Praise From the Heart

Let your mind wonder, but keep your heart with God. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Blessed is God who uses corporeal objects continually to draw us in a symbolic way to a knowledge of God’s invisible nature. O name of Jesus, key to all gifts, open for me the great door to your treasure-house, that I may enter and praise you with the praise that comes from the heart. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian

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!

Heart and Soul

Image by Cheryl Holt from Pixabay

A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life; and those who fear the Lord will find him. ~ Sirach 6:14-16

Spiritual Friendship means we are deeply rooted by heart and soul- with each other through Jesus Christ, the Theotokos, and all the Saints.

Faithful Friends cultivate a mutually thriving, inner stillness of soul, as we walk along Life’s Path together. They are Dearer Than the Light of Heaven!

With Love and Gratitude to my precious Friends in Christ. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes on my Saint’s Day today!

A hearty congratulations in Spirit, to Julia on our shared Saints’ Day. May God grant all your petitions according to your salvation!

As Earthen Vessels

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7

We are all containers; sometimes of the Light, sometimes of the Dark. ~ Gerontissa Gabrielia

These Treasures

Purple Heath (Heather) and Snowdrops (Candlemas Bells, Fair Maids of February) Dot the Neighbourhood

The only requirements of our soul are righteousness, holiness, truth, love, mercy, meekness, peace, spiritual freedom, or the grace of God in the heart. These treasures give life to our whole being, and are eternal. ~ St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ)

Reflections of Living Water

Scripture Art Photo by Irena

May the living water of the Holy Spirit fill my heart, and may rivers of living water flow from my heart to the glory of God… The only requirements of our soul are righteousness, holiness, truth, love, mercy, meekness, kindness, peace, spiritual freedom, or the grace of God in the heart. These treasures give life to our whole being and are eternal. ~ St. John of Kronstadt

Drink Holy Water as often as possible. It’s the best and most effective medicine. I say this not as a bishop, but as a doctor, from my experience in medicine. ~ St. Luke of Simferopol

Clutter

High water mark on local beach, with a vibrant collection of organic debris.

Seek what suffices, seek what is enough, and don’t desire more. Whatever goes beyond that produces anxiety not relief: it will weigh you down instead of lifting you up. ~ St. Augustine

A true person with all his energy, spiritual first of all, struggles to simplify life, to understand what he lives by. Man wants to and must fight to get out of the maze… with all his temptations. A person who makes the purpose of his life the accumulation of property and money is a weak person, he is a victim of the evil one. Having acquired wealth, he gains the fear of losing them, becomes not their master, but a thoughtless guardian of the false treasures… Instead of keeping the word of the Lord, which is the essence of life, he keeps the fake treasures… and thus betrays himself…. ~Archimandrite Justin Parvu

The condition of our surroundings often seem to reflect our state of mind.

I lie here in corners, trussed and piled so high, And in chests I am locked so fast, I cannot stir; in packs low I lie. ~ says ‘Goods’ to ‘Everyman’ (from Everyman: a 15th century English morality play)

Is an item useful? Does it bring glory to God? Does the memory associated with this item instill simplicity of beauty and peace within my Christian home? There is indeed a spiritual benefit… of quiet calmness, which permeates a clean and orderly home.

For indeed, a house is a little church… ~ St. John Chrysostom

Who Keepeth

The Met Cloisters 2017

One should not seek among others the truth that can be easily gotten from the Church. For in her, as in a rich treasury, the apostles have placed all that pertains to truth, so that everyone can drink this beverage of life. She is the door of life. ~ St. Irenaeus of Lyons (130 – 202 AD) Against Heresies, III.4

When you doubt in the truth of any person or any event described in Holy Scripture, then remember that ‘all Scripture is given by inspiration of God,’ as the Apostle says, and is therefore true, and does not contain any imaginary persons, fables, and tales, although it includes parables which everyone can see are not true narratives but are written in figurative language. The whole of the Word of God is single, entire, indivisible truth; and if you admit that any narrative, sentence, or word is untrue, then you sin against the truth of the whole of Holy Scripture and its primordial Truth, which is God Himself. ‘I am the truth,” said the Lord; ‘Thy word is truth,’ said Jesus Christ to God the Father. Thus, consider the whole of the Holy Scripture as truth; everything that is said in it has either taken place or takes place. ~ St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

Our Little Nativity Crèche

Published in Home For the Holidays issuu magazine November 25, 2022 (page 16)

Treasures of Christmases Past

Opening boxes of Christmas ornaments is like greeting old friends again. They’re all special, inspiring, and priceless.

Included in our treasure troves are two tattered cardboard circles, with glittery bits of Christmas cards glued to the greasy back of a pizza box. In my mind’s eye I see our toddlers deep in concentration, their puckered little mouths moving rhythmically to each opening and closing of the blunt scissors… a testament to earlier times when sparse finances and homemade adornments were inspired through necessity.

A Queen’s Guard Soldier lies cupped in the palm of my hand. Although his paint is faded, he stands ever at attention as a wooden clothes peg. Our daughter made him in kindergarten, and the threaded loop through his skewed black pom pom hat disintegrated ages ago. He will be stationed on a tree branch, propped up beside the inevitable paper plate sprinkled with dried macaroni, and spray painted gold.

My mom’s embroidered blue bird roosts next to the dainty satin butterfly from my mother-in-law.

Meanwhile, the Three Wise Men bauble our 7 year old hand-sewed himself, is whimsically suspended near a flock of his origami pterodactyls.

At the top of the tree, reposing beneath a chipped Christmas Star is the large, red, paper angel-card my husband made for me the first year we dated. Although the angel wings have long since curled up at the edges, the sparkly Merry Christmas card greeting remains divinely intact.

Of course we own a few store bought decorations. One of which was a gift, a little Christmas Crèche. Although it wasn’t something we’d have bought for ourselves, this sweet little manger scene with animals quickly joined the cherished seasonal entourage.

In keeping with the situation, the Crèche is reverently displayed on top of our piano… despite the fact that one of the sheep’s plastic legs was completely gnawed off by our teething son (who, coincidentally, later became vegan).

Decades later, the precious little lamb continues to defy the law of physics and nobly stands guarding the manger crib, along with the pristine ox, and donkey.

To me, he’s much more than a simple 3-legged plastic lamb.

He’s an unsung model of hope and perseverance in adversity.

God bless us, everyone!

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