Divine Choreography

A Gardener’s Delight!

Final Encore of one diverse Floral Troupe’s whirling, spinning, Petal Pirouette [Pronounced pee-rooet]! ~ photo shared by Melania

Christ is Risen!

Celestial Music
Out of Eternity
Music was heard,
And into Infinity
Straightaway flowed,
All chaos along with it
Taking away.
In the chasm like a whirlwind
The stars began swirling,
Their every ray singing
Like musical strings,
And life, being stirred
By this Divine Vibration,
Shows only to him
Its true inspiration,

Who is sometimes attune
To this music celestial,
Whose mind is wide open,
Whose heart is aflame.
~ Y.P. Polonsky

In the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, the godparent holds or follows the newly-illumined (depending on their age) behind the priest, three times around the Baptismal Font, clasping a baptismal candle which symbolizes the Divine Light of Christ. The Procession is like a joyful dance as we embark upon the first few steps of our new life in Christ, while the clergy and choir sing, “As many as have been baptised into Christ, have put on Christ. Alleluia!”

In the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the Priest leads the couple in a Procession around the stand on which the Holy Gospel and Blessing Cross have been placed. Here too, the choir sings as the husband and wife take their first steps of holy wedlock together, and the Church (symbolized by the Priest leading the way) will help guide them in the way they should step. This part of the ceremony is sometimes called the Dance of Isaiah or the Dance of Life.

Let all the trees of the forest dance and sing, let all the trees clap their hands. ~ Sunday of the Cross

Whether with people or in nature, there is a Divine Choreography and it’s on us (of free will) to learn the Qualities of Movement to Life’s Dance of Truth. Through practice, we can move gracefully to any new melody. If we inadvertently have our own toes painfully trod upon during the Great Dance of Life, there is St. Paisios’ dynamic quote: So in every test, let us say: “Thank you, my God, because this was needed for my salvation.” Remembering this helps reset our internal rhythm… it enables us to glide forward… it inspires us to kick up our heels again with joyattuned anew… to the Divine Vibration!

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. ~ Isaiah 40:8

Beautiful Things Are Seldom Easy

Poppy in Denmark, shared by Marianne

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name… ~Psalm 63

A dear subscriber has shared some brilliant reflections that I’ve found helpful.

Sometimes we feel like we’re digging channels, ever waiting for the Lord to fill them. (It takes faith to do that!)

We know God is with us, but sometimes we may struggle to feel His Presence and Love, or even pray.

Yet, there is consolation!

When we carry out our “religious duties” we are like people digging channels in a waterless land, in order that when at last water comes, it may find them ready. ~ C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

During times of spiritual dryness, faithful perseverance in prayer is the sweetest of all our prayers to God. By clinging tenaciously to Christ’s love with prayer, regardless of circumstances, we are truly blessed.

May we persevere in ploughing our personal furrows and be ready when the Lord fills them… in God’s Good Time.

In Every Test

Cave Monastery in Bulgaria – Image by falco from Pixabay

If we always see God in our minds, and always remember Him, everything will appear tolerable to us. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ Philippians 4:6

In preparing for an upcoming parish fundraiser, some plans had changed. Feeling a bit apprehensive, I sent off revisions with (what I hoped to be) an encouraging response to the flurry of emails, and with a heavy sigh, signed off, “Love in Christ, m Barbara.”

Or – so I thought.

Actually, I’d signed off saying, Live in Christ, m Barbara”.

A note to self. Yes! Live in Christ! Quit sighing!

Guardian Angel had gently reminded- Everything’s in God’s Hands – not mine.

And those pesky, anxious, tummy butterflies?

Vamoosed!

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. ~ Proverbs 16:9

Live in Christ!

m Barbara

Pearls of Wisdom

…unless you have suffered affliction – virtue has not been tested. ~ St. Mark the Ascetic

Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without strife. ~ St. Leo the Great

…For the Holy Spirit, sweet and gracious, draws the soul to love the Lord, and in the sweetness of the Holy Spirit the soul loses her fear of suffering. ~ St. Silouan the Athonite

For one to be ill is a divine visitation. Illness is the greatest gift from God, and when the only thing that man can give back to God is pain. ~ Anonymous old monk

It is absurd to be grateful to doctors who give us bitter and unpleasant medicines to cure our bodies, and yet be ungrateful to God for what appears to us to be harsh, not grasping that all we encounter is for our benefit and in accordance with His providence. For knowledge of God and faith in Him is the salvation and perfection of the soul. ~ St. Anthony the Great

I have consciousness of my sinfulness, but I live with hope. It is bad to despair, because someone who despairs becomes embittered and loses willingness and strength. Someone who has hope, on the contrary, advances forward. ~ St. Porphyrios

Prayer should be our first response, not the last hope. ~ Archpriest Andrei Tkachev

We are like broken glass that reflects in small fragments until the power if God makes us whole again. ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Glory be to God for everything! Dry your tears. Your Guardian Angel will carry those little tears away to the Throne of God. ~ St. Barsanuphius

Hallowed be Your Name

Local Glorious Sunrise with quote – Shared by Sophie

Greetings on today’s feast of St. Anna, the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Congratulations to my dear friend Anna on your Name’s Day! May God grant you many years.

Akathist Hymn to Sts. Joachim and Anna

The words ‘hallowed be Your name’ could well be understood in the sense that God is hallowed by our perfection. In other words, when we say ‘hallowed be Your name’ to Him what we are really saying is ‘Father, make us such as to deserve knowledge and understanding of how holy You are, or at least let Your holiness shine forth in the spiritual lives we lead. And this surely happens as men ‘see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven ‘ (St. Matthew 6:16). ~ St. John Cassian

‘May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ (St. Matthew 6:10). No greater prayer can be offered than that the things of earth should be put on a level with the things of heaven… What else is this if not a declaration that men should be like angels, that just as the will of God is fulfilled by the angels in heaven so all men on earth should do, not their will, but His. The only man capable of offering up this prayer sincerely will be the one who believes that God arranges everything – the seeming good and the seeming bad – for our benefit, that the salvation and the well-being of His own people is more of a care and a concern to Him than to ourselves. ~ St. John Cassian

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one… Temptation is a test that is either sent to us from God or comes from the devil but is allowed by God. Every temptation is for us a kind of test of fortitude; sometimes we pass the test and sometimes we do not. In asking God, “…lead us not into temptation,” we are as it were saying to Him, “Do not send us trials beyond our strength; send us such trials as we can cope with, so that the trials and sorrows that Thou dost send, not crush us, not kill the faith within us…” …Therefore, when we ask God to …”deliver us from the evil one,” we ask He help us to always find the strength to refrain from what could enable the evil one to influence our life. If we learn this, neither the devil or any evil forces … can have any influence on us.” ~ Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev)

Dry Spells

Sometimes we are tested by pleasure, sometimes by distress or by physical suffering. By means of His prescriptions the Physician of souls administers the remedy according to the cause of the passions lying hidden in the soul. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

We know God is with us, but sometimes there may be struggles to feel His Presence and Love, or even pray. Yet, there is a consolation!

During times of spiritual dryness, faithful perseverance in prayer is the sweetest of all our prayers to God. By clinging tenaciously to Christ’s love with prayer, regardless of circumstances, we are blessed.

4th Century St. Macarius the Great reminds: One must force himself to prayer when he has not spiritual prayer, and God, beholding him thus striving, and compelling himself by force, in spite of an unwilling heart, gives him the true prayer of the Spirit.

The Holy Apostle Paul writes the rewards of perseverance in prayer: And we also have joy with our troubles because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces experience, and experience produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. God gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us. ~ Romans 5:3-5

Archpriest Nikolai Guryanov encourages: Do not grieve, do not be sad: Again will come a time to be glad; patiently wait, patiently endure, to those who wait will come their reward!

Everything that has a beginning has an end… Except for God, Who is beginningless.

This is just for now!

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