Blessings On A Snow Day

Feature Image by Irena

Praise the Lord from the earth… fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! ~ Psalm 148:7-8

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. ~ Psalm 51:7

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. ~ Isaiah 59:9-11

Falling snowflakes are beautiful. They swathe our backyard’s bare tree branches with mystique, and envelope everything else in a pure milk-white blanket.

But, to me, a tropical wildflower at heart, I love snow – for maybe all of 10 minutes before vehemently wishing it away.

It’s not my thing. I loathe the cold. Always have. However, it’s part of living in a climate where to every thing, there is a season.

On a recent snow day, I tried to consider the snow as a blessing in disguise. I cranked up my Hawaiian Instrumental “Summer” Music, and fiercely tackled the annual cleaning of a certain Kitchen Drawer of No Return.

Although snow is a love/hate thing for me, I must begrudgingly admit that I do love to go outside, and “listen” to the whispers of falling snowflakes. There’s a peaceful, gentle, and calm stillness… Like the earth is holding her breath, waiting with patient endurance and expectant hope – for there’s always Sonshine above, ready to pierce through those snow clouds… and sweet spring is right around the corner!

…For favourable weather, for an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord… ~ Litany of Peace

Angelic Pearls

Feature photo from yesterday’s beautiful Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos (September 21/8). Such a Light and Happy Celebration! Even the bright church flowers seem to point joyfully to the Altar’s Angel Doors.

Liturgically, everything’s connected, and I love how the day after the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, we also remember her parents, Sts. Joachim and Anna (September 22/9). St. Anna (Ann or Anne, from Hebrew Hannah – meaning favour or grace) is descended from the lineage of King David, and the mother of the Virgin Mary, and grandmother of Jesus Christ. 

Congratulations on your Saint’s Day today, goddaughter Anna! God grant you many years!

So many blessings! Each church also has its own Guardian Angel that always remains in the Altar. After a service, when the candles are snuffed and the congregation has left for home… if one sits quietly with their physical eyes closed, the eyes of the soul may catch a glimpse of comprehension – regarding that profound, peaceful silence steeped in holiness.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4: 7

After the Divine Liturgy we should linger in church as long as we can. For the Angels. …If we are interrupted while speaking, we must not continue. It means that what we were about to say should not be heard. The Angels do this. …Talk with your Guardian Angel all the time, about everything. Especially when you are in trouble and when you cannot get along with other people. He always helps. … In my evening prayer I tell my Angel: “Take my soul this evening too and place her by the feet of Christ, to be perfected all night through, so that I may find her improved in the morning!” ~ Gerontissa Gavrilia

Memory Eternal Grandma Faith!

With love in Christ.

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.

Silence is Golden

Romanian Orthodox Church Cloister image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

May we robe ourselves
with healing, golden, silent
pray’rs in cloistered hearts…

And garments of Grace –
woven with Divine Wisdom
and Peace from Above.

The friend of silence comes close to God. ~ St. John Climacus

You must allow yourself to approach silently nearer and nearer to yourself: the past, the present and the future in this moment of silence… all the waters of your life which flow away and run out and which are collected in the one basin of a heart aware of itself. ~ Fr. Antony Hughes

Silence is the prerequisite for inner stillness, and only inner stillness enables us truly to listen to God, to hear His voice, and to commune with Him in the depths of our being. Yet silence and stillness are, like prayer itself, gifts that God can and wants to bestow upon us. ~ Very Rev. John Breck – On Silence and Stillness

He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: ~ Psalm 23:2-3

           

Peace on Earth

With heartfelt support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church during these turbulent times, painted rocks with Slava Ukraini (Glory to Ukraine), adorn a Canadian Orthodox Church garden.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
~ St. Matthew 5:9

Let us pray to the Lord… Stop the war that destroys lives and homes, give repentance to the oppressors, comfort the afflicted, guide the wandering, and plant peace and blessing in the hearts of Your servants. For the uprooting of hatred, enmity, and the desire for domination from the hearts of those who oppress the innocent, to bring among them unfeigned love, understanding, and peaceful co-existence, and put an end to war, disturbance, and human suffering, let us pray to the Lord. That He may deliver the oppressed from distress by the onslaught of armies, and turn the oppressors from evil and lead them to peace and love, that no one may perish, and that peace may reign on earth, unto the joy of His Church and people, let us pray to the Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, our God, who art the Source of life and peace in heaven and on earth, pour out the grace of your peace on a world troubled by war and hatred. Extinguish the differences and enmity between humans and pour into the hearts of all humility, peace, and goodness… Let us pray to the Lord. ~ Special Petitions for Peace; Romanian Orthodox Church

…There is no greater sin than war. ~ St. Sophrony the Hagiorite

As we draw nigh unto the Bright Feast of Christ’s Holy Nativity, may we seek and find the True, Healing Peace from Above, within the Bethlehem of our hearts.

Prayer for Peace

Comfort and Joy

Cabin Wood Stove Radiates Cozy Comfort from Cold

He who has the Kingdom of God within himself will imperceptibly pass it on to others. People will be attracted by the peace and warmth in us; they will want to be near us, and the atmosphere of Heaven will gradually pass on to them. It is not even necessary to speak to people about this. The atmosphere of Heaven will radiate from us even when we keep silence or talk about ordinary things. ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

One blustery afternoon, we returned to the chilly cabin from a seaside hike, and quickly lit the fire. It was soothing to hear the kindling crackle and smell the woodsmoke. Pretty soon the stove was ablaze and we sat in companionable silence soaking in its warmth… completely mesmerized by the light-show of its dancing, vermillion embers. As we drank in the peaceful atmosphere, it was amazing to think of how simply being in the presence of a cozy fire could bring such a gift of quiet joy. With gratitude, it’s reminded me that in my life, I’ve been blessed with knowing people who emit this exact refreshing radiance and spiritual peace to others – simply by being in their presence! For, they are imbued with the Gladsome Light of Jesus Christ… our Salvific, and Divine – Comfort and Joy.

Greetings on tomorrow’s ancient, joyful Feast Day of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple!

Wishing you a most blessed day today, and Feast Day on the morrow!

With Love in Christ.

No Greater Sin

Image by Daniel from Pixabay

I was somehow taken by the feeling of the universe’s sufferings. My experience from the First World War and the Russian Revolution that followed contributed to this. I lived for years in a suffocating atmosphere of Fratricidal hatred, first because of the World War and then because of the civil war. Since then it is better for me to hear about perhaps the thousands of victims of earthquakes, floods, epidemics and other disasters and catastrophes, which usually provoke the sympathy of all, than for wars – which almost without exception entice everyone to moral involvement in the killings. There is no greater sin than war. ~ St. Sophrony the Hagiorite

Pray for Peace!

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. ~ St. Matthew 5:9

Lord have Mercy!

Beauty of the Lord

Gold Tesserae Awaiting Placement in Parish Mosaic

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in his temple. ~ Psalm 27:4

Sanctify those that love the beauty of Thy house. Glorify them in return by Thy divine power. ~ Prayer behind the Ambo

…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8

Numinous beauty is found in the physical and spiritual splendour surrounding us!

We perceive God’s grace through the noetic beauty of nature. Our souls sense it when we throw open the doors of our heart and gaze upon the holy icons at Church. We smell it in the sweet fragrance of pure beeswax candles, the bouquets of flowers, and the clouds of billowing incense. We hear it in the joyful voices singing hymns and psalms of praise. We taste it in the Holy Mysteries, the antidoron and prosphora. We experience His Mercy of Peace through the powerful permeation of communal prayer at Divine Liturgy.

Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote: Beauty will save the world.

True Beauty points to God… Who exudes and transcends Inexpressible Beauty in everything, through the Glorious, Gladsome Light of His Divinity!

September Yearnings

Image by brigachtal from Pixabay

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice ~ Psalm 96:11-12

Each September, and like clockwork – I literally ache to travel somewhere… anywhere… if only for a few days.

New destinations are required to be off the beaten track. They must include either deserted peaceful beaches backed by pristine nature, or jaunts to lofty mountains nestled by mysterious woodland streams.

Internal summonings such as these are particularly hard to resist, especially with wild geese flying overhead to distant warmer climes.

Today I’m a bit torn between completing weekend chores or planning an upcoming jaunt. With God’s help, I can do both, and manage to be back in plenty of time to celebrate the wonderful upcoming September Feast Days! [Nativity of the Theotokos (September 21/8) and Exaltation of the Cross (September 27/14)]

We shall see what opportunity God provides. And if not this year, then God willing, maybe a mystery tour next year!

Meanwhile, the end of summer beauty abides close to home. Bees buzz busily on patio flowers, and briny ocean breezes beckon. Joyful birdsong abounds everywhere.

This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. ~ Psalm 118: 23-24

These warm, and hazy September days bring my favourite poem to mind. I hope you enjoy it too!

I Meant to Do My Work Today

I meant to do my work today –
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand –
So what could I do but laugh and go?

~ Richard Le Gallienne (1866-1947)

This poem is in the public domain.

Bright Greenery

Our Potted Patio Garden Flowers, Herbs, and Veggies Blossom Forth!

As the earth, long awaiting moistening and at last receiving it in abundance, suddenly is covered by tender and bright greenery, so also the heart, exhausted by dryness, and afterwards revived by tears, emits from itself a multitude of spiritual thoughts and feelings, adorned by the common flower of humility.~ St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

If our thoughts are kind, peaceful, and quiet, turned only to the good, then we also influence ourselves and radiate peace all around us – in our family, the whole country, everywhere. This is true not only here on earth, but in the cosmos as well. When we labour in the fields of the Lord, we create harmony. Divine harmony, peace, and quiet spread everywhere.~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitnovica

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