Feathered Foresight

Image by garten-gg Pixabay

Birds form a circle around the earth. Wherever we go, they remind us of the same things. The cuckoo cries: Wake up… wake up… to remind us of saying our morning prayer. The turtle-dove coos: We’re pilgrims… We’re pilgrims… for us to remember that we are just passing pilgrims on His Earth. And the crow crows: Pray… Pray… to remind us of praying all the time. ~Gerontissa Gavrilia

The Lord gave us as an example of unconcern – the birds of the sky – not humans… When the twig on which it is perching breaks, the little bird, without being alarmed, opens its wings and flies away. Likewise, when the support of our feet collapses, Faith and Hope in God give us the strength and joy to fly away. ~Gerontissa Gavrilia

We should follow the example of the birds. They’re always joyful, whereas we’re always bothered by something. ~Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Image by Jon Pauling from Pixabay

Reverently & Peacefully

Golden Bamboo Grove, Kauai 2023

Photo Art Quote excerpt from the Morning Optina Elders’ Prayer. Full Prayer here.

Pray sincerely to the Heavenly Father; especially say the Lord’s Prayer, reverently, peacefully, not hurriedly: in general, read all the prayers quietly, evenly, with reverence, knowing before Whom you are saying them. ~ St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ)

My Life in Christ is a wonderful book… bursting with practical and spiritual tidbits. One can pick it up at any time and read small portions. It’s like a great golden dollop of butter accompanying our Daily Bread. I highly recommend owning a copy of these spiritual yum yums!

May we all have good and mindful dealings with those who surround us today, whether in person – or thought! With love in Christ.

Riding the Morning Winds

The Breaking Dawn ~ Kauai 2014

If I ride the morning winds to the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, your strength will support me. ~ Psalm 139:9-10

Praise the Lord, O heavens! Praise him from the skies! Praise him, all his angels, all the armies of heaven. Praise him, sun and moon and all you twinkling stars. Praise him, skies above. Praise him, vapours high above the clouds. ~ Psalm 148: 1-4

Praise him from sunrise to sunset! ~ Psalm 113:3

Praise him, all heaven and earth! Praise him, all the seas and everything in them! ~ Psalm 69:34

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

As the Morning Light

Image by jplenio from Pixabay

And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. ~ 2 Samuel 23:4

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. ~ Psalm 5:3

…Joy cometh in the morning. ~ Psalm 30:5

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. ~ Psalm 118:24

The Orient From on High

Yesterday’s Dawn by Juliana T.

The Dayspring, the Dawn, the Sun of Righteousness, the Orient from on High, refers to our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

God Himself is called the Sun, (Psalm 84:11). As the Source of Light, and Light itself, God gives this same title to His only-begotten Son, who appears on earth as the Dawn of a new day… the Day of the Lord which enlightens those who sit in darkness and in the land of the shadow of death (Isaiah 9:2).

It is not without reason or by chance that we worship towards the East. But seeing that we are composed of a visible and an invisible nature, that is to say, of a nature partly of spirit and partly of sense, we render also a twofold worship to the Creator; just as we sing both with our spirit and our bodily lips, and are baptized with both water and Spirit, and are united with the Lord in a twofold manner, being sharers in the Mysteries and in the grace of the Spirit. Since, therefore, God is spiritual light, and Christ is called in the Scriptures Sun of Righteousness and Dayspring, the East is the direction that must be assigned to His worship. For everything good must be assigned to Him from Whom every good thing arises. Indeed the divine David also says, Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth: O sing praises unto the Lord: to Him that rideth upon the Heavens of heavens towards the East. Moreover the Scripture also says, And God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed: and when he had transgressed His command He expelled him and made him to dwell over against the delights of Paradise, which clearly is the West. So, then, we worship God seeking and striving after our old fatherland. Moreover the tent of Moses had its veil and mercy seat towards the East. Also the tribe of Judah as the most precious pitched their camp on the East. Also in the celebrated temple of Solomon, the Gate of the Lord was placed eastward. Moreover Christ, when He hung on the Cross, had His face turned towards the West, and so we worship, striving after Him. And when He was received again into Heaven He was borne towards the East, and thus His apostles worship Him, and thus He will come again in the way in which they beheld Him going towards Heaven; as the Lord Himself said, As the lightning cometh out of the East and shineth even unto the West, so also shall the coming of the Son of Man be. So, then, in expectation of His coming we worship towards the East. But this tradition of the apostles is unwritten. For much that has been handed down to us by tradition is unwritten. ~ St. John of Damascus

Christ, the Sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2), is without beginning and pre-eternal. He is both immutable and unchangeable, as with Him there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning (James 1:17). He is without end, never-setting, beaming out the true and heavenly light of day without evening, in which the spirits of the righteousness live with the good angels. When this present age reaches its end, the righteous shall also have their bodies with them, as heirs of the light and sons of the true day. That day continues forever without evening, and neither has, nor ever did have, a morning, since it has no beginning. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

To the Moon & Back

Photo shared by Irena

Late tonight, and into the early morning hours of tomorrow (Friday, November 19), will be the longest partial lunar eclipse in almost 600 years! Wow!

Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. ~ Psalm 148:3

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

In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. ~ Psalm 72:7

What Wondrous Love in His Promise!

Happy Thanksgiving

Vermillion Leaf on Pebble-Mosaic Church Walkway

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Day weekend, eh?!

We’ve so much to be thankful for!

Every day.

Every season.

Granted, the blessings in our lives are unavoidably peppered with a few “banes”… but it’s the banes that make each blessing all the more sweet!

Thanksgiving is a daily Christian practice. It takes us outside of ourselves. It bestows unexpected blessings. It brings us closer to God.

With each heartfelt thank you, we string together organic beads of gratitude as strands of spiritual pearls. This iridescent, noetic necklace, swathes our soul with joy.

What if we woke up this morning to find only what we had thanked God for yesterday, what would we have? ~ Anonymous

We must begin with thanksgiving for everything. The beginning of joy is to be content with your situation. ~ St. Ambrose of Optina

…When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars, throw yourself at God’s feet and adore Him who in His wisdom has arranged things in this way. …Give thanks to God, who created and arranged all things for your benefit… ~ St. Basil the Great

Every genuine confession humbles the soul. When it takes the form of thanksgiving, it teaches the soul that it has been delivered by the grace of God. ~ St. Maximos the Confessor

How You bring sweetness to those who think of You, how life-giving is Your word. It is softer than oil, sweeter than honey to talk with You. Praying to You brings life into us and gives us wings. What trembling then fills the heart, what dignity and greatness and wisdom there are in nature and all of life. Where You are not – there is emptiness. Where You are – there is richness of soul a torrent of life: Alleluia. ~ From the Akathist of Thanksgiving

God does not need our praise. Thanksgiving…brings us closer to Him. ~ St. John Chrysostom

When in truth we appreciate the gifts which God gives us, we don’t have time to seek anything else. We run to say thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you… For everything … thank you. And such a joy comes into our life… ~ Gerontissa Gavrielia

Thank you for visiting Blisswood!

Each morning is fresh and new. A perfect way to start our day is to give thanks for His many blessings!

This sweet and simple folk-hymn (by Martin G. Schneider) is remembered from my youth. There are many verses, but this first verse is my favourite! “Thank You for giving me this morning, thank You for everyday that’s new, thank You that I can know my worries can be cast on You!”

They Dance for Joy

Detail of Mosaic Panel of Creation – St. Sophia Orthodox Church – Canada

angels… are always being filled full of light, becoming ever more radiant and making blessed use of their natural ability to change. They dance for joy around the First Light, look continuously towards Him and are enlightened directly by Him, as they tirelessly sing the praises of the Fount of Light and, being ministers of light, transmit illuminating grace to those lower beings who are being enlightened. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

Christ, the Sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2), is without beginning and pre-eternal. He is both immutable and unchangeable, as with Him there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning (James 1:17). He is without end, never-setting, beaming out the true and heavenly light of day without evening, in which the spirits of the righteousness live with the good angels. When this present age reaches its end, the righteous shall also have their bodies with them, as heirs of the light and sons of the true day. That day continues forever without evening, and neither has, nor ever did have, a morning, since it has no beginning. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

On occasion, I’ve orchestrated group observation with my youth choir to demonstrate how we, as created beings, are unable to fully comprehend the concept of Eternity or Pre-eternal.

After first discussing general definitions of the two words, we’d continue with the next part of the exercise. For just a few minutes, (it’s too difficult to try longer) we silently contemplate the concept of what Eternal means. How God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are Pre-Eternal (beyond time and space)… and have always “been” even before anything else existed. No beginning, no end.

The attempts to try and wrap our mortal minds around the notion of eternal and pre-eternal is humbling and revealing.

Spontaneous laughter and amazement conclude these experiments. Exclamations from the youth range from “Wow, that’s impossible!” to “My brain exploded!”

God is simultaneously everywhere. (Yet another wondrous point to ponder!) He is the beginning, the continuation, the Life and Light of everything that exists. In His great and loving goodness, the Way to salvation is revealed through His Only-Begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ… the Sun of Righteousness, the Dawn and Dayspring from on high.

And so, like the angels, let our souls rejoice and dance with joy; radiantly infused with the Pre-eternal Divine Light, and Peace… which surpasses understanding.

✠ Excellent Post Script from Anastasia, who shares: “A priest once said in my high school religion class: “Eternity is not a “line”. It is a “point”, and we are standing in it.” As he said that, he drew a line and then a dot on the board. I’ve remembered it these 50+ years it impressed me so.

Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearers

Memory Eternal, Joanna.

Christ is Risen!

The myrrh bearing women at the break of dawn, drew near to the tomb of the Giver of Life. There they found an angel seated upon the stone, and he greeted them with these words: “Why do ye seek the Living among the dead? Why mourn ye the Incorrupt amid corruption? Go: proclaim the glad tidings to His disciples.” This is the day which the Lord hath made! Let us rejoice and be glad therein. Pascha of beauty! The Pascha of the Lord! A Pascha worthy of all honour hath dawned for us. Pascha! Pascha, ransom from affliction! For today, as from a bridal chamber, Christ hath shone forth from the tomb, and filled the women with joy, saying “Proclaim the glad tidings to the apostles.” ~ Excerpt from the Aposticha Paschal Stichera; Let God Arise

The third Sunday of Holy Pascha is designated as the Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearers. These courageous and steadfast women disciples of the Lord followed Jesus Christ throughout His ministry… providing and caring for Him and His followers (St. Mark 15:41). They remained faithful to Him during the dangerous times of His arrest, crucifixion, and burial. On account of the preparation for the Sabbath, the initial burial preparations were incomplete and brief. As soon as the Sabbath passed, the women speedily returned, bringing precious myrrh and ointment to anoint His body. It was still dark and very early in the morning, when they arrived at the tomb. Christ’s Resurrection was revealed by an angel, and they were given the honour to announce the glad tidings to the apostles. Because of this, the Myrrhbearing Women, especially St. Mary Magdalene, are sometimes referred to as Equal to the Apostles.

The Holy Myrrhbearers represent all that is good in our Christian faith. They are the spiritual-embodiment of Faith, Hope and Love.

Truly He is Risen!

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