Spiritual Springtime

Velvet Pansies and Shy Violets Peep Out From Our Window Box
How to Make Old-fashioned Candied Violets

…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. ~ 2 Peter 3:18

Lent is a spiritual springtime… The world of nature is coming alive round us during the Lenten season. And this should be a symbol of what is to happen in our own hearts. The dawning of springtime… We shouldn’t just have a negative idea of repentance, as feeling sorry, gloomy and somber about our failings. But repentance, rather, is new hope. An opening flower. How our lives can, by God’s grace, be changed. ~ Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

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 ~ St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

If you do not shatter and empty your Ego, how will you make room for God?… God’s gifts to us blossom only if watered with the water of Love… Those who love can do only beautiful things. ~ St. Gavrilia

Heading towards the end of the second week of Great Lent, I’m hunkering down and holding fast (with God’s help), hoping to cultivate the spiritual springtime’s fragrant flowers of virtue, and to Blossom Forth!

The Beauty of the Wilderness

Celebrating the beauteous gift of simplicity!

Detail of Heath and Fir on Moss feature photo by Juliana, and shared along with a lovely verse from the Psalter.

The beauty of the wilderness shall grow lush… ~ 9th Kathisma, Psalter

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!

Apple Blossoms

Apple Blossom Scripture Art created by Juliana

Christ is Risen!

Happy Saint’s Day Irena! May God grant you many years!

Today is also the annual feast of the Wonderworking Icon of the Inexhaustible Cup (Chalice). The Icon’s Akathist to the Theotokos for help with the struggle of various addictions is here.

Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.~ Psalm 17:8

He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. ~ Deuteronomy 32:10

Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.~ Proverbs 7:2

The expression of being the apple of one’s eye comes from the Old Testament, and is translated from Hebrew as little man of his eye… the reflection one sees in the eye of another. In early English translations of the Bible, the phrase appears as apple of his eye. This is derived from the Old English word aeppel, meaning either apple and/or an eye’s pupil. The phrase developed into apple of one’s eye, retaining the original meaning of something being both highly cherished and greatly treasured.

May we blossom forth and wax fruitfully in Christ!

Truly He is Risen!

Beautiful Garden of Scripture

European Robin Image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay

All who ask receive, those who seek find, and to those who knock it shall be opened. Therefore, let us knock at the beautiful garden of Scripture. It is fragrant, sweet, and blooming with various sounds of spiritual and divinely inspired birds. They sing all around our ears, capture our hearts, comfort the mourners, pacify the angry, and fill us with everlasting joy. ~ St. John of Damascus

After the ancient feasts of Theophany and the upcoming Meeting of the Lord in the Temple (Candlemas), we notice the days growing longer. Although we know spring is just around the corner, sometimes February tosses us a few surprises. One moment we’re relaxed and relieved to see crocus and snow drop flowers blooming in glorious patches of dappled sunshine, and the next moment – heavy gray overcast skies compete with our weariness of winter and the happiness of blossoming silver catkins. While there’s almost always one last and brief farewell blast of snow or a crisp, cold snap, February has the last laugh! Robins return from their wintery travels to herald hope of the coming spring. Hearing their birdsong comforts and captures my heart anew… making me smile with joy! Thank you dear Lord for creating the saucy robins!

Sakura Steps

Fragrant sakura cherry blossoms congregate as pink snow drifts on church stairs.

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering. ~ St. Augustine of Hippo

Mondegreens

Spring garden flowers line our Pascha Basket.

Christ is Risen!

I would like to share just a couple of past musical mondegreens. A mondegreen is a mis-hearing or misinterpretation of a phrase that gives it a new meaning. 

For instance… during my early childhood years in the Baptist Church, there’s a lovely Easter hymn I adored, which (I thought) was titled “At Calgary” Couldn’t really say why we were singing about a Canadian city at Easter, but people in the pews would nod and smile when us kids belted out those last two words to the refrains: Mercy there was great and grace was free, Pardon there was multiplied to me, There my burdened soul found liberty, At Calgary! One year at Easter, when I could read better, I sheepishly realized the last line of each stanza was actually At Calvary… a holy location which had nothing to do with the province of Alberta.

As an adult in the Orthodox Church, I sing in the choir and for awhile my music stand housed an older choir book. At the ends of certain sections on the faded liturgical sheet music, there was hand-printed in a thick, dull, stubby pencil, the word “repent”. This huge WOW-factor made me wonder occasionally about the book’s previous (obviously devout) owner who would unsparingly post themselves repentance reminders! One day an unexpected pattern emerged. I noticed the numerous repents were always pencilled in at the ends of certain bars of faded music… where one could barely make out the 2 dots of a musicalrepeat” sign. The pencilled words weren’t “repent” they were actually “repeat” albeit, in poor penmanship. *Smacks Forehead* Nevertheless, repentance, and repeat repentance are indeed crucial. Sometimes, to this very day, if I see a musical repeat” sign, or have a fleeting thought of Calgary… I can’t help but smile.

Truly He is Risen!

Rock-Steady

Local Neighbourhood Stone Garage with Grass and Floral Roof

As powerful ocean waves smooth and polish sharp edges of rock and stone, so does the Holy Spirit with our souls. It surrounds us. It strengthens us. It refines and completes us. And… bit by bit, with less and less, we become more.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. ~ Matthew 7:24-27

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. ~ Psalm 18:2

May your Lenten Journey be steady, peaceful, and fruitful.

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