Festal Blessings of the Heart

Veneration of the Cross, Third Sunday in Great Lent, coincided this year with the set Feast of the Annunciation, on April 7th. The Precious Cross was decorated in traditional red colours… using roses and carnations. However, and alas, even after scouring the grocery store, there was no fresh basil (also traditional to use when decorating the Cross) to be found. So, from our garden, fragrant pink pieris japonica and white viburnum were added.

Yesterday, the morning sun danced and blazed brightly on my face. I closed my eyes to bask in its warmth.

Antiphonal chirps and trills of birdsong resounded. At the raucous cry of a seagull overhead, I opened my eyes and smiled at the added ambience.

Not to be outdone, budding catkins nodded vehemently over the top of the pergola, each fuzzy leaflet highlighted with a tiny halo of luminous, Gladsome Light. I desperately wanted to run and grab my phone camera to catch this breathtaking beauty… but knew the special light would change in a second or two, and I would forever lose the moment – without being in the moment. I took a picture instead… with my mind’s eye, and can see this sight even now as I type. I hope to remember it forever.

From the porch roof, remnants of raindrops stubbornly clung as lustrous, pearly, stalactites, until they chose to let go. Their occasional drips echoed as muffled percussion on the patio flagstones below, perfectly complimenting the surrounding avian symphony.

And the trees! With branches lifted skyward as if in supplication, they swayed and danced with expressive abandon (as only trees can in a festal morning wind)… kicking up their rooty heels with joy!

Stop. Look. Listen with your heart. Let it dance with the trees, in joy and gratitude at God’s Creation!

Let all the trees of the forest dance and sing, as they behold their fellow-tree, the Cross, today receiving veneration: for Christ, as holy David prophesied, has exalted it on high. I died through a tree, but I have found in thee a Tree of Life, O Cross of Christ. ~ Sunday of the Cross, 8th Ode

God is everywhere present and fills all things! The Three-Branched Cross of Christ is Life!

Alleluia and Amen!

Pining For the Green

Kilauea, Kauai ~ July 2023

Whoever plants a tree, plants hope, peace, and love and has the blessings of God. ~ Elder Amphilochios of Patmos (Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit)

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

It’s that time of year again!

February brings
keen yearnings for the verdant
em’rald greens of spring.

Tiny tentative
tight fuzzy fronds of patience
cling to hopeful vines.

Tired of deciduous difficulties… it’s with faith and hope that we can patiently await the eternal, spiritual springs of God’s help!

In Purple Pastures

Summer Solstice Strolling through Lavender Fields… a testament of nature praising God! ~ Image by Melania

O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth… O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness… and let the earth be glad… Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice. ~ Psalm 96:1, 9, 11, 12

Make peace with yourself, and both heaven and earth will make peace with you. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian

Sometimes… just standing in a garden is enough.

With joy and love in Christ.

O Precious Paradise

Detail of parish Creation Mosaic with scenes from Genesis, and the Expulsion From Paradise ~ Genesis 3:23-24

…O ranks of angels, O beauty of Paradise and all the glory of the garden: weep for me, for in my misery I was led astray and rebelled against God. O blessed meadow, trees and flowers planted by God, O sweetness of Paradise: let your leaves, like eyes, shed tears on my behalf, for I am naked and a stranger to God’s glory. No longer do I see thee nor delight in thy joy and splendour, O precious Paradise…. ~ Canticle 4, Sunday of Forgiveness

…O Paradise, share in the sorrow of thy master who is brought to poverty, and with the sound of thy leaves pray to the Creator that He may not keep thy gate closed for ever. I am fallen, in Thy compassion have mercy on me… ~ Ikos, Canticle 6 – Sunday of Forgiveness

God Forgives and Blessings Abound!

Today is the day before Great Lent begins, and we celebrate with making Blini Crepes or Pancakes to use up the last of any dairy. If you’re already a plant-based person, these Vegan Blini are simply delicious, and easy to make!

Congratulations on your Saint’s Day Zoe! (Feb. 26/13) God grant you many years!

Autumnal Reflection

Image by Sven Lachmann from Pixabay

Whoever plants a tree, plants hope, peace, and love and has the blessings of God. ~ Elder Amphilochios of Patmos

A subscriber inspired today’s post and most of the following is in her words. She shared that autumn is her favourite time of year, and when walking in the nearby woods, she can’t resist picking up leaves to take home and photograph – there’s so many beautiful colours! They’re a good reminder of how things are on this side… being beautiful for a time, but then fading and ending up on the compost heap sooner or later. Those brilliant, glowing leaves, give us a glimpse of a beauty that is eternal, and what awaits us on the other side

Thank you M. in Denmark!

As Trees of the Wood

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

Let us strengthen our roots by unfurling our prayers!

…let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein. Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because he cometh to judge the earth. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. ~ Chronicles 16:34

Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary. ~ Psalm 28:2

Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. ~ Psalm 63:4

Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. ~ Psalm 85:11

Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. ~ Psalm 123:1

For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.~ Isaiah 55:12

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

…All things become opportunities for us to be joined  more closely with everything and everyone. They become occasions for thanksgiving and prayer.  Live in the midst of everything, nature and universe.  Nature is the secret Gospel. But when one does not possess inner grace, nature is of no benefit. Nature awakens  us, but it cannot bring us into Paradise. ~ St. Porphyrios (Wounded by Love)

September Yearnings

Image by brigachtal from Pixabay

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice ~ Psalm 96:11-12

Each September, and like clockwork – I literally ache to travel somewhere… anywhere… if only for a few days.

New destinations are required to be off the beaten track. They must include either deserted peaceful beaches backed by pristine nature, or jaunts to lofty mountains nestled by mysterious woodland streams.

Internal summonings such as these are particularly hard to resist, especially with wild geese flying overhead to distant warmer climes.

Today I’m a bit torn between completing weekend chores or planning an upcoming jaunt. With God’s help, I can do both, and manage to be back in plenty of time to celebrate the wonderful upcoming September Feast Days! [Nativity of the Theotokos (September 21/8) and Exaltation of the Cross (September 27/14)]

We shall see what opportunity God provides. And if not this year, then God willing, maybe a mystery tour next year!

Meanwhile, the end of summer beauty abides close to home. Bees buzz busily on patio flowers, and briny ocean breezes beckon. Joyful birdsong abounds everywhere.

This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. ~ Psalm 118: 23-24

These warm, and hazy September days bring my favourite poem to mind. I hope you enjoy it too!

I Meant to Do My Work Today

I meant to do my work today –
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand –
So what could I do but laugh and go?

~ Richard Le Gallienne (1866-1947)

This poem is in the public domain.

Sprigs of Prayer

Thriving in Son Shine!

A drop of prayer is worth more than a sea of worrying. ~ St. Nikolai Velimirovic

There is no need at all to make long discourses, it is enough to stretch out one’s hands and say, “Lord, as You will, and as You know, have mercy.” And if the conflict grows fiercer say, “Lord, help!” He knows very well what we need and He shows us His mercy. ~ Abba Macarius

Since God is continuously present, why do you worry? For in Him we live and move. We are carried in His arms. We breathe God; we are vested with God; we touch God; we consume God in the Mystery. Wherever you turn, wherever you look, God is everywhere: in the heavens, on the earth, in the abysses, in the trees, within the rocks, in your nous [eye of the soul], in your heart. ~ St. Joseph the Hesychast

Lord, I do not know what to ask of You. You know better than me what my needs are. You love more than I know how to love. Help me to see clearly my real needs which I do not see. I open my heart to You. Examine and reveal to me my faults and sins. I put all trust in You. I have no other desire than to fulfill Your will. Teach me how to pray. Pray in me. Amen. ~ Prayers For All Occasions

Cascades of Blessings

Image by falco from Pixabay

The Lord loves us so dearly that it passes all description. Through the Holy Spirit alone can the soul know His love, of which she is inexpressibly aware. The Lord is all goodness and mercy. He is meek and gentle, and we have no words to tell of His goodness; but the soul without words feels this love and would remain wrapped in its quiet tranquility forever. ~ St. Silouan the Athonite

Do not say, ‘This happened by chance, while this came to be of itself.’ In all that exists there is nothing disorderly, nothing indefinite, nothing without purpose, nothing by chance… How many hairs are on your head? God will not forget one of them. Do you see how nothing, even the smallest thing, escapes the gaze of God? ~ St. Basil the Great

That green leaf on the tree which you needlessly plucked – it was not wrong, only rather a pity for the little leaf. The heart that has learned to love feels sorry for every created thing. ~ St. Silouan the Athonite

Wishing you Peace and Joy!

In the Joy of His Creatures

A Harris Hawk, seeking her food from God.

Greetings on the Feast of the Holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon! To this very day, and through his holy prayers and healings, he’s been very helpful with family and friends!

When God, who is absolute fullness, brought creatures into existence, it was not done to fulfill any need but so that his creatures should be happy to share his likeness, and so that he himself might rejoice in the joy of his creatures as they draw inexhaustibly upon the Inexhaustible. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

He will cover you under his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. ~ Psalm 91:4

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? … St. Matthew 6: 25-34

My rejoicing heart has taken flight!

One of my most favourite birds in the worlda falcon, flew to – and landed on my gloved arm (several times)!

My wonder-cup brims and runneth over with spiritual delight and gratitude to God – for allowing me the honour and privilege of interacting with these wild and majestic creatures… A day I’ll always treasure and remember.

Thank you God, for your Gift of Nature!

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