When the Soul Kneels

Photo by Elimende Inagella on Unsplash

Someone said: “When the soul kneels at the Feet of Christ, what does it matter if the body is lying, standing, kneeling or prostrated?” It does not matter at all! When you will stop thinking of your body and of yourself, then you will be truly able to feel in union with the Power of God. ~ St. Gavrilia, from The Ascetic of Love

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:4-7

Heavenly Snowdrops

…but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. ~ Proverbs 11:28

Yesterday’s walk was exhilarating!

Cheerful Snowdrops are springing up everywhere!

Old English names for Snowdrop flowers are Christ’s Flowers, Purification Flowers, Candlemas Bells, and Fair Maids of February. They are named as such, in honour of the ancient (upcoming) feast day of The Meeting of the Lord in the Temple! (February 15/2)

God’s Gift of Nature physically and spiritually nourishes us.

We rejoice in the sun’s warmth on our face and refreshing gentle breezes that sweep away cluttered, wintry thoughts.

Through a single flower, we remember all is God’s Handiwork, and that Nature is a Secret Gospel.

Spiritual Fragrance abounds! And… regardless of debris from recent storms, we notice it’s the new and verdant growth that bears the precious blooms in God’s Garden!

Sometimes – a glimpse of Paradise is right outside our back door!

Happy Saint’s Day Maximos, God grant you many years!

Autumnal Prayer

Image by Joe from Pixabay

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. ~ Psalm 90:14

November 27/14

Happy Eve of the Nativity Fast!

Tomorrow we begin our spiritual pilgrimage into the Advent season… to contemplate the upcoming Great Feast of Christ’s Incarnation.

Just like Great Lent is before Easter/Pascha, the ancient Nativity Fast is a reflective, joyful time for spiritual preparation – nourished with prayer, love of one’s neighbour, and generous almsgiving.

Each fast is fresh, new, and a collective reminder to shift focus away from oneself, and onto the needs of others, instead.

Together we’ll begin the late autumnal journey with sweeping the dried leaves and debris away from body and soul.

We fast before we feast, and the feasting aspect is saved to start on the actual Nativity Feast Day itself, including the following bright “12 days of Christmastide”.  

May your Nativity Fast be peaceful and fruitful!

With love in Christ.

Wake the Day With Gladness

This Morning’s Sonshine Broke Through Storm Clouds

Today we commemorate the heavenly birthday of sainted Good King Wenceslas! Many westerners have been introduced to him through an ancient Christmas Carol, retelling one of his miracles.

In this carol, St. Wenceslas helps distribute alms to the needy on the Eve of the Feast of St. Stephen the Apostle, Deacon, and Protomartyr (celebrated on the third day of Christmas); when the churches were opened and yearly collections from the Poor Alms Boxes were dispersed among the needy of the community. This was the original purpose and meaning of Boxing Day!

St. Wenceslas was martyred on today’s date (September 28/October 11) in the year 935. He is buried in Prague. 

A beautiful hymn was penned in the 9th century by St. Joseph the Hymnographer – a Greek monk, and one of the many liturgical poets and hymnographers of the Orthodox Church. The hymn was later translated into English, and woven into the ancient 13th century carol melody used for Good King Wenceslas.

This ancient hymn was also later sung on St. Stephen’s feast day and many other special days of the martyrs. Some churches add on St. Joseph the Hymnographer’s hymn to carol of Good King Wenceslas, as an extra and final verse:

Christian friends, your voices raise.
Wake the day with gladness.
God Himself to joy and praise 
turns our human sadness: 
Joy that martyrs won their crown, 
opened heav’ns bright portal, 
when they laid the mortal down 
for the life immortal.

Whatever we do, let us always try to do our very best to please God our Creator… that we may wake each day with gladness, and rejoice to see heaven’s bright portal break through the clouds… to illumine the way ahead!

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might

A Sunrise Blessing

Dayspring on Kauai – 2023

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. ~ Numbers 6:24-26

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. ~ Psalm 118:24

May your day be filled with prayer, peace, and love.

What Shines Through

Christ is Risen!
Today is Radonitsa, or Day of Rejoicing!

Peaceful sunset in the ancient city of Mtskheta, Georgia. ~ Shared by friends of the parish: Garret and Anastasia.

The Orthodox Church of Georgia traces its ancient origins in tradition to the missionary efforts of the Holy Apostle Andrew in the first century.

A Shining Hymn of Pascha-tide!
Shine O New Jerusalem
The Angel cried unto the Lady full of grace:
Rejoice, O Pure Virgin!
Again I say: Rejoice!
Thy Son is risen from His three days in the tomb.
With Himself He hath raised all the dead.
Rejoice, all ye people!
Shine, shine, O New Jerusalem,
The glory of the Lord has shone on you.
Exult now and be glad, O Zion,
Be radiant, O Pure Theotokos,
In the Resurrection of thy Son!

~ Ninth Ode, Paschal Canon

What shines through us
Comes from inside out…
Our light we must find
To better know ourselves… ~ Garret L.

Hell is a fall, not a place.
Heaven is flight, not a cloud! 
May our souls soar up to Heaven
with the grace of love
and rest comfortably there. ~ Garret L.

Truly He is Risen!

Then Will Come the 2nd Feast!

Detail of Parish Mosaic Icon – St. Bail the Great

…that will be St. Basil’s Feast; rejoice!

One of my favourite quotes from St. Basil the Great ~ A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.

May we all plant a Perennial Crop of Kindness and Share the Harvest from the Garden of God’s Love!

Happy St. Basil’s Day – January 14/1

Greetings on the Feast – with St. Basil the Great Quotes

St. Basil’s Day Cake Recipe

Sharing our parish choir’s (a cappella) 2014 recording of the Christmastide Carol – We Wish You Good Evening. We sing of the coming 3 feasts! Holy Nativity, St. Basil the Great’s Day, and Holy Theophany.

O rejoice all the world, the Son of God is born!

Virtues of Hope

Image by Igor Schubin from Pixabay

The Virtues of Hope
rejoice in tribulation
for God is with us.

Expectancy rests…
trusting, patiently faithful,
in the unseen Good.

Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee. ~ Psalm 33:20-22

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~ Psalm 46:1

From the Sea to the Clouds

A peaceful sunset walk by the sea is reviving for soul, mind and body. Isn’t it amazing to ponder that all water on Earth is and always has been continually recycled through the hydrosphere of our oceans, rivers, lakes and clouds? Everything is connected. Everything. And how blessed we are to be part of this Everything!

Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. ~ Isaiah 42:10

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. ~ Ecclesiastes 1:7

It is easier to measure the entire sea with a tiny cup than to grasp the ineffable greatness of God with the human mind. ~St. Basil the Great

When you see the light, do not forget Him who gave it to you; when you see the sky, the earth, the sea and all that is in them, marvel at these things and glorify their Creator... In short, if everything you do becomes for you an occasion for glorifying God, you will be praying unceasingly. And in this way your soul will always rejoice… ~ St. Peter of Damascus, Philokalia

…But accept the fountain of my tears, Thou who dost gather the waters of the sea to clouds. Bow down Thine ear to the sighing of my heart, Thou who didst bow the heavens in Thine ineffable condescension… ~ Hymn of Kassiani

Golden Firmament

Image by RyanFSpack from Pixabay

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. ~ Psalm 19: 1,7, 8, 10

May your day be golden and filled with Sonshine!

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