places, white snowdrop flowers traditionally decorate churches on this special day. Old English Names for Snowdrops are Christ’s Flowers, Purification Flowers, Candlemas Bells, and Fair Maids of February.

Congratulations on the Feast! Today, spring and winter meet, and like blessed spiritual candles, may our hearts and souls shine and wax brightly… as we open our noetic arms to embrace Christ’s Divine Warmth, and Illumination!

Songs of Joy

Recent Sunset Stroll Scene

Christ is the True Light
Who Illumines the whole world,
He is Glorious!

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~ Psalm 65:8

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. ~ Psalm 28:7

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. ~ Psalm 19:1

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! ~ Psalm 96:9

From the rising of the sun to its going down, the name of the Lord is to be praised. ~ Psalm 113:3

…Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! ~ Nehemiah 8:10

…let not the sun go down upon your wrath…~ Ephesians 4:26

What a wonderful day the Lord has provided! Let our eyes and hearts rejoice in His Gifts of Nature and for His Beauteous, Gladsome Light that shines upon us all!

The Light of Life

Warm Wintery Walk in the Sonshine

When diamonds dance
Upon the shining waters
We glimpse the Gladsome.

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

The Only Constant

Skopelos Greek Church Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Everything changes
Except our Lord Jesus Christ,
The only Constant.

He is Light, Life, Love,
Perpetual Truth, and Strength,
Hope, and Salvation.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. ~ Hebrews 13:8

…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~ St. Matthew 28:20

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~ Psalm 46:1

Greeting you on the 6th Day of Christmas!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Happy Saint’s Day Anysia!

Opening the Doors of Our Hearts

Cypress Church by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Upon opening
the stolid doors of our hearts
we are swathed in Light.

It is but a choice
to cross the threshold and run
to Divine Wisdom.

Immersed and sheltered
within His Numinous Light,
our true life begins.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. ~ Isaiah 9:2

O my God, Lord of Sabaoth [Lord of Hosts], enlighten the darkness of our hearts that we may see Thee, the true light, the blessed light that enlightens and gladdens the hearts of Thy friends. Enlighten us that we may follow Thee until the eternal rest. ~ Elder Ephraim, Counsels from the Holy Mountain

As if a beam of light falls upon us from heaven and enlightens everything in us and around us. It is a manifestation of the power of God. As if the Lord is saying through us, “Let there be Light”. And the light comes, and a new life appears before our eyes, the life we did not think existed. If only we focus our attention on good thoughts. ~ Orthodox Christianity, Bishop Alexander Mileant

In the Womb of Our Soul

Illuminated behind an olive oil lampada, is detail from the icon of St. John the Baptist and Forerunner, with his hands pointing us in the direction to find Christ, the Light of the World.

Jesus the Christ who was born in the flesh once for all of us, desires to be born again in the spirit in those who desire Him. In each of us, He again becomes a child in the womb of our soul and forms Himself from the virtues. He reveals as much of Himself as He knows each of us can accept. Let us contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation and in simplicity praise Him who became man for us. Faith alone can embrace these mysteries, for it is faith that makes real for us things that are beyond intellect and reason. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor (Philokalia, Vol. 2)

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