A Touch of Green on Forgiveness Sunday

Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay

Today there are many celebrations!

It is Forgiveness Sunday and tomorrow is the first day of Great Lent (Orthodox Style).

Pascha (Easter) comes late this year. (May 5th)

Today is also St. Owen’s Day (March 17/4)!

On the new style calendar, today is also St. Patrick of Ireland. (The equivalent Julian calendar date for March 17th is 13 days later – on March 30th)

Here are some fascinating historical documents about St. Patrick, written by the 7th century monk Muirchú from the Royal Irish Academy.

Icons of St. Patrick often show him holding a three-leafed shamrock growing on a single stem, he used this to illustrate the Holy Trinity – our One God in Three Persons.

St. Patrick wrote many hymns. Here is an excerpt from a beautiful, longer hymn, the Lorica (Breastplate) of St. Patrick. “I bind unto myself today, the Strong Name of the Trinity! By Invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three!”   ~ St. Patrick

Abbreviated Lorica Hymn of St. Patrick’s Prayer, recorded and sung below, by our Youth Choir in 2019.

As today is Forgiveness Sunday, I’ll conclude with sincerely asking your forgiveness… For any offense I may have given to any of my readers/subscribers, at any time.

God Forgives!

May our Lenten Journey ahead, be Peaceful and Fruitful!

Another (very short) recording of St. Patrick’s Prayer sung outside, by my GG’s a few years ago. The precious robin chirping at the end… was totally unrehearsed!

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

Happy 3rd Day of the Holy Spirit!

Image by Joe from Pixabay

As Children of Light, may we (with purpose and gratitude) strive to reflect the Holy Trinity’s Joyous, Gladsome Light- on all whom we meet today – and every day… The Three in One and One in Three!

The Holy Spirit has always been, is now and ever shall be, having neither beginning nor end, but one with the Father and the Son: life and life giving; goodness itself and source of goodness, through Whom the Father is made known and the Son is glorified, and is known by all: one power, one unity, one worship, of the Holy Trinity. ~ Pentecost Vespers

I praise the Godhead, unity in three persons, for the Father is light, the Son is light, and the Spirit is light; but the light remains undivided, shining forth in oneness of nature; yet in the three rays of the persons! ~ Matins, Sunday of the Cross

Come, O ye people, let us worship the Godhead in Three Hypostasis: the Son in the Father, with the Holy Spirit; for the Father timelessly begat the Son Who is Co-eternal and Equal in Majesty, and the Holy Spirit was in the Father, glorified together with the Son; One Might, One Essence, One Godhead. In worshipping Whom let us all say: O Holy God, Who madest all things by the Son, through the cooperation of the Holy Spirit; Holy Mighty, through Whom we have known the Father, and through Whom the Holy Spirit came into the world; Holy Immortal, the Comforting Spirit, Who proceedest from the Father, and restest in the Son: O Holy Trinity, glory be to Thee. ~ Dogmaticon of Great Vespers of Pentecost

Sung by the GG’s

When asked to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity in a simple manner, 5th century St. Patrick of Ireland used a tiny shamrock (a low growing plant of the clover family) with its three lobed leaves on a single stem, to demonstrate how God the Father- God the Son- and God the Holy Spirit are the Holy Trinity; Three in One, One in Three… Undivided. St. Patrick wrote many hymns. Above is an excerpt from a beautiful, longer hymn. “I bind unto myself today, the Strong Name of the Trinity! By Invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three!” 

May your fast-free week of the Afterfeast be peaceful and fruitful!

Pentecost! The Earth’s Name’s Day!

Image by Anja from Pixabay

The Great Feast of Pentecost ~ Holy Trinity Sunday!

Greeting you with resplendent joy! Happy Feast Day!

Today is the Church’s Birthday and we also celebrate that at our own baptisms, we received the Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Chrismation, and have become participants in the Church’s Life of Grace!

Previous Blisswood Pentecost Posts:
Pentecost Greetings (Preparing for Pentecost)
Pentecost Rose and Traditions (Associated colours, making a Braided Grass Cross, creating a simple floral bouquet to bring/hold at Church)
Greetings on Pentecost (Troparion of Pentecost and excerpts from the beautiful Pentecost Vespers Kneeling Prayers )
Mosaic of Life
Day of the Holy Spirit
Happy Holy Spirit Day
I Believe

Virtual Tour of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (Vancouver BC) decorated with nature’s greenery for Pentecost.

Greetings on the Feast, and Happy Whitsuntide during the Afterfeast & Fast-Free Week until next Saturday!

Pentecost – Also known as Whitsun means literally “White Sunday” from the fact that many were baptized on this feast and thus dressed in white baptismal gowns, but perhaps also from the white light of the Holy Spirit. In Somerset, “God’s Land”, it was customary for women to wear white ribbons in their shoes, or at least carry a white flower, perhaps a daisy. It was a great feast and bells which were rung on this day were decorated with red ribbons to remind the faithful of the tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit. The main dish this day was veal, in other words, the Biblical “fatted calf”, with gooseberry pie… Indeed an old rhyme says: “For gooseberry tart at Whitsuntide, trim old wood out ‘ere Christmastide”. ~ Old English Pentecost Traditions

A little chapel at Pentecost 2004

The Earth’s Name’s Day
~ Vasily Nikiforov-Volgin
(1900-1941)
The birch trees under our window murmured of the coming of the Holy Trinity. Sitting under their canopy, merging with the waves of their glittering leaves, I close my eyes tightly and imagined a path of shimmering light, just like on a river at sunrise; and along this path, in the form of three angels in white raiment, walks the Holy Trinity.
On the eve of the holiday my mother said, “Tomorrow is the earth’s name’s day!”
“How is that?” I asked.

“Because tomorrow, my son, is Holy Trinity Day. Tomorrow, the Holy Spirit walks upon the earth, and decorates the earth with the most beautiful field flowers and thick green grass. That is why on Trinity Day the earth always looks so bedecked and merry, like a name’s day celebrant!”
“The earth’s name’s day!” These extraordinary words sounded so wonderful, that my whole heart was illumined…
In the early morning, the arrival of the Holy Trinity at our village came in the form of the rising sun’s rays, which filled our little room with a delicate radiance. Mother lit the lampada in front of the icons murmuring, “O most Holy Trinity, save us….” Over the earth, which was celebrating its name’s day, the sun spilled its rays in thick and fragrant waves. The church crowned the earth’s name’s day with wondrous words, hymns and long mysterious prayers, during which we stood on our knees, and the floor was covered with flowers and fresh grass. I picked up blades of grass from the floor, rubbed them between my palms and, breathing in their fragrant smell, I sensed with all my heart: how wonderful it is to be alive on the earth’s name’s day!

The Lord grant thee according to thy heart, and all thy purposes fulfill.
~ From 2nd Antiphon at Pentecost

Joyful Ringing of Candlemas Bells

Snowdrop flowers, also known as Candlemas Bells, rang in yesterday’s bright feast, decoratively sitting upon the Icon of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple.

As the memory of fire does not warm the body, so faith without love does not bring about the illumination in the soul. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

Christ is our Redemption.

Christ is our True Light.

Standing before God in prayer, we are as newly lit spiritual candles. May our hearts and souls flame radiantly, as we inhale the life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit, and may we shine and reflect Christ’s Gladsome Light!

Droplets of Holy Water can be seen on these blessed beeswax candles at the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple; Candlemas.

In the Form of a Dove

Beautiful Dome Painting on round canvas, by Marie Proe ~ Niagara Falls, New York

January 19/6

Greetings on Holy Theophany!

Christ is Baptised! In the Jordan!

Today’s Great Feast commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist. Today the Heavens are opened. Today the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove. Today God the Father’s Voice from heaven declares Jesus Christ is His beloved Son. Today the Illuminating Light and Mystery of the Holy Trinity appears to the inhabited earth!

May blessings abound
With God’s gracious Love,
So let our hearts soar
On wings like a dove!

Good Day and Good Feast to you!

Epiphany Carol from Patmos, Greece.

Surrendering to Divine Wisdom

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Orthodoxy is a faith that is deep enough to allow her believers to confront the complexities of our human experience, while at the same time recognizing that not all is understood in this life, but viewed as a Mystery. So, the view that believers never doubt, is simply not true. Doubt is not the opposite of faith, but rather the vehicle by which we are challenged to go deeper into the Mystery that is true faith. Nothing keeps we true believers from struggling with uncertainty, for it is this very uncertainty that keeps us from complacency. Complacency is the true enemy of faith, and the inhibitor of spiritual growth. It is complacency that keeps us from the Kingdom of God, and the joy that comes when we are in Communion with Christ. It is not a question of choosing sides, but of surrendering to Divine Wisdom. ~ Abbot Tryphon

In the mystical theology of the Orthodox Church, Wisdom is understood as the Divine Logos (God the Word), Who became Incarnate as Jesus Christ. In Greek, Ἁγία Σοφία (Hagia Sophia) is defined “Holy Wisdom” meaning “Jesus Christ”…The Wisdom and Power of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 1: 24,30; 1 Corinthians 2:7

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth… No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. ~ First chapter of 1 John

Shared by a friend…
Some Aspects of Surrendering to Divine Wisdom

Surrender = Conscious, Willing, Choice.
Surrender = Unconditional Seeking Refuge within the Divine.
Surrender = Faith.
Surrender = Effort.
Surrender = Hope.
Surrender = Love.
Surrender = Trust.
Surrender = Strength.
Surrender = Recognizing Blessings.
Surrender = Gratitude, Thankfulness.
Surrender = Action with Consistent Prayer.
Surrender = Communication.
Surrender = Understanding that Christ Knows What’s Best For Us.

Accepting God’s Will = Learning to let go, and let God!

One step at a time… It’s a lifelong process!

We Are Never Alone

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses… ~ Hebrews 12:1

Though the Christian may pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him. ~ St. Clement of Alexandria

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

When you are about to pray to our Lady the Holy Virgin, be firmly assured, before praying, that you will not depart from her without having received mercy. To think thus and to have confidence in her is meet and right. She is, the All-Merciful Mother of the All-Merciful God, the Word, and her mercies, incalculably great and innumerable, have been declared from all ages by all Christian Churches... ~ St. John of Kronstadt

The Most Holy Mother of God prays for us ceaselessly. She is always visiting us. Whenever we turn to her in our heart, she is there. After the Lord, she is the greatest protection for mankind… She is constantly by our side, and all too often we forget her. ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as always, that God the Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter than the sun; also all the angels, your own Guardian Angel, and all the Saints of God. Truly they do; for they are all one in God, and where God is, there are they also. Where the sun is, thither also are directed all its rays. Try to understand what this means. ~ Elder Herman of Mt. Athos

A saint is a Christian who lets God’s light shine through. ~ Anonymous quote by a child who looked at a saint in a stained glass window

Vigil lights are placed before the icons of the saints to show that without the Light, Who is Christ, the Saints are nothing. It is only as the light of Christ shines on them that they become alive and resplendent. ~ St. Symeon the New Theologian 

The candles lit before icons of saints reflect their ardent love for God for Whose sake they gave up everything that man prizes in life, including their very lives, as did the holy apostles, martyrs and others. These candles also mean that these saints are lamps burning for us and providing light for us by their own saintly living, their virtues and their ardent intercession for us before God through their constant prayers by day and night. The burning candles also stand for our ardent zeal and the sincere sacrifice we make out of reverence and gratitude to them for their solicitude on our behalf before God. ~ St. John of Kronstadt

In God and in His Church there is no division between the living and the departed, but all are one in the love of the Father. Whether we are alive or whether we are dead, as members of the Church we still belong to the same family, and still have a duty to bear one another’s burdens. Therefore just as Orthodox Christians here on earth pray for one another and ask for one another’s prayers, so they pray for the faithful departed and ask the faithful departed to pray for them. Death cannot sever the bond of mutual love which links the members of the Church together. ~ Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

Noting the small congregation in church one Sunday morning, a cynic said to the priest, “Not many in church this morning, Father. Not many at all.” The old priest replied, “You are wrong, my son. There were thousands at church this morning. Thousands and thousands and tens of thousands.” For, the priest had just read in the prayers of the liturgy: “Therefore with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven we laud and magnify thy glorious name, evermore praising Thee. It was the Communion of Saints in action! ~ fatheralexander.org

…Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~ St. Matthew 28:20

Inexpressible Wonder

Our Garden’s Rosa Tropicana (Warm Coral) & English Lavender

It’s been said we may catch glimpses of the Holy Trinity’s Mystery more readily through the temple of our hearts, rather than by using our ineffective, logical minds. Beholding the beauty of God’s Creation – whether in the garden, or a child’s smile, quite simply takes my breath away. When our Heavenly Father already gives us countless aesthetic blessings to delight in, one can’t help but wonder… if this is just earth… how much more beauteous will our Heavenly Home be?! Amen!

You see the Trinity if you see love. ~ Blessed Augustine

Master how could I describe the vision of Your Face? How could I ever speak of the ineffable contemplation of Your Beauty? How could mere words contain One Whom the World could never contain? . . . suddenly You appeared from on high, shining greater than the Sun itself, shining brilliantly from the heavens down into my heart .. . . . What intoxication of the Light! What swirlings of fire! ~ St. Symeon the Theologian hymn

One thing have I desired 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 behold the beauty of the LORD and to enquire in his temple. ~ Psalm 27:4

Frēond

An Affinity of Apple Blossoms Vie in Tandem for Sunshine

The Old English word frēond is the source of the word friend – which means to love, like, honour, to set free from slavery or confinement.

On the flip side of the coin, the Old English word  fēond, (frēond WITHOUT an “R”) meant fiend an enemy, foe, hater, reviler, devilish. These two completely opposite Old English words are separated by just one letter, as they continue today in modern English.

Throughout my life and like most people, I’ve experienced the many degrees of kith and kin friendships – including affinity of neighbours, classmates, acquaintances, and coworkers. But, I’ve found the most true, meaningful, and lasting of friendships are those rooted in a deep, spiritual bond. Our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ unites us in understanding and purpose… To help us grow together toward the Light… To help us Bloom and acquire the Fruits and Gifts of the Holy Spirit… To help us become the friends of God. What a Friend we have in Jesus! His Amazing Love never changes! Thank you Oh most Holy Trinity our God! Glory be to Thee!

God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or any else could love, and even more than we are able to love ourselves. ~ St. John Chrysostom

A faithful friend is beyond price, since he regards his friend’s misfortunes as his own, and suffers with him, sharing his trials until death. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. ~ Proverbs 18:24

The genuiness of a friend is shown at a time of trial, if he shares the distress you suffer. ~ St. Thalassios the Libyan

Concern yourself only that you have God for a friend, and do not be afraid of anything. Behold, He is your only friend Who loves you without change. ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovich

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