Petals of Whispered Wisdom

As a perpetual student of flowers, I find their enlightening fragrant grace, simply awe-inspiring!

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? ~ St. Matthew 6:28-29

As the field is adorned by a multitude of flowers, so should the field of my own soul be adorned by all the flowers of virtue; as the trees bring forth flowers and afterwards fruit, so must my soul bring forth the fruits of faith and good works. ~ St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

The rose does not speak, but puts forth a strong fragrance. We too, should put forth fragrance, pour forth spiritual fragrance, the fragrance of Christ. The fragrance of our deeds should be heard from far around: good, pure and righteous deeds, full of love. Only thus can the Kingdom of God appear within our hearts, appearing not through words, but with power. ~ St. Luke of Simferopol

Every flower is fragrant through the power of the Holy Spirit, in a delicate flow of aroma and tenderness of colour; the beauty of the Great contained in what is small. ~ Akathist Glory to God for All Things, Kontakion 3

Take delight in all things that surround us. All things teach us and lead us to God. All things around us are droplets of the love of God – both things animate and inanimate, the plants and the animals, the birds and the mountains, the sea and the sunset and the starry sky. They are little loves through which we attain to the great Love that is Christ. Flowers, for example, have their own grace; they teach us with their fragrance and with their magnificence. They speak to us of the love of God. They scatter their fragrance and their beauty on sinners and on the righteous. ~ St. Porphyrios

Whatever in us that truly lives, exuding the fragrance of life like the blossoms in springtime will never know an autumn of decomposition and death. Those alive in Christ experience an everlasting seedtime of continual growth in faith, trust, hope, confidence, understanding, awareness, optimism, love, and joy. For them this world is a mere cocoon destined to release its true self on radiant, pure and glorious wings to a world alive with the fragrance of the Holy Trinity. ~ Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky

Spiritual Fragrance

Roses of Spiritual Friendship from Olga

Today is the Feast Day of St. Xenia! (A very special Saint who has greatly helped our family) Congratulations also, to goddaughter Xenia on your Saint’s Day. May God grant you many years!

Yesterday, after service, our youth choir rehearsed It is Truly Meet to Bless Thee, O Theotokos… a hymn they’ll be singing for an upcoming liturgy. Sung from the heart, their pure, prayerful voices filled the air with spiritual fragrance – and arose like incense.

It is Truly Meet – Parish Youth Choir 2023

It is truly meet to bless thee, O Theotokos,
Ever blessed and most pure,
And the Mother of our God.
More honourable than the cherubim,
And more glorious beyond compare
Than the seraphim,
Who without corruption gavest birth
To God the Word,
True Theotokos we magnify thee.

May the Mother of God keep you and your family.

Drying the Flowers From the Cross

…the wood of the Cross hath now put for flower, filling her (the church) with strength and steadfastness. ~ Ode 4, Katavasia of the Cross

Flowers (above) from the recent Procession of the Precious Cross were collected and removed from their oasis boards yesterday. All petals were pulled, separated, and spread out onto a large, hanging, mesh-dryer herb rack – purchased through Amazon a few years ago.

This foldable rack is used each summer to dry our organic herbs and edible flowers for teas, sachets and sleep pillows. It takes about 2 + weeks to dry properly and completely, before storing them in a sealed glass jar, or enclosing them in a sachet bag, or cotton pillow case.

I excluded the “inedible” anemones from this particular drying process, and put them in the compost bin.

If possible, one should never toss out flowers used to decorate icons or the Cross. Do try to compost or reuse them.

Old, blessed pussy willows or Palm Leaves from Palm Sunday, should either be composted, buried, or burned and buried.

Every flower is fragrant through the power of the Holy Spirit, in a delicate flow of aroma and tenderness of colour; the beauty of the Great contained in what is small. Praise and honour to God, Who gives life, Who spreads forth the meadows like a flowering carpet, Who crowns the fields with golden ears of wheat and azure basilisks, and the soul – with the joy of contemplation. Let us rejoice and sing to Him: Alleluia. ~ Akathist: Glory to God for All Things, Kontak. 3

May your day be noticeably Fragrant with the Holy Spirit!

Petals of Healing Love

The Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me (a sinner), is a prayer of the heart to help us pray without ceasing. Even when shortened to Lord have mercy, (Divine Liturgy, or private prayer) it brims with bountiful blessings! The juicy root-words for ‘mercy’ in Greek and Hebrew, are jam-packed with more meaning!

“Lord, Have Mercy.” The true meaning behind this short prayer often gets lost in English, because the word “mercy” takes on a connotation of “justice or acquittal.”  This is not the tenor of the prayer that we say in the Divine Liturgy. We aren’t saying:  “Lord…don’t convict me and send me to the outer darkness!” The Greek word that is used for “mercy” comes from “eleos”, which is the same root word as the word for “oil” which is used to sooth or to heal.  The Hebrew word for “mercy” comes from “hesed” which means “steadfast love.”  In the Church, when we say “Lord have mercy”, we are literally saying over and over and over:  “Lord…soothe me…and show me your steadfast love! ...“Show us your healing love O Lord”!  ~ Fr. Gabriel Bilas (pravmir.com)

“Lord Have Mercy” explained by Frederica Mathewes-Green(Short! Less than 4 minutes)

If you feel sweetness or compunction at some word of your prayer, dwell on it; for then our guardian angel is praying with us. ~ St. John Climacus (Ladder of Divine Ascent)

Nature is the Secret Gospel

Scripture Art Photo by Juliana

I love seeing raindrops reflect like jewels on flowers and leaves. They’re mysterious, beautiful, and the centre of each drop contains a single speck of cloud dust.

Like the sphere of our own world, every raindrop is globe-shaped, and holds a microcosm of Earth’s history within. All water on Earth is – and always has beencontinually recycled through the hydrosphere of our oceans, rivers, lakes and clouds.

Raindrops remind us everything’s connected.

Who knowsPerhaps a raindrop that falls on us today was once part of the Jordan River, surrounding Christ where He stood to be baptised?

Maybe that fluffy snowflake melting on our nose could have at one time, splashed against the bow of The Ark during the Great Flood?

Perchance this morning’s dew which sits serenely on a rose petal, once glistened in Eden’s Garden?

Raindrops are ancient and possess the numinous beauty of Creation. Water is life, and blessed water is Holy Water.

Let us keep looking up… for the heavens declare the glory of God!

Accept the fountain of my tears, Thou who dost gather the waters of the sea to clouds... ~ Hymn of Kassiani

For when the ground soaks up rain that often falls on it and continues producing vegetation useful to those for whom it is cultivated, it receives a blessing from God. ~ Hebrews 6:7

…All things become opportunities for us to be joined  more closely with everything and everyone. They become occasions for thanksgiving and prayer.  Live in the midst of everything, nature and universe.  Nature is the secret Gospel. But when one does not possess inner grace, nature is of no benefit. Nature awakens  us, but it cannot bring us into Paradise. ~ St. Porphyrios (Wounded by Love)

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