This Icon of Christ the Good Shepherd is used with Fr. Serafim’s kind permission (Mull Monastery).
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
Love all creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand within it. 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. ~ Staretz Zosima; The Brothers Karamazov – by Fyodor Dostoevsky
…See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. ~ St. Matthew 6:28-29
All created things are marked with the seal of the Trinity... The contemplation of nature has two correlative aspects. First, it means appreciating the “thusness” or “thisness” of particular things, persons and moments. We are to see each stone, each leaf, each blade of grass, each frog, each human face, for what it truly is, in all the distinctness and intensity of its specific being. As the prophet Zechariah warns us, we are not to “despise the day of small things” (4:10). “True mysticism”, says Olivier Clément, “is to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary.” ~ Metropolitan Kallistos Ware; The Orthodox Way
Even during a simple walk, it’s a mystery how easily the Great can be seen in the Small. Whether it be stoic flowers bursting through cement cracks, or a cheery family of four snowdrops, popping up like unexpected company – on a grassy boulevard.
God’s beautiful gift of nature is all around us.
All we have to do is to see what we’re looking at.
We have within us deeply rooted weaknesses, passions, and defects. This can not all be cut out with one sharp motion, but patience, persistence, care and attention. The path leading to perfection is long. Pray to God so that he will strengthen you. Patiently accept your falls and, having stood up, immediately run to God, not remaining in that place where you have fallen. Don’t let anything deprive you of hope. ~ St Nektarios of Aegina
…You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. ~ James 4:2-3
All of us sin constantly. We slip and fall… The Holy Fathers and the Saints always tell us, “It is important to get up immediately after a fall and to keep on walking toward God. Even if we fall a hundred times a day, it does not matter; we must get up and go on walking toward God without looking back.” What has happened has happened – it is in the past. Just keep going all the while asking for help from God. ~ Elder Thaddeus Vitovnica
We know God is with us, but sometimes there may be struggles to feel His Presence and Love, or even to pray. During times of spiritual dryness, it is the faithful perseverance in prayerwhich isthe sweetest of all our prayers to God.
We never give up.
We focus forward.
We don’t look back.
Our life is blessed… God’s gift…. We have a treasure in us – our souls…. ~ Elder Nikolay Guryanov
Below is my version of St. Caedmon’s Creation Hymn, rusticly sung and recorded, accompanied by my faux-lyre (ukulele) using the chords: Fm; Cm; and B♭m.
Come magnify Him, Creator of the firmament, Author of each and all, And glorify His purpose; Love, Invincible. Come and honour Him, Protector of Fair Paradise, Holy, Mighty, Immortal, Architect, Omnipotent; Father of Glory. Blessed, Timeless, Lord, Thou hast established Thy wonders, Before middle earth* was formed, Or adorned with Thought of Mind; Lord, God Almighty! For the sons of men; Thou formed the Roof of Heaven!
* Middle earth (not just a Tolkien invention)- it means the world, the middle enclosure – which exists between heaven and hell. From Middle English middel-erde, and Old English middangeard.
I’m grateful for the heavenly hymn St. Caedmon has bequeathed to us, and his role in the early English Orthodox church… From his beginnings as a humble shepherd – to his subsequent life as a meek monk in a great, historic, monastery.
When the song of the lips becomes the song of the soul, we’re able to – bit by bit, acquire a small, uplifting, repertoire of prayerful Psalmody from the heart – by singing anytimepraises to the Glory of God!
St. Bríghde is pronounced Breejya, in Gaelic. She is also known as St. Brigid or St. Bridget.
I saw a stranger yestereen; I put food in the eating place, drink in the drinking place, music in the listening place, and in the name of the Triune he blessed myself and my house, my cattle and my dear ones, and the lark said in her song: Often, often, often, goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise… often, often, often, goes Christ in the stranger’s guise. ~ Irish Rune of St. Brigid’s Hospitality
Besides, founding a famous monastery that blessed and bettered her country, 5th century St. Brigid was instrumental in implementing educational, and artistic centres, enhancing her community through charity, hospitality and medical support.
With her great faith and pure heart, she humbly performed miracles, perceiving Christ in all.
St. Brigid continues to intercede for us, whenever we reach out to her as a heavenly friend. She is the patroness of dairy workers, infants, midwives, blacksmiths, poets, nuns, and students.
Parish Mosaic in Progress: The Dormition of the Theotokos
Prayer is one wing, faith the other, that lifts us heavenward. With only one wing no one can fly: prayer without faith is as meaningless as faith without prayer. But if your faith is very weak, you can profitably cry: Lord, give me faith! Such a prayer seldom goes unheard. The grain of mustard seed, says the Lord, grows into a great tree. ~ Tito Colliander (Way of the Ascetics)