Beauty of the Lord

Gold Tesserae Awaiting Placement in Parish Mosaic

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in his temple. ~ Psalm 27:4

Sanctify those that love the beauty of Thy house. Glorify them in return by Thy divine power. ~ Prayer behind the Ambo

…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8

Numinous beauty is found in the physical and spiritual splendour surrounding us!

We perceive God’s grace through the noetic beauty of nature. Our souls sense it when we throw open the doors of our heart and gaze upon the holy icons at Church. We smell it in the sweet fragrance of pure beeswax candles, the bouquets of flowers, and the clouds of billowing incense. We hear it in the joyful voices singing hymns and psalms of praise. We taste it in the Holy Mysteries, the antidoron and prosphora. We experience His Mercy of Peace through the powerful permeation of communal prayer at Divine Liturgy.

Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote: Beauty will save the world.

True Beauty points to God… Who exudes and transcends Inexpressible Beauty in everything, through the Glorious, Gladsome Light of His Divinity!

Meeting of the Lord in the Temple

Greetings on The Meeting of the Lord in the Temple!

When Jesus was forty days old, the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph the Betrothed brought Christ to the temple in order to fulfill the law and dedicate Him to God. 

The celebration of the Meeting of the Lord in the church is not merely a historical commemoration. Inspired by the same Holy Spirit as Simeon, and led by the same Spirit into the Church of the Messiah, the members of the Church also can claim their own “meeting” with the Lord, and so also can witness that they too can “depart in peace” since their eyes have seen the salvation of God in the person of his Christ. ~

On today’s Feast of the Meeting of the Lord, when the heavens meet the earth, God meets man, history meets eternity, when – as our people beautifully say – spring and winter meet, may we also open our hearts for an encounter with the Lord… Open your hearts, listen to the depths of your thoughts, desires, feelings, anticipations, nostalgias, yearnings, the pursuits of your hearts. For our hearts are created in the image of God and they yearn for God; the truth is often buried in passions, desires, appetites, ambitions, prejudices. Let us free ourselves of them and meet the Lord, for He always comes to meet us. He is the One who came, who is with us, Who always comes to be with us. ~ Bishop Atanasije (Homily on the Meeting of our Lord, Orthodox Christianity website)

Let us not only dedicate our little children in imitation of Christ’s dedication, but let us dedicate ourselves – perhaps again, perhaps for the first time – so that we may also be found held in the arms of the righteous Simeon, so that we also may see the salvation that he saw and know the mercy and peace and  beauty of the Lord that will last not only into our departure from this life as it did with him, but also through all eternity. ~ Father Andrew Stephen Damick

The important thing is for us to enter into the Church (temple) – to unite ourselves with our fellow men, with the joys and sorrows of each and everyone, to feel that they are our own, to pray for everyone, to have care for their salvation, to forget about ourselves, to do everything for them just as Christ did for us. In the Church we become one with each unfortunate, suffering and sinful soul. ~ Elder Porphyrios (Wounded by Love)

Festal Resource Page

Happy Feast!

Today, I hope to (as a dear friend used to say), “go get some sun on my face,” and pick a small bouquet of Snowdrops – Candlemas Bells.

With Love in Christ.

Our Precious Cornerstone

Alabaster, Onyx, and Marble Mandylion (Towel) Iconostasis Mosaic – St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Canada

Jesus Christ is our precious and chief cornerstone…   in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,  in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:19-22

God is Beautiful, and His House reflects this Beauty as a sacramental image of the Heavenly Jerusalem here on Earth… Our Door to Paradise.

Beautifying the House of God is pleasing to Him. Traditional stylized toweling has a very long history in church iconography. Frescoed borders of stylized fabric of “towels, or mandylion” represent the original linens from Old Testament times used within the original Portable Tabernacle.

Decorative wall mandylion run along the walls of many Orthodox churches, and are covered with adorning emblems. These also recall the Scriptural theme of linen napkins and towels as cited in the New Testament. And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,  so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left… ~ Acts 19:11-12.

Furthermore, Holy Tradition relates the miraculous Holy Image Not Made by Hands by the transference of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ‘s Face, onto a linen towel.

A Living Stone and a Holy People. So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.  Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” ~  1 Peter 2:1-6

Having made us in His own image, God has given us an indelible love for beauty. We worship Him with body and soul, using all the beauty of His creation to move us to prayer and worship – through icons, beautiful ancient singing, sweet-smelling incense, and majestic holy services.

Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation… ~ Isaiah 28:16

Jesus Christ is our Precious Cornerstone.

May our hearts build on God’s Beauty and Wisdom to become proper temples and dwelling places for the Holy Spirit.

Glory to God for all things!


Christ is Risen!

Today is the 25th day after Pascha, and we are midpoint in our journey to the upcoming Great Feast of Pentecost.

The Mid-Pentecost Icon above, illustrates the Gospel account of our Lord, Who at the age of twelve, taught and spoke with the Elders in the Temple of Jerusalem.

Today’s Troparion hymn, alludes to another Gospel encounter of Jesus Christ with the Samaritan Woman at the Well.

At MidFeast, give Thou my thirsty soul to drink of the waters of piety; for Thou, O Saviour, didst cry out to all: Whosoever is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Wherefore, O Well-spring of Life, Christ our God, glory to Thee. ~ Troparion of Mid-Pentecost

Our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, is the Well-spring of our life.

He invites all thirsty souls to come to Him and drink from the waters of immortality; never to thirst again. (St. John 7:37).

Truly He is Risen!

Happy Feast Day!

Today is the ancient and joyful Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple!

St. Gregory Palamas shares a beautiful contemplation:

When the Mother of God entered into the Holy of Holies, the time of preparation and testing of the old Covenant came to an end, and today we keep the feast of the betrothal of God to human nature. When the Church rejoices and exhorts all the friends of God for their part to enter into the temple of their heart, there to make ready for the coming of the Lord by silence and prayer, withdrawing from the pleasures and cares of this world.

Wishing you a most blessed day…

Today is the Prelude of God’s Good Will!

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