Kinship of Creation

Scene from recent walk – ship sailing through diamonds.

When the night is dark
the stars shine brighter
here and ev’rywhere

The dawning Dayspring
connects all His Creation
through the Created

Flora, fauna, earth,
air, water – in us, in them –
a sacred kinship

What a beautiful day the Lord has provided!

May His glorious, Gladsome Light beam on you

And through you

Reflecting all the way

To the other side of this amazing world!

With love in Christ.

Holy Wisdom’s Water of Love

Exotic Heliconia Rostrata, the Hanging Lobster Claw Flower ~ Kauai 2023

Greetings on the Holy Mandylion Feast Day!

If you do not shatter and empty your Ego, how will you make room for God?… God’s gifts to us blossom only if watered with the water of Love… Those who love can do only beautiful things. ~ Gerontissa Gavrilia

Let us unfurl our thirsty roots and drink deeply from Holy Wisdom’s salvific Springs of Living Water.

May our hearts Blossom Forth choosing happy, beautiful, Songs of Joy and gladness today!

There is Always Hope

Kayaking Into Diamonds – Strait of Juan de Fuca

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

On a recent holiday we watched a kayaker glide rapidly along a sea of glass, seemingly unaware of having passed through a brilliant, sparkling corridor of sunbeams. Suddenly, they reversed course and came to a contemplative standstill, drinking in the glittering vista. Then they paddled forward, into the Golden Avenue of dazzling diamonds dancing on the water… and were swathed in Light.

The Best Flower of All

Our Garden – 2004

When the garden of your soul is full of thistles (passions), do not try to uproot them, for as long as you concern yourself with them you will always end up being injured and infected by germs. Concentrate all your energy on the flowers of your soul, water them and then the thistles will wither themselves. And the best flower of all is your love for Christ. If you water this and it grows, all the thistles will die off. ~ St. Porphyrios

Holy Unmercenaries & Physicians

A late-blooming November Passion Flower rests on an Icon depicting (some of) the Holy Unmercenaries and Wonder-Workers.

It’s a blessing how everyone has access to the saints – which, of course include the Holy Unmercenaries! Over the ages, and through their heavenly intercessions, countless people have been healed by God.

We are also very blessed to have the earthly aid of medical professionals! What a special calling it is to do what they do! On both sides of my family there have been doctors and nurses, and as they tended to the needs of others, I’ve seen how much they loved their work.

During recent personal observation of other dedicated specialists and doctors, I’ve had a renewed, and deeper appreciation of how God guides the medical profession.

It’s a joy to see these amazing people who especially shine their brightest during exhausting, trying times of overwork and short staffing… to save and make such positive differences in people’s lives. May God reward all their efforts!

The Lord created medicines from the earth, and a sensible person will not hesitate to use them. Didn’t a tree once make bitter water fit to drink, so that the Lord’s power might be known? He gave medical knowledge to human beings, so that we would praise him for the miracles he performs. The druggist mixes these medicines, and the doctor will use them to cure diseases and ease pain. There is no end to the activities of the Lord, who gives health to the people of the world. ~ Wisdom of Sirach 38:4-8

Having placed all their hope in the heavens, the saints laid up for themselves a treasure which cannot be stolen away; they freely received, and freely give healing to the infirm. Following the Gospel, they acquired neither silver nor gold, but bestowed benefactions upon both men and beasts, that, obedient to Christ, they might pray with boldness in behalf of our souls… Boundless is the grace of the saints, which they have received from Christ. Wherefore, their relics continually work miracles by the power of God, and their names, when invoked with faith, heal incurable illnesses. Through them, O Lord, free us also from the passions of soul and body, in that Thou lovest mankind... – Ever having Christ working within you, O holy unmercenaries, ye work wonders in the world and heal the sick. For your healing is an inexhaustible wellspring: drawn from, it floweth in abundance; and poured out, it gusheth forth, flowing every day in great quantity, granting healing to all, yet remaineth undrained. And those who draw forth from it are filled with healing, yet it remaineth full… Curers of incurable sufferings who heal all and have received this gift from Christ the Saviour, Who granteth great mercy unto us. ~ From the Services to Holy Physicians

Prayer for Help and Healing (shared by a friend – from their priest):

O Lord, Thou lovest (name) more than I do,
And Thou canst help (name) better than I,
And Thou knowest better than I what is profitable for (him)(her).
So do for (name) what is best- only save (him)(her)
.

Another Prayer for the Sick.

Song of Bread

He who asks to receive his daily bread does not automatically receive it in its fullness as it is in itself: he receives it according to his own capacity as recipient. The Bread of Life (cf. St. John 6:35) gives Himself in His love to all who ask, but not in the same way to all; for He gives Himself more fully to those who have performed great acts of righteousness, and in smaller measure to those who have not achieved so much. He gives Himself to each person according to that person’s spiritual ability to receive Him. ~St. Maximos the Confessor

The Lord promised to send the Comforter. (St. John 16:7), Who should join us to God. For as a compacted lump of dough cannot be formed of dry wheat without fluid matter, nor can a loaf possess unity, so, in like manner, neither could we, being many, be made one in Christ Jesus without the water from heaven. And as dry earth does not bring forth unless it receives moisture, in like manner we also, being originally a dry tree, could never have brought forth fruit unto life without the voluntary rain from above. For our bodies have received unity among themselves by means of that laver which leads to incorruption; but our souls, by means of the Spirit. Wherefore, both are necessary, since both contribute towards the life of God. ~ St. Irenaeus of Lyons

Garment of the Soul

Altar mosaic, St. Sophia Orthodox Church Canada – from 6th century church detail; St. Vitale, Ravenna, Italy.

Early Christianity frescoes and mosaics show the peacock… a bird of Paradise… a symbol of immortality. Sometimes it stands beside the Tree of Life. The eyes on the peacock’s tail feathers symbolise our all-seeing God. A peacock drinking from a vase signifies a Christian drinking the waters of eternal life. The peacock also represents the cosmos with its tail of many eyes as the vault of heaven, dotted by the sun, moon, and stars. Joyfully associated with the Resurrection of Christ, the peacock sheds its old feathers and grows newer and brighter ones each year.

What is dying? It is as if putting off a garment. For the body is about the soul as a garment; and after laying this aside for a short time by means of death, we shall resume it again with more splendour. ~ St. John Chrysostom

We see the water of a river flowing uninterruptedly and passing away, and all that floats on its surface, rubbish or beams of trees, all pass by. Christian! So does our life. I was an infant, and that time has gone. I was an adolescent, and that too has passed. I was a young man, and that too is far behind me. The strong and mature man that I was is no more. My hair turns white, I succumb to age, but that too passes; I approach the end and will go the way of all flesh. I was born in order to die. I die that I may live. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom! ~ St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

The agony of dying is the effort made by the soul to free herself and run towards the Lord. ~ Gerontissa Gavrielia

But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery, And their going from us to be utter destruction: but they are in peace. For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality. And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself. As gold in the furnace hath he tried them, and received them as a burnt offering. And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble. They shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign for ever. They that put their trust in him shall understand the truth: and such as be faithful in love shall abide with him: for grace and mercy is to his saints, and he hath care for his elect. ~ Wisdom of Solomon 3: 1-9

Fragrance of Humility

As with the appearance of light, darkness retreats; so, at the fragrance of humility, all anger and bitterness vanishes. ~ St. John Climacus

Humble-mindedness will bring all the virtues. ~ St. Anthimos of Chios 

What salt is for any food, humility is for every virtue… Not every quiet man is humble, but every humble man is quiet. ~ St Isaac the Syrian

God gives us His Grace, when we are humble… If the grace of God comes, everyone and everything changes; however, in order for it to come, we must humble ourselves first. ~ Elder Porphyrios

…reading and spiritual knowledge are good, but only when they lead to greater humility…  ~ St. Peter of Damaskos

God descends to the humble as waters flow down from the hills into the valleys. ~ St. John of Kronstadt

Meekness and humility of heart are virtues without which it is impossible to inherit the Heavenly Kingdom, to be happy on earth, or to experience inner calm. ~ St. Anthony of Optina

Seek God daily. But seek Him in your heart, not outside it. And when you find Him, stand with fear and trembling, like the Cherubim and the Seraphim, for your heart has become a throne of God. But in order to find God, become humble as dust before the Lord, for the Lord abhors the proud, whereas He visits those that are humble in heart, wherefore He says: “To whom will I look, but to him that is meek and humble in heart?~ St. Nektarios of Aegina

The Christian needs two wings in order to soar upward and attain Paradise: humility and love… Humility consists, not in condemning our conscience, but in recognizing God’s grace and compassion. ~ St. Kosmas Aitolos

The natural property of the lemon tree is such that it lifts its branches upwards when it has no fruit, but the more the branches bend down the more fruit they bear. Those who have the mind to understand will grasp the meaning of this. ~ St. John Climacus

Just as water and fire cannot be combined, so do self-justification and humility exclude one another.  ~ St. Mark the Ascetic

Mid-Pentecost

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!

Wellspring of Wisdom

Hawaiian stream flowing to ocean – 2014

Christ is Risen!

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? ~ Psalm 42:2

Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation. ~ Isaiah 12:3

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit. ~ Jeremiah 17:7-8

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. ~ St. John 4:13-14

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. ~ St. John 7:37

Truly He is Risen!

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