Pining For the Green

Kilauea, Kauai ~ July 2023

Whoever plants a tree, plants hope, peace, and love and has the blessings of God. ~ Elder Amphilochios of Patmos (Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit)

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

It’s that time of year again!

February brings
keen yearnings for the verdant
em’rald greens of spring.

Tiny tentative
tight fuzzy fronds of patience
cling to hopeful vines.

Tired of deciduous difficulties… it’s with faith and hope that we can patiently await the eternal, spiritual springs of God’s help!

Warming Our Frosty Hearts

Shards of ice crystals cover my windshield, hindering clear vision. With a bit of effort, they can be scraped off and kept off… by keeping the car engine warm.

God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold which comes from the devil – for the devil is cold – let us call on the Lord. He will come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but also for our neighbour, and the cold of him who hates the good, will flee before the heat of His countenance. ~ St. Seraphim of Sarov

It is of great significance if there is a person who truly prays in a family. Prayer attracts God’s Grace and all the members of the family feel it, even those whose hearts have grown cold. Pray always. ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica (Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives)

If you find that there is no love in you, but you want to have it, then do deeds of love, even though you do them without love in the beginning. The Lord will see your desire and striving, and will put love in your heart. ~ St. Ambrose of Optina

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.

Bring to Light

Image by 12019 from Pixabay

 You are all children of light and children of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness… But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:5,8

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: ~ 1 Corinthians 13: 12

Through the Holy Spirit comes our restoration to paradise, our ascension into the kingdom of heaven, our return to the adoption of sons, our liberty to call God our Father, our being made partakers of the grace of Christ, our being called children of light, our sharing in eternal glory, and, in a word, our being brought into a state of all “fullness of blessing,” both in this world and in the world to come, of all the good gifts that are in store for us, by promise hereof, through faith, beholding the reflection of their grace as though they were already present, we await the full enjoyment. ~ St. Basil the Great

Without first experiencing darkness, how would we recognize light?

That Still Small Voice Actually Shouts

Image by Maria Saveleva from Pixabay

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

From the Letters of Grand Duchess St. Elizabeth (Granddaughter of Queen Victoria)

Happy Saint’s Day to my parish friends Elizabeth, both named after this amazing Saint! May God grant you many years!

Sanctifying Spirit

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The sun penetrates crystal and makes it more dazzling. In the same way, the sanctifying Spirit indwells in souls and makes them more radiant. They become like so many powerhouses beaming grace and love around them. ~ St. Basil the Great

I could never, ever, live far away from the sea. It’s my favourite place to be even when days are dull, stormy and gray!

Standing at the waters’ edge promotes perspective, whatever the weather. It refreshes and reminds me of my small but proper place in the greater scope of things. And… upon any cloudy day, you just know that at any given moment – sun beams can triumphantly pierce through the silver canopy of clouds, and take one’s breathe away.

God’s Creation reflects Hope and inspires prayer! We can’t help but be grateful for the sea’s lulling, reflective sighs, or the reviving, salty winds that blow out those dusty cobwebs from our minds!

Thank you dear Lord, for the beautiful blessings of the ocean, and for imbuing us with Your Joy, Love, and Peace from Above!

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)

Blissful Dawn

Sunrise on Recent Vacation

Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility… Even the slightest thought that is not founded on love destroys peace… The thoughts that we give ourselves up to define our life… It is not good to dwell on every thought that comes to us; otherwise we lose our peace. ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Let Us Make a Joyful Noise!

Image by mokca from Pixabay

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. ~Psalm 100:1-5

…but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… ~ Ephesians 5:18-20

Nothing elevates the soul, nothing gives it wings as a liturgical hymn does… We should offer up doxologies to God with fear and a contrite heart, in order that they may be accepted like fragrant incense… Nothing so arouses the soul, gives it wing, sets it free from the earth, releases it from the prison of the body, teaches it to love wisdom… as concordant melody and sacred song composed in rhythm. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Pray gently and calmly, sing with understanding and rhythm; then you will soar like a young eagle high in the heavens. Psalmody calms the passions and curbs the uncontrolled impulses in the body. ~ Evagrios the Solitary

To sing is to pray twice. ~ St. Augustine

Wherever there are spiritual melodies, there does the grace of the Spirit come, sanctifying the mouth and the soul. ~ St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

Sing to God in love and humility of spirit, for the Lord rejoiceth therein. ~ St. Silouan the Athonite 

Only ecclesiastical music can express the secret movements of the heart, which are completely different than what worldly music expresses. For this reason the two kinds of music are totally different, just as shown by the words: “sing” and “chant.” ~Photios Kontoglou

In case you haven’t yet discovered this wonderful site of hymnody (in multiple languages), please enjoy: The Rudder Internet Radio Station Streaming Orthodox Music 24/7

May your day be harmoniously tuned with the Spirit… in holy, heartfelt psalmody!

Faith, Hope, and Charity

Garden flowers surround this Cross on the Exaltation Feast Day (Sept. 27/14). Along with the traditional red roses and basil, are chrysanthemums, mint, tarragon, tiny sprigs of green olives, (our tree finally produced!) and Chinese lanterns.

Greetings on the Feast Day of Sts. Sophia, and her daughters – Faith, Hope and Love (Sept. 30/17).

Congratulations on your Names’ Day Vera, Sophie, and Esperanza! May God grant you many years of good health, peace and joy in our Lord Jesus Christ.

A Prayer to Sts. Sophia, and her daughters Faith, Hope and Love

O holy and most praiseworthy Martyrs, Faith, Hope and Love, and wise mother Sophia of these glorious daughters: To you do we now hasten in heartfelt prayer; for what better representation can we have before the Lord, than faith, hope and charity, the three cornerstone virtues, which, bearing their names, ye embodied in fact. Entreat the Lord to shield us, save us and keep us in every sorrow and trouble, as One Who is good and loveth mankind. Pray that His glory, like a sun that never setteth, and which ye now see as becometh Saints, be with us in our humble prayers; may the Lord God forgive our sins and iniquities, and have mercy on us sinners who are unworthy of His generosity towards us. Pray indeed for us, ye holy Martyrs, unto our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom we send up glory, together with His Father Who is from everlasting, and His All-holy, and Good, and Life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.  ~ From “Polny Sbornik Molitv” p. 246     

Memory Eternal Michael, Nadezhda, and Faith!      

error: Content is protected !!