Festal Blessings of the Heart

Veneration of the Cross, Third Sunday in Great Lent, coincided this year with the set Feast of the Annunciation, on April 7th. The Precious Cross was decorated in traditional red colours… using roses and carnations. However, and alas, even after scouring the grocery store, there was no fresh basil (also traditional to use when decorating the Cross) to be found. So, from our garden, fragrant pink pieris japonica and white viburnum were added.

Yesterday, the morning sun danced and blazed brightly on my face. I closed my eyes to bask in its warmth.

Antiphonal chirps and trills of birdsong resounded. At the raucous cry of a seagull overhead, I opened my eyes and smiled at the added ambience.

Not to be outdone, budding catkins nodded vehemently over the top of the pergola, each fuzzy leaflet highlighted with a tiny halo of luminous, Gladsome Light. I desperately wanted to run and grab my phone camera to catch this breathtaking beauty… but knew the special light would change in a second or two, and I would forever lose the moment – without being in the moment. I took a picture instead… with my mind’s eye, and can see this sight even now as I type. I hope to remember it forever.

From the porch roof, remnants of raindrops stubbornly clung as lustrous, pearly, stalactites, until they chose to let go. Their occasional drips echoed as muffled percussion on the patio flagstones below, perfectly complimenting the surrounding avian symphony.

And the trees! With branches lifted skyward as if in supplication, they swayed and danced with expressive abandon (as only trees can in a festal morning wind)… kicking up their rooty heels with joy!

Stop. Look. Listen with your heart. Let it dance with the trees, in joy and gratitude at God’s Creation!

Let all the trees of the forest dance and sing, as they behold their fellow-tree, the Cross, today receiving veneration: for Christ, as holy David prophesied, has exalted it on high. I died through a tree, but I have found in thee a Tree of Life, O Cross of Christ. ~ Sunday of the Cross, 8th Ode

God is everywhere present and fills all things! The Three-Branched Cross of Christ is Life!

Alleluia and Amen!

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.

Silent Peace of Prayer

Image by Basil Smith from Pixabay

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

           

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

Sustaining Stillness

Cave Church by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Congratulations on your Saint’s Day Anastasia!

Words are instruments of this world, but silence is the mystery of the age to come. ~ St. Isaac of Syria

Silence is the cross on which we must crucify our ego. ~ St. Seraphim of Sarov

Our most vulnerable spot is found in many words and discussions. What we say remains to eternity. Be still and know… There is no greater school than this kind of stillness of the mind. The language of God is silence. ~ Gerontissa Gavrielia

Sagacity of Silence

Words are instruments of this world, but silence is the mystery of the age to come. ~ St. Isaac of Syria

Silence is the cross on which we must crucify our ego. ~ St. Seraphim of Sarov

Very desirable is the prayer of the heart. Very desirable is the silence of the heart. ~ St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

It is good to learn to pray without words, with the breath and 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

Lover of Silence

Greetings on Clean Wednesday.

These profound silence quotes are by the 7th century St. Isaac of Syria

If you love truth, be a lover of silence. In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent. But then, something is born that draws us to silence. May God give you the experience of this something that is born in silence.

Silence is the mystery of the world to come.

Humility collects the soul into a single point by the power of silence. A truly humble man has no desire to be known or admired by others, but wishes to plunge from himself into himself, to become nothing, as if he had never been born. When he is completely hidden to himself in himself, he is completely with God.

Above anything, welcome silence, for it brings fruits that no tongue can speak of, neither can it be explained.

Silence is a mystery of the age to come, but words are instruments of this world.

Not every quiet man is humble, but every humble man is quiet.

May your Lenten Journey be peaceful and fruitful.

At the Lord’s Feet

Part of the Creation Mosaic, St. Sophia Orthodox Church – Canada

Keep your mouth shut in the hour of crisis, when a problem is acute. Do not say anything, because you may regret it a thousand times. Instead, tell it to the Angels so that they may place it at the Lord’s Feet, and pray the Lord for an Angel of Peace to calm your soul. ~ Gerontissa Gavrielia

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