No Matter Where…

Moloa’a Bay Sunrise on Kauai – July 2023

God travels our road,
and no matter where we go…
our angel’s there too!

I’m out of practice with international travelling. It’s been a few years!

Thankfully, we received a trip blessing before departure on our recent and amazing family vacation – which began with a huge hiccup at a connecting airport… with hundreds waiting in line to go through customs, (many apparently) for a Taylor Swift concert.

I accepted the possible inevitability it was God’s Will we might miss our next flight. There was nothing to do but patiently go through the long process. In the near 2 hour line up, I found myself quietly humming Lord Have Mercy a prayer of the heart I’d taught the Youth Choir – who sang it (as recorded below) at concert, during Palm Sunday Liturgy this year.

Lord Have Mercy Hymn – Youth Choir 2023

This serene piece (possibly hummed several hundred times while waiting in line) calmed me, and it seemed I could almost hear the Youth Choir’s precious voices singing along, as if in accompaniment!

In a nutshell… once passed security, we made a desperate, sweaty 10 minute dash (dragging our carry-on), and actually boarded the plane shutting its doors! Whew! Six hours later we arrived safely in beautiful Kauai, Hawaii.

Mahalo ke Akua (thanks be to God)!

Be that as it may, it was still surprising and disconcerting to remember (I’d conveniently forgotten) that no matter where we go, we always manage to pack along our imperfect inner selves. Ack! There’s no escaping this, even on holiday in paradise!

Familiar foibles sneakily surfaced, and (unless constantly playing in the ocean) the high humidity magnified an existing (hard to believe I’m sure, ha-ha!) grump factor.

Our travel icons on the lanai – Kauai 2023

With my comfort zone challenged, I happily rediscovered that conscious repetition of Thank you God inspires true appreciation of His Creation.

Sincere gratitude helped me explore and happily embrace more unexpected adventures as they came during our vacation.

All in all, it was a joy to share new and meaningful experiences with loved ones. And, with apologies to my long-suffering Guardian Angel… I learned to embrace higher humidity!

It’s good to go – and good to come home… and very good to gird up one’s loins to resume the Me Battle again!

Mahalo for visiting Blisswood! I hope this finds you well.

With much Aloha in Christ! ❤️

Shiloach

Image by Jaesung An from Pixabay

Christ is Risen!

Greetings on the Sunday of the Blindman!

Today we remember the Blindman being sent by Christ, to wash in the Pool of Siloam, the ancient and only perennial spring in Jerusalem.

Siloam comes from the Hebrew word shiloach, literally sending forth.”

As you stand in Church during the Liturgy, do you realize that there are countless angels present? What would happen if you could see them? What would you do if you saw tongues of fire descend upon the Holy Gifts when the priest called down the Holy Spirit to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ? Or if, when you approached the altar for Holy Communion, you actually saw the Body and Blood of our Lord not as bread and wine, but as His visible Body and Blood? Do you think you could receive Communion and ten minutes later find your mind wandering to the clothes someone was wearing? ~ Fr. Deacon Vladimir Anderson (Living Awe-fully)

May our spiritual eyes be Illumined, healed, and cleansed anew… within the Siloam of our Hearts! (a poem)

TRULY HE IS RISEN!

Reaping the Harvest

Scripture Art by Juliana

When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands ~ Deuteronomy 24:19

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. ~ St. John 12:24

Through Stillness

Image by John from Pixabay

Monastery in Meteora, Greece

When you go forth, guard what you have gathered. When the cage is opened, the birds fly out. And then we shall find no further profit in stillness. ~ St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent)

Love of God proceeds from conversing with him; this conversation of prayer comes about through stillness, and stillness comes with the stripping away of the self.  ~ St. Isaac the Syrian (The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life)

True wisdom is gazing at God. Gazing at God is silence of the thoughts. Stillness of mind is tranquillity which comes from discernment.  ~ St. Isaac the Syrian (Homily 64)

The Lord Sees Everything

Detail of the Holy Christ Child from parish’s Platyteria (Wider than the Heavens) Orans Icon

Perform everything attentively, as if it is being done before the face of God. Remember the Lord sees everything. ~ St. Nikon of Optina

A place cannot save you… Because there is no place where you can flee from yourself. ~ Saint Nikon of Optina

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ~ St. John 15:5

Steep and Thorny

Bristling Scotch Thistles

Steep and thorny is the path that leads to the Heavenly Kingdom… Self-love is the soil upon which grow passions, emptiness of life, and sorrow. ~ Archbishop Seraphim Sobolev

Loving only himself, a man loves neither God nor his fellow-men. He does not even love the man that is in himself; he loves only his thoughts about himself, his illusions about himself. Were he to love the man in himself, he would at the same time love God’s image in him, and would quickly become a lover of God and man, for he would be seeking man and God in other men, as objects of his love. Self-love is not love, but is rejection of God and contempt for men, whether open or concealed. Self-love is not love but sickness, a serious illness that inevitably brings other illnesses in its train. As pox inevitably produces fever throughout the body, so self-love produces the fire of envy and anger in the whole body. A man full of self-love is full of envy of those who are better than he is, or richer, more learned or more respected by men. With envy there always goes anger, like flame with fire; a concealed anger, that flares out at times and, in so doing, reveals all the ugliness of the man’s sick heart, that has been poisoned with the poison of self-love… ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovic

Take the example of the earth. Even though it is one, nevertheless, some earth is rocky, some quite fertile. And some is good for vines while other ground is suited for raising wheat and barley. So also are different types of human hearts and wills. Likewise also gifts from above are distributed differently. To one is given ministry of preaching, to another that of discernment, to another the gifts of healings (1 Corinthians 12:9). For God knows how a person is able to fulfill his stewardship and so He gives His various gifts accordingly. In a similar way to the interior battles, the enemy power is permitted to attack humans in the certain measure that each person is able to receive and withstand. ~ St. Macarius of Egypt (Fifty Spiritual Homilies)

Fragrance of Humility

As with the appearance of light, darkness retreats; so, at the fragrance of humility, all anger and bitterness vanishes. ~ St. John Climacus

Humble-mindedness will bring all the virtues. ~ St. Anthimos of Chios 

What salt is for any food, humility is for every virtue… Not every quiet man is humble, but every humble man is quiet. ~ St Isaac the Syrian

God gives us His Grace, when we are humble… If the grace of God comes, everyone and everything changes; however, in order for it to come, we must humble ourselves first. ~ Elder Porphyrios

…reading and spiritual knowledge are good, but only when they lead to greater humility…  ~ St. Peter of Damaskos

God descends to the humble as waters flow down from the hills into the valleys. ~ St. John of Kronstadt

Meekness and humility of heart are virtues without which it is impossible to inherit the Heavenly Kingdom, to be happy on earth, or to experience inner calm. ~ St. Anthony of Optina

Seek God daily. But seek Him in your heart, not outside it. And when you find Him, stand with fear and trembling, like the Cherubim and the Seraphim, for your heart has become a throne of God. But in order to find God, become humble as dust before the Lord, for the Lord abhors the proud, whereas He visits those that are humble in heart, wherefore He says: “To whom will I look, but to him that is meek and humble in heart?~ St. Nektarios of Aegina

The Christian needs two wings in order to soar upward and attain Paradise: humility and love… Humility consists, not in condemning our conscience, but in recognizing God’s grace and compassion. ~ St. Kosmas Aitolos

The natural property of the lemon tree is such that it lifts its branches upwards when it has no fruit, but the more the branches bend down the more fruit they bear. Those who have the mind to understand will grasp the meaning of this. ~ St. John Climacus

Just as water and fire cannot be combined, so do self-justification and humility exclude one another.  ~ St. Mark the Ascetic

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