It’s Always Our Choice

Quietude at a Vigil Service

We all receive God’s blessings equally. But some of us, receiving God’s fire, that is, His word, become soft like beeswax, while the others like clay become hard as stone. And if we do not want Him, He does not force any of us, but like the sun He sends His rays and illuminates the whole world, and he who wants to see Him, sees Him, whereas the one who does not want to see Him, is not forced by Him. And no one is responsible for this privation of light except the one who does not want to have it… ~ St. Peter the Damascene

A Bow From the Heart

Absolutely nothing quenches the passions as much as compassion… If thou wilt endure an offensive word, then thou hast extinguished an ember. But if thou wilt think about it, then, like someone kindling a fire, thou wilt produce smoke, which is confusion. However, one can conveniently extinguish it too by silence, prayer and a bow from the heart. ~ Venerable Dorotheos of Gaza

Growing in Good Soil

It had been planted on good soil by abundant waters, that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble vine. ~ Ezekiel 17:8

And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.  Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.  Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  He who has ears, let him hear.’ ~ St. Matthew 13: 3 – 9

And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. ~ St. Mark 4:8

And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold. As he said these things, he called out, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ ~ St. Luke 8:8

As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. ~ St. Luke 8:15


Cat caught napping amid ancient Church Ruins in Thyatira (Western Turkey) – 2004

In the New Testament Book of Acts, we meet Lydia of Thyatira who was a business woman and a seller of purple. She and her household had moved to Philippi and converted to Christianity after meeting the Apostle Paul. Acts 16:13-15;40. Further along in the Acts, we read of Paul and Silas’ miraculous release from a Philippi prison Acts 16:16-40. They returned to stay with Lydia and her family briefly, before continuing along their journey.

Thyatira was an ancient Greek city and important cloth trade centre famous for its dyeing facilities. Thousands of marine snails were collected and boiled for days in gigantic vats, producing vibrant purple pigment for fabric.

Since apostolic times, Thyatira had been home to a significant Christian church, and was mentioned as one of the Seven Churches in the Book of Revelation.

The Christian community continued there until 1922, when the city and surrounding areas were captured by the Turkish army resulting in the deaths and deportations of thousands of Christians. (Most of the deportees also died in harsh conditions.) A church in Thyatira, harbouring about five hundred souls seeking sanctuary, was set on fire. May God rest their souls with the saints!

No operational church or Christian community remains in Thyatira, and the official name for the city changed to Akhisar.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. ~ Isaiah 40:8

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Nativity scene painted on an oyster shell, from a dear friend.

Today the Creator of Time – the Timeless One – the Unoriginate – has a Beginning.

Today – the Word becomes Incarnate.

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Greetings on the Joyous Feast of the Holy Nativity of Jesus Christ !

He was a Baby,
He was a Child,
So that you might be a
Perfect person;
He was wrapped
In swaddling clothes,
That you might be
Loosed from the snares of death;
He was in a manger,
That you might be
In the altar;
He was on earth,
That you might be
Among the stars.
He had no place at the inn,
That you might have
Many mansions in the Heavens.
~ St. Ambrose of Milan 339-397 A.D.

This day He who Is, is Born; and He
who Is becomes what He was not.
~ St. John Chrysostom 347-407 A.D.

Christ is born; Glorify Him! Christ comes from heaven; meet ye Him! Christ is on earth; be ye exalted! O all the earth, sing unto the Lord! And sing praises in gladness, O ye people, for He hath been glorified! ~ An ancient hymn composed by St. Gregory the Theologian (329 AD – 390 AD)

Greetings on this first day of Christmastide!

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