Hope’s Patient Persistence

Behind the Altar, facing Royal Doors’ Curtain

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 prayer which is the sweetest of all our prayers to God.

We slip.

We fall.

We rise.

We persevere.

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

Privilege of Prayer

Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

No matter what misfortune might befall you, no matter what unpleasantness might occur, say ‘I will endure this for Jesus Christ’s sake!’ Just say that, and you will feel better, for the Name of Jesus Christ is powerful… Before It, all difficulties abate, and demons disappear. Your annoyance and faintness of heart will abate when you repeat His most sweet Name… ~ St. Anthony of Optina

When life hurls kitchen sinks our way; duck, cover, carry on, and ask God for help!

Or, we can choose to sit like a bump on a log, waiting for help to be doled out like a grand prize, as if it’s our due… because why should we have to ask for help? Doesn’t God know everything, anyway?

We are indeed given free will. God wants us as collaborators, and it’s up to us to decide whether to ask, or not ask for help. Even if we’ve never asked for help before! God loves us, truly loves us, and waits patiently for us to come to Him.

I’d like to re-share these short, powerful, (tried and true) prayers, to use when sucker-punched with anxiety over any (or constant) painful situation that rears its ugly head, or even if we’re not quite sure of what to pray for someone:

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on (fill in the blank)!

Or… Lord, help!

Or…

O Lord, You love (name) more than I,
And You can help (name) better than I,
And You know better than I, what is profitable for (him)(her).
So do for (name) what is best- only save (him)(her).

The short prayer above “O Lord, You love” is so very helpful, and positively over-rides useless, worrisome thoughts that may otherwise spin those windmills of our mind out of control. It also helps teach how to pray for someone when we’re not sure of how to pray. Feel free to add on your concerns in your own words. Unselfish, heartfelt prayer is prayer.

Prayer helps us to Faithfully endure uncertainties.

The Powerful and Sweetest Name of Jesus imbues us with Strength.

St. Gavrilia, the newly canonized saint (Oct. 3, 2023) whom I deeply revere, says in The Ascetic of Love (page 246):

When we… think of those for whom we wish to pray, we are induced to so by love. “Lord, You are the Source of Love. It is from this Source of Love that I draw too, and I offer you this person. Lord, I pray to You, grant him [her] Your Light, grant him Your Mercy, grant him Strength, grant him Faith, grant him all the abundant Blessings that You grant. All I can offer is my humble love.” After this introduction, you take a knot of the Komboskini [Prayer Rope] and say: “I pray for so and so… and for so and so…” visualizing each of these persons at the Feet of Christ, praying on their knees before Him – themselves in person, as the anonymous author of the Way of a Pilgrim says. I have long years of experience that with this prayer God works many miracles. Because God wants us as <<collaborators>>, no matter how worthless we may be. For we are His Creatures, and it is with these Creatures of His that He has to work…

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

There’s nothing is quite so precious as our praising God, even in adversity, and to humbly show gratitude thanking Him for all His Blessings… and for hearing us (even if the situation currently seems unresolved)! Because He HAS heard us, and WILL DO what’s best, according to His Plan.

What a privilege to carry what weighs upon our hearts to the Lord in prayer!

Through the prayers and intercessions of our most Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, our Guardian Angels, St. Gavrilia, and all the saints… thank you dear Lord, for hearing our prayers!

Amen!

Making Impossible Possible

St. Nicholas Church in Juneau Alaska: Image by Simeon_B_Johnson from Pixabay

Nothing you see equals prayer, it makes the impossible possible, the difficult easy, and the crooked way straight. ~ St. John Chrysostom

If God is slow in answering your request, or if you ask but do not promptly receive anything, do not be upset, for you are not wiser than God. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian

God only gives three answers to prayer (Anonymous quote):
1. Yes!
2. Not yet.
3. I have something better in mind.

A snowflake is one of God’s most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together! ~ Vesta M. Kelly

For new-calendar friends and family celebrating Christmas this weekend, I wish you a most Happy, Blessed Christmas!

Annotation:
Merry Christmas is a greeting from the Old English (pre-12th century) words “Meriġe Crīstesmæsse” which, in the ancient sense, meant Blessed Christmas” and was used with the time-honoured salutation – Christ is Born!

Here is a joyful carol on why snowflakes dance! Little Pine Tree

With Love in Christ.

God Giveth the Increase

Scripture Art by Juliana

Happy Sunday of All Saints!

Greetings on All Saints’ Day!

Warm wishes and a very Happy Father’s Day to those who are so blessed!

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labour. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.~ 1 Cor. 3:7-9

The Lord grant thee according to thy heart, and all thy purposes fulfill. ~ 2nd Antiphon, Stichos 3, Sunday of Pentecost

Faithfulness in little things is a big thing. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Ribbons of Blessings

Ancient Mosaic from Museum – Turkey, 2004

Just as the blessings of God are unutterably great, so their acquisition requires much hardship and toil undertaken with hope and faith. ~ St. Macarius the Great

If God is slow in answering your request, or if you ask but do not promptly receive anything, do not be upset, for you are not wiser than God. ~ St. Isaac of Syria

Holy Unmercenaries & Physicians

A late-blooming November Passion Flower rests on an Icon depicting (some of) the Holy Unmercenaries and Wonder-Workers.

It’s a blessing how everyone has access to the saints – which, of course include the Holy Unmercenaries! Over the ages, and through their heavenly intercessions, countless people have been healed by God.

We are also very blessed to have the earthly aid of medical professionals! What a special calling it is to do what they do! On both sides of my family there have been doctors and nurses, and as they tended to the needs of others, I’ve seen how much they loved their work.

During recent personal observation of other dedicated specialists and doctors, I’ve had a renewed, and deeper appreciation of how God guides the medical profession.

It’s a joy to see these amazing people who especially shine their brightest during exhausting, trying times of overwork and short staffing… to save and make such positive differences in people’s lives. May God reward all their efforts!

The Lord created medicines from the earth, and a sensible person will not hesitate to use them. Didn’t a tree once make bitter water fit to drink, so that the Lord’s power might be known? He gave medical knowledge to human beings, so that we would praise him for the miracles he performs. The druggist mixes these medicines, and the doctor will use them to cure diseases and ease pain. There is no end to the activities of the Lord, who gives health to the people of the world. ~ Wisdom of Sirach 38:4-8

Having placed all their hope in the heavens, the saints laid up for themselves a treasure which cannot be stolen away; they freely received, and freely give healing to the infirm. Following the Gospel, they acquired neither silver nor gold, but bestowed benefactions upon both men and beasts, that, obedient to Christ, they might pray with boldness in behalf of our souls… Boundless is the grace of the saints, which they have received from Christ. Wherefore, their relics continually work miracles by the power of God, and their names, when invoked with faith, heal incurable illnesses. Through them, O Lord, free us also from the passions of soul and body, in that Thou lovest mankind... – Ever having Christ working within you, O holy unmercenaries, ye work wonders in the world and heal the sick. For your healing is an inexhaustible wellspring: drawn from, it floweth in abundance; and poured out, it gusheth forth, flowing every day in great quantity, granting healing to all, yet remaineth undrained. And those who draw forth from it are filled with healing, yet it remaineth full… Curers of incurable sufferings who heal all and have received this gift from Christ the Saviour, Who granteth great mercy unto us. ~ From the Services to Holy Physicians

Prayer for Help and Healing (shared by a friend – from their priest):

O Lord, Thou lovest (name) more than I do,
And Thou canst help (name) better than I,
And Thou knowest better than I what is profitable for (him)(her).
So do for (name) what is best- only save (him)(her)
.

Another Prayer for the Sick.

Thankful

Stone Art – by Caroline

Counting my blessings with gratitude… for the great and the small. Amen!

Coincidences are spiritual puns. ~ G. K. Chesterton

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. ~ 2 Samuel 22:17

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ Philippians 4:6

Constantly, each day, each hour, God is sending people, circumstances, tasks, which should mark the beginning of our renewal; yet we pay them no attention, and thus continually resist God’s will for us. Indeed, how can God help us? Only by sending us in our daily life certain people, and certain coincidences of circumstances. If we accepted every hour of our life as the hour of God’s will for us, as the decisive, most important, unique hour of our life – what sources of joy, love, strength, as yet hidden from us, would spring from the depth of our soul! ~ Fr. Alexander Elchaninov

Congratulations on your 25th Baptismal Anniversary and Saint’s Day, Anastasia! May God grant you many years!

Efforts

Congratulation on your Saint’s Day Protodeacon Gordian! May God grant you many years!

Desire and effort must come from you. God will provide the power and the result. ~ St. Paisios

Think nothing and do nothing without a purpose directed to God, for to journey without direction is wasted effort. ~ St. Mark the Ascetic

Much effort and labour is needed, for a man to be changed and to be the good tree that brings forth good fruit. Strive then, for nothing else but to change, renew, and correct yourself. And pray for this… ~ St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

Nothing is permanent, which can be a consolation but also a warning. I don’t like change very much, unless it’s going in the direction I want it to go! When one’s anxious it’s hard to find the way back to God – and my Godfather would remind me that that’s the evil one’s doing. We are reminded to keep asking for God’s help and that the efforts are what matter.  ~ Anonymous

Nothing comes without effort. The help of God is always ready and always near, but is given only to those who seek and work, and only to those seekers who, after putting all their powers to the test, cry out with their whole heart: ‘Lord help us!’ ~ St. Theophan the Recluse

Remember that God, during your prayers, is watching for your affirmative answer to the question which He is inwardly asking: “Do you believe I am able to do this?” To which question you must reply from the depth of your heart, “Yes Lord.” (St. Matthew 9:28) ~ St. John of Kronstadt

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