The heart is but a small vessel; and yet dragons and lions are there, and there likewise are poisonous creatures and all treasures of wickedness; rough, uneven paths are there, and gaping chasms. There also is God, there also are the angels, there – life and the Kingdom, there-light and the apostles, the heavenly cities and the treasures of grace: all things are there. ~ St. Macarius the Great
We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere Incognito. ~ C.S. Lewis
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. ~ Hebrews 13:8
What a joyful consolation … especially with the constant change in our lives!
I love you, O Lord, my strength. ~ Psalm 18:1
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. ~ Psalm 100:1-2
Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light… ~ Psalm 148
Let every thing that has breath Praise the Lord! ~ Psalm 150
Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~ St. John 20:29 (This blessing includes us – today!)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13
…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Ephesians 5:18-20
If you ever have the chance to watch the classic 1963 movie: Lilies of the Field… do! It’s a heart-warming story starring Sidney Poitier as Homer Smith – a staunch Baptist, who winds up in Arizona, crossing paths with a convent of destitute nuns who emigrated from Eastern Europe.
The simple, contagiously joyful song Amen featured in the movie is an easy warm up I sometimes use at Youth Choir rehearsal, before turning it into a three-part “round”. The effect is amazing. We sing therepeated “one-word-prayer” Amen (just the part which the nuns sing in the movie) but use the softer sounding Awh-men pronunciation.
Over the years, the youth choir share they’ve often found themselves singing or humming this happy little piece (along with other psalmody of course) at unexpected times. Including… getting up for a glass of water in the middle of the night, or doing daily house chores, or driving in the family car on long, long, road trips!
Happy Summer! Amen!
Before praising God in private, before psalmody is truly prayerful, the song of the lips must first become the song of the soul. ~ Anonymous
May werobe 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
More than all things love silence: it brings you a fruit that tongue cannot describe. In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent. But then there is born something that draws us to silence. May God give you an experience of this ‘something’ that is born of silence. If you only practice this, untold light will dawn on you in consequence…after a while a certain sweetness is born in the heart of this exercise and the body is drawn almost by force to remain in silence. ~ St. Isaac of Syria
It is good to learn to pray without words, with the breath and the beating of our hearts, for silence is the perfect prayer. Silence is the language of God. We learn His language as we do other languages, through listening intently and practicing what we hear. ~ Fr. Antony Hughes
We can only meet God in the present moment. This is an area where God chooses to place limits on His own power. We choose whether or not to live in the present moment. Because we can encounter God only in that present moment, whenever we live in the past or in the future, we place ourselves beyond His reach.~ Archimandrite Meletios Webber
“Let us go forth in peace” is the last commandment of the Liturgy. What does it mean? It means, surely, that the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy is not an end but a beginning. Those words, “Let us go forth in peace,” are not merely a comforting epilogue. They are a call to serve and bear witness. In effect, those words, “Let us go forth in peace,” mean the Liturgy is over, the liturgy after the Liturgy is about to begin. This, then, is the aim of the Liturgy: that we should return to the world with the doors of our perceptions cleansed. We should return to the world after the Liturgy, seeing Christ in every human person, especially in those who suffer. In the words of Father Alexander Schmemann, the Christian is the one who wherever he or she looks, everywhere sees Christ and rejoices in him. We are to go out, then, from the Liturgy and see Christ everywhere. ~ Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of Diokleia
What does God want me to do? …The answer: God is not interested in where you are or what you do… He is interested only in the quality and quantity of the love you give. Nothing else. Nothing else. ~ Mother Gabrielia
God is everywhere. There is no place God is not…You cry out to Him, ‘Where art Thou, my God?’ And He answers, “I am present, my child! I am always beside you.’ Both inside and outside, above and below, wherever you turn, everything shouts, ‘God!’ In Him we live and move. We breathe God, we eat God, we clothe ourselves with God. Everything praises and blesses God. All of creation shouts His praise. Everything animate and inanimate speaks wondrously and glorifies the Creator. Let every breath praise the Lord! ~ St. Joseph the Hesychast, 78th Letter
Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens? ~ Job 35:11
..surely we ought to show kindness and gentleness to animals for many reasons, and chiefly because they are of the same origin as ourselves.~ St. John Chrysostom
Man is not a being isolated from the rest of creation; by his very nature he is bound up with the whole of the universe… In his way to union with God, man in no way leaves creatures aside, but gathers together in his love the whole cosmos disordered by sin, that it may be transfigured by grace. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor
All things are near to God, says the Russian proverb. Truly everything is near: all spiritual, and sentient creatures, the Angels, the souls of the departed, all living men, all animals, all material worlds. The Spirit of God passes through all things, a reasoning pure, most refined Spirit, dwelling in every believing, pious soul. “The wild beasts of the field are in my sight (Psalm 1:11),” says He. “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (St. Matthew 28:20).” As an infinite Spirit, to God nothing is far away, but all things are in Him. All things live and exist in Him.~ St. John of Kronstadt
Candlelight Streams onto Flowers by the Most Holy Theotokos Icon
We have so many things to be thankful for! Our daily bread, health, family, friends, prayers and kindness from others, and all the so-called ordinary things mistakenly taken for granted – that aren’t ordinary at all.
Children seem more observant of blessings. A mother just shared something precious. Their family baked a Saint Basil’s Day Cakefor the Feast yesterday, and her youngest received the special $2 coin hidden in the cake. The thoughtful child insisted the mother take the coin and find a way to give it to the homeless. The child said, “I have everyfing, and some don’t have nuffin’!”
Everything is God’s and we are His guests… although sometimes we feel that everything belongs to us. We become used to His many blessings and blindly expect that all good things are a given.
Nothing stays the same. Everything changes… Except God.
Let’s make efforts to be considerate houseguests appreciating our Divine Host’s Bountiful Blessings.
For, when we’re out in nature, or in church, or going about our daily lives, we are in His Garden, surrounded by the Beauteous Art of Creation.
With opened eyes, we glimpse it… everywhere.
For as long as you are on earth, consider yourself a guest in the Household of Christ. If you are at the table, it is He who treats you. If you breathe air, it is His air you breathe. If you bathe, it is in His water you are bathing. If you are traveling, it is over His land that you are traveling. If you are amassing goods, it is His goods you are amassing. If you are squandering, it is His goods that you are squandering. If you are powerful, it is by His permission that you are strong. If you are in the company of men, you and the others are His guests. If you are out in nature, you are in His garden. If you are alone, He is present. If you set out or turn anywhere, He sees you. If you do anything, He remembers. He is the most considerate Householder by Whom you were ever hosted. Be careful then toward Him. In a good household, the guest is required to behave. These are all simple words but they convey to you a great truth. All the saints knew this truth and they governed their lives by it. That is why the Eternal Householder rewarded them with eternal life in heaven and glory on earth. ~St. Nikolai Velimirovich
What birthday gift would we ourselves most wish for?
Is there a gift that surpasses the abundant blessings already bestowed by the Holy Child born in Bethlehem… Who loosed the bonds of our sins with His swaddling bands?
Like the wise men, who followed the Star, what shall we bring to Him? What is more precious to Christ, than gold, frankincense or myrrh?
But how does one gift wrap sincere intention?
By bowing the knees and neck of our heart. By kneeling before His manger with determined resolve, to share loving kindness with each other and our neighbour… By doing our own small part with good will… for the sake of peace on earth… Even when external circumstances aren’t easy or peaceful.
Today, we receive, a gift we did not ask for, let us bestow alms to those who cry out to us in need! ~ St. Ephraim the Syrian
I have been amazed that some are utterly in doubt as to whether or not the Holy Virgin is able to be called the Mother of God. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the Holy Virgin who bore him not be the Mother of God? ~ St. Cyril of Alexandria
And since the holy Virgin hath borne after the Flesh God united personally to the Flesh, therefore we do say that she is also Mother of God, not as though the Nature of the Word had the beginning of Its existence from flesh, for It was in the beginning and the Word was God, and the Word was with God (John 1:1), and is Himself the Maker of the ages, Co-eternal with the Father and Creator of all things. ~ St. Cyril of Alexandria
The Most Holy Mother of God prays for us ceaselessly. She is always visiting us. Whenever we turn to her in our heart, she is there. After the Lord, she is the greatest protection for mankind. How many churches there are in the world that are dedicated to the Most Holy Mother of God! How many healing springs where people are cured of their ailments have sprung up in places where the Most Holy Theotokos appeared and blessed those springs to heal both the sick and the healthy! She is constantly, by our side, and all too often we forget her. ~ Elder Thaddeus
…Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:2
True spirituality is not a search for perfection, a way into the “next world” or power to control; it is a search for union with God in this present moment ~ Fr. Antony
Whoever lives in the past is as if dead. Whoever lives in the future in his fantasy (or imagination) is naive, because the future belongs only to God. The Joy of Christ is found only in the present, in the Eternal Present of God. ~ Gerontissa Gavrielia quote
We can only meet God in the present moment. This is an area where God chooses to place limits on His own power. We choose whether or not to live in the present moment. Because we can encounter God only in that present moment, whenever we live in the past or in the future, we place ourselves beyond His reach. ~ Archimandrite Meletios Webber