The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 41

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I recall being at the Monastery of Sambata de Sus Monastery in Romania and concelebrating at a Holy Liturgy with seven other priests. Even though I do not speak the language, except for a few words, I understood the whole of the Liturgy and felt a unity in the Holy Spirit; it was as if I was hearing the Holy Eucharist in my own language. I can truly say that experience was not unique, I have felt that same mystical knowledge and full participation of worship in Greece. Our Parish itself is a little Pentecost composed of people from all over the world. The whole experience of worship is permeated with the Holy Spirit’s presence whose gifts and fruits we enjoy.

 

1 John 4:16

….. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

 

This is The Holy Spirit’s gift and His language is love.

 Deconstructing the tower of Babel

 

Genesis 11

The Tower of Babel

 1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 

 3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” 

 

“Let’s scale the heights and take the lights 

of the firmament.

We’ll call the tune and pocket the moon.

Come on! let’s grab the Sun and that being done

We will be called great!

Let’s create another state by

 Storming heaven’s gate and gain control.”

 

 From below…the bright “hello”

 Led to a sad “goodbye.”

The smile became a rueful sigh.

And people asking why?

And who are you?

What did you say?

That once friendly question where

is met by a beleaguered stare!

From nostalgic then to…. tell us when?

The change from common sense

 to non-sense came because of man.

What was his plan?

 To build a tower and to steal God’s power!

 

Much later in an upper room, 

Diners seated round a table

Take bread and wine,

  And as they are able

  De-construct the tower of Babel.

 God initiates a conversation

His language: love, for every nation.

And from above that which was lost

Is found, and invested with a Pentecost!

 

 A soldier asked Abba Mios if God accepted repentance. After the old man had taught him many things, he said, “Tell me, my dear, if your cloak is torn, do you throw it away?” He replied, “No, I mend it and use it again.” The old man said to him, “If you are so careful about your cloak, will not God be equally careful about his creature?” 

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The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 40

Beggar

Dobri Dobrev

Amos 8: Swallowing the needy

I remember a holy priest from many years ago when I was a student at University in
the North of England. His Parish was in a very poor part of the city. He had a warm
heart, a generous spirit, a cheerful disposition and showed great concern and pastoral
care for his parishioners. He would light the fires of the elderly on winter mornings.
He would do shopping for the housebound and if needed buy food for the poor. Often,
in place of buying oil for heating the Church, he would give the money to the
homeless and to charities. Not many attended the Church.

Dobri Dobrev3
I recall one winter morning we were freezing in Church at the morning service: the
boiler had broken, as usual, and our feet were like blocks of ice. Father B. always
advised the small congregation to put on two or three extra layers of clothing. We
were hoping the sermon would not be long- it wasn’t!
As he was starting the homily, suddenly from under his vestments clouds of steam
like incense started to arise! Somehow the hot water bottle that he had secreted around
him, had burst.
After rescuing the good cleric from his sudden and untimely sauna, we dried him with
a towel and he continued to serve at the altar. His rather appropriate sermon text was
from the Prophet Amos5:24:

Dobri Dobrev4
“Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like and ever flowing stream.”
Rich men are rarely remembered but those who show compassion, joy, mercy,
righteousness, justice and love, their memory is unto eternity.
4 Hear this, you who swallow up the needy,
And make the poor of the land fail,
5 Saying:
“When will the New Moon be past,
That we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
That we may trade wheat?
Making the ephah small and the shekel large,
Falsifying the scales by deceit,
6 That we may buy the poor for silver,
And the needy for a pair of sandals—
Even sell the bad wheat?”
7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
“Surely I will never forget any of their works.

Woe to you who make mammon great and mercy small
Who today eat the apple of financial Fall
Who use the Sabbath to plan and cheat the more
Whose deeds white heat the flaming sword at Eden’s door!

Ah the flaming sword! You see there is no way back;
Not until you renounce excess and recognise the lack
In your brother’s life.
When will the market open so to satisfy our greed?
When again gratify desire and passion feed?
Poor men have no names, the heedless suffer fools to dream
Whilst God places at the East a bar – the Cherubim!
Oh the Cherubim! Whose faces guard four ways,
Affording plutocrats no bliss in all the days
of their little, mortal life.
They will rue the moments when they made mammon great.
When they closed their hearts to love and welcomed hate
They chose the serpent’s wiles over heaven’s gifts, too late
Espy eternal treasures through the guarded gate.
Alas the gates to Paradise! Are to some locked tight
Who choose outer darkness, the world’s whirlwind, an endless appetite
for their future life.

And God still looks at the rich through the needle’s eye
And walks in the garden and calls with a sigh
He sews with this needle those garments of need
And God still loves Adam and all of his seed.

Oh the love of God a garment of light, a consuming fire
Depending upon Whom, what and where lies our consuming desire
In this life.

Dobri Dobrev5

“Wealth … is like a snake; it will twist around the hand and bite unless one knows
how to use it properly.”
Clement of Alexandria, “The Instructor,” 3.6.34

For more about Dobri Dobrev, go here , here, here  and here

ENCOUNTERS WITH SAINTS

Saint Philothea of Thrace, Protectress of Romania
I grew up in a house where we did not have icons, none that I can remember, and where we did not talk much about God, the Theotokos or saints. My grandmothers taught me to say a few prayers and took me to church on a couple of occasions.
As I grew up, icons started to enter our house, but by then I was a very rebellious teenager so did not make any friends among the saints. When I moved to Lancaster, although I always had faith, I brought no icons with me. In fact, I felt a strange opposition to having traditional icons in my room or in my house later on. A streak of rebellion and ignorance in fact made me hide away in a drawer the icons which I received for my wedding. It is very painful to remember this and the fact I actually damaged one of them by accident. A friend told me then to make sure I keep the icons because when the time was right, I would treasure them.
A few years later, I started feeling guilty about having the icons hidden away and put a cou-ple up in my bedroom. I was still unsure about it, but it started feeling wrong to have them in a drawer. They were just one of Christ and the Theotokos.
Then… the saints started arriving. And I dis-covered that saints are tenacious and come into your home uninvited. If you refuse to welcome them, they will knock again and again. And every time I had a slightly unkind thought about a Saint, they came to befriend me. I am a constantly reluctant and continuously repentant friend of saints as the few stories which follow will tell. I felt that, being such an unworthy and sinful lover of Saints, I had to talk about them, so other people might come to know them a little better and love them a little more and I would like to hear other people’s stories of saints, so my circle of holy friends may grow.
Saint Filofteia
First came Saint Filofteia (or Philothea). I had never heard of her and did not invite her. It was a gift from Father Bogdan when he visited Lancaster about 13 years ago. I myself thought is was an unusual icon to be bringing, but it immediately struck a chord with me because Filofteia was the name of my grandmother who first talked to me about God and Christ and taught me to say a prayer before bed. So many times in my child-hood and growing up, I thought it was a very strange name. It seemed to me at the time old and old fashioned, from a different era and I had often thought that I had never met anyone else by that name and mused on how her parents had come up with it. And how foolish I was, since her name means lover of God in Greek.
As the icon of Saint Filofteia arrived and was temporarily placed in the kitchen, where it still is, overlooking the hub of activity of the house, I started reading about the Saint. Another thing which resonated with me was the fact that her rel-ics are to be found in Romania at the monastery Curtea de Argeş, where my other grandmother always wanted us to go on a trip. Sadly, we never made it because she passed away. But Saint Filofteia makes me remember my two grand-mothers with great affection and gratitude for the seeds of faith they planted when I was a child. But beyond that, as I read about her brief life, I felt such love for the little saint who lived at the be-ginning of the XIII century in Trnovo modern day Bulgaria. She was born in a family of peasants. Filofteia’s mother was a pious woman and taught her to read the Scriptures, fast and pray. She often went to church. Sadly, her mother died when she was only young and her father remarried. Her stepmother disliked the child and her piousness, but Filofteia continued in her Christian upbringing, despite constant beatings and scoldings. She had a very compassionate heart and gave every-thing away to the poor and the hungry. One of her daily duties was to take her father’s lunch to him in the fields where he was working. But on the way, she saw some hungry children and, as was her habit, gave them some of her father’s lunch. Her father saw her and became so angry that in a fit of rage he threw his axe at her and killed her on the spot. She was 12 years old. Immediately repentant, he tried to lift the body but was unable to move it and he was further terrified by the fact it shone with a white light. He ran to the city and came back with the local archbishop and many people. They all marvelled at how the body shone and read prayers and glorified God.
It is not entirely clear when her relics arrived in Romania, but most likely they were taken over the Danube for protection during the Turkish invasion of Bulgaria around 1393. The saint is revered both in Romania and Bulgaria and her feast day is the 7th of December. She is the protectress of abused children and children in general and many are the miracles attributed to her, especially for the sick.

By Alexandra McC.

Kandylakia: History and Traditions of the Roadshine Shrines in Greece

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The small roadside shrines scattered here and there, along the curvy roads in Greece, are an important part of the Greek culture.

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History and Traditions of Kandylakia

During any trip to Greece, travellers come across, photograph and wonder about these shrines. Known as kandylakia the roadside shrines are usually made of wood, stone, metal or concrete. Clearly visible on the edges of the narrow winding mountainous roads, they commemorate the lives both lost and saved.

Over the years, in the farthest mountainous villages that can only be reached through narrow dark roads — many tales of frightening rides have been recounted over and over again. The challenging terrain marked with these shrines gives the traveler a sense of caution and an opportunity of spiritual reflection.

Some of these shrines are as old as the roads, built in the middle of nowhere with a flame of a candle burning inside.

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Kandylakia are emblems of an old tradition which is greatly valued in most of the households and very much preserved until this day.

Unique characteristics of the roadside shrines

Although road accidents are mostly the reason for placing these shrines –a driver soon learns to assess the danger of a particular turn simply by calculating the number of Kandylakia,  3, 4 or 5 !!!! –on numerous occasions they are placed as a promise and a gesture of thankfulness. They celebrate miracles and those who survived dedicate a kandylaki to their patron saint. Another reason for these shrines is a way to indicate that there is a monastery or church in vicinity especially in less populated areas where the church might be completely out of sight.

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Some churches which are located far away from the villages are now being locked up to protect them from theft. In such cases, small proskynitaria are erected in front of the church to allow the worshippers to light a candle and to say their prayers.

If you admire them closely, you will notice that every shrine has an icon of a saint. Sometimes, there is even more than one kandyli which is a floating wick oil lamp, flowers and personal items. It is a custom that every anniversary relatives and loved ones pay a visit to the shrine which draws upon the ecclesiastical tradition. This tradition represents the Greeks outlook on religion, family ties, remembrance of family history, culture and finally fate. These unique roadside shrines are there to remind us to appreciate every second and every opportunity to be alive.

Roadside-shrines-in-Greece-4-2

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Sources: Fly me to the Moon and Messy Nessy Chic

The Suicidal Church, in Body or in Spirit

Archimandrite Gregorios Estephan

Archimandrite Gregorios Estephan, Abbot of Holy Dormition of the Theotokos Monastery, Bkeftine, Lebanon

A most poignant, sobering and timely warning. Your prayers and your thoughts.

A few excerpts:

We ask with honesty, was there no other way or a dispensational solution, taking into account all the health measures, to face this pandemic, without closing the Churches and surrendering to a collective spiritual suicide?

Going to Church during pandemics, temptations, hardships and persecutions does not mean that we are tempting God as if we are inviting something to befall us, but rather, by this, we are saying to Him that we walk with Him in Faith, revealing that what we need the most is to be with Him during these very afflictions, united with Him in His Body and Blood, in order to confront this pandemic and the dangers of disease, as well as all of the other catastrophes awaiting us. When Christians, during major persecutions and communism, risked their lives to go into the catacombs and gather around the Lord’s table, it was an expression of their loving Christ more than themselves, an expression of their knowledge that true life exists within this Eucharistic table, and not in their bodies.

Today also, if we do not stand up to this current pandemic by prayer, supplication and repentance, and more importantly, by holding Divine Liturgies, and receiving the Body and Blood of Christ which frees us from eternal death, what should we confront it with? By running away and isolating oneself?

The Church faced the consequences of sin through such firm Faith and by strengthening piety in the souls of her members. … Christians, in prisons and mines during exile, perceived in depth their great need to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, so their priests used to celebrate the Divine offering on the breasts of the faithful; the breast of the faithful became an altar for God.

We are in a time when we need the Body and Blood of Christ, more than at any other time, in order to be nourished and to receive the strength to resist every evil and disease. Although we know that, by God’s permission, we can fall sick due to this pandemic, but the faithful who becomes ill and continues his struggle in the Church and his participation in its Mysteries, is like a soldier in the battle arena resisting all evil, not by his own strength, but by the power of the salvific gift of Redemption. Does the one who partakes of the Body and Blood of Christ, knowing that it is the true food for eternal life, think of bodily death anymore? The death of such person therefore resembles the death of Martyrs.

Why is everyone silent in front of all these evils and perversions that are afflicting the Church of Christ and disorienting its mission of the salvation of mankind? Do those speaking with such an unlawful enthusiasm in support of the Church closures have such a zeal for the purity of the Orthodox Faith? Would they be as zealous in applying the Church Canons as they are to submit to the laws of the nations?

The end of the world will come, not when the antichrist becomes strong, but when the Church becomes weak (Archbishop Sergei Baranov).

If the strength of the Church exists in her Mysteries, and especially in the Mystery of the Eucharist, then her weakness, rather her death, is found in the interruption of these Liturgies.

We must also consider that since the Church has surrendered so easily because of this pandemic, even unto the closing of her doors, what is she going to do when the Antichrist comes? Do any of us ask this question?

The interruption of these Liturgies, although temporary, is nothing but a sign among the signs of the end of times. Concerning the latter days, Saint Ephraim the Syrian (of the fourth century) reveals that: “the Churches will pathetically weep for the holy services will cease to take place in them and there will no more be Eucharistic oblations”[9]. The Church of Christ which is ever strong and victorious over Satan, sin and death, and concerning which the Lord promised that the gates of Hades shall not prevail over her, is submitting that simply? Does not this reveal its weakness and the fragility of its earthly journey?

For the complete article by Archimandrite Gregorios Estephan, Abbot of Holy Dormition of the Theotokos Monastery, Bkeftine, Lebanon, go to Orthodox Ethos, a website by Father Peter Heers I wholeheartedly recommend for all its podcasts, interviews and articles

 

Archangel Michael Monastery in Pella

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The monastery of Archangel Michael is a precious and invaluable adornment of the whole region.

Its rich and long history, its national and religious offer, its imposing bearing and the frescoes of the interior of the temple, distinguished by the unique sweetness in the faces, as well as realism in its movement, its revival and its upward course tends to highlight it in one of the largest pilgrimages of Northern Greece, as its surrounded by rich flora and fauna.

Tradition wants the Monastery to be built on an ancient sanctuary dedicated to the Artemis hunting goddess due to the rich flora and fauna of the area.

Today it is proved, by documents that are saved in the Holy Monastery of the Greatest Lavra of Mount Athos, and by elements of the previous century, that it was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. From various documents, such as the “Chrysoboulos Logos” of Alexios Komnenos, published in 1082, it seems to have existed since the 11th century as a glebe land of the Greatest Lavra of Athos.

Regardless of the above, it remains a fact, that one and a half centuries after the restoration of the Monastery, it is dedicated and has its protector and guide Archangel Michael. In fact, in 1858, the monastery was rebuilt with a charter of the Sultan, and was renamed this way, because the monastery was burned on September 6th, the day of the Miracle of Archangel Michael at Chonae, and as a sign of gratitude by many residents of the area, who survived harmless on the day of destruction by certain death. In 3/1182, the monastery of Greatest Lavra, founded a glebe in the form of a regular monastery in the village of Hostiani (today’s Archangelo).

The monastery of Ossiani until the 18th century has a lively presence in the area, to the point where it founded a subsidiary monastery at the foothills of Voras outside the village of Promachi. The monastery is Saint’s Hilarion, Bishop of Moglenoi. The monastery was besieged by the Turks in the 18th century. The Turks decimated the monks and burnt the monastery, while a one of them escaped alone, and gory beetled along to the Great Monastery.

The danger to the monastery was great. At the same time, the inhabitants of the current village of Notia adopted the religion of Muslim. At that time, took also place the tragic incident of the burning of the Monastery, by the neophyte Muslims, who also destroyed the surrounding building facilities. The homesteads, the fields and the forests, were destroyed and the pastures were granted to new owners, and the neighbors and the animals of the Monastery were dispersed.

Desolation lasts more than half a century, but already in 1858, with the permission of the sultan, the burnt monastery is reconstructed, and Valis of the Vitolioi returned the land that had been appropriated. From now on, an economic robustness began and the monastery provided dynamic assistance to the region’s poor. The monks undertook initiatives in the fields of education, moral support and national orientation of Karatzova.

The 19th century is one of the cruel times of Turkish slavery. Nevertheless, the Monastery of Archangel Michael is a robust presence in the northern Almopia. Inside this hive of the monks and ordinary people, the cells were transformed into hidden school rooms. The children were taught the ancestral wisdom and the ancient Greek letters. So, returning to their place, they became priests or teachers.

In the high mountains of Jena and Koziaka, a generation of young patriots was manned. The same period of time, was surrounded by violence and terror, and the propaganda of Bulgarians and Romanians contributed to this. In the Macedonian struggle the Holy Monastery was the center of Hellenism and the stronghold of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

As for its national offer, many brave chieftains were dressed as monks, led by Archangel Michael, to encourage and guide the Macedonian men and the frightened inhabitants of the region. A typical example, is the brave chieftain Captain Matapas who, with the nickname Papa Christos and based in the Monastery of the Archangel, organized rebelliously the region of Aridaia and Goumenissa of Kilkis.

Other brave chieftains used the Monastery as a base and hideout, such as George Kakoulidis, Nicholas Vlachos and Emmanuel Skountris, who won victories against the Bulgarians at Promachoi.

For some decades the monastery was a chapel of the parish of the village of Archangelos. Today the Monastery operates with a cenobitic rite. The rhythm of the temple is a three-aisled basilica and its walls are one meter thick. The katholikon of the temple is painted by frescoes of folk painters from Krousouvo.

Indeed, the most famous frescoes are scenes from the martyrdom of Saint Chrisi and the hagiography of Saint Hilarion, Bishop of Moglenoi, which is unique throughout Greece. Finally, the miraculous icon of Archangel Michael is preserved.

The monastery

The surrounding hills

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 38

cave

AGIA SOFIA’S CAVE, CRETE

Christ is Risen!

The man who lived in a cave

Some years ago, one hot summer day whilst on holiday in Crete, I visited with friends a small Church, high up on the top of a mountain. Near to the Church was a man who lived in a cave. On visiting him he showed us around his “house.” His bed was a smoothed rock shelf and another flat rock for a table. Above the “table” was an oil lamp and Holy Icons of the Saviour and the Mother of God.

Outside, he had two or three goats, a few chickens, a small plot of land with a clear stream of water running through it. I recall that the bees at the time were drinking from the stream.

“Don’t you miss out on things? one of our company enquired of the man.

“No, I have everything I need, I have milk and honey, I have eggs and freshwater to wash and drink and I can always exchange a few eggs for bread in the village.”

“What about the scorpions, aren’t you afraid of the scorpions?” one of our party asked.

“ There are scorpions,” he said as he shrugged his shoulders, “but I don’t bother them and they don’t bother me!”

Example 2

A shabbily dressed man walked into a publisher’s office in Moscow. He took from his greatcoat a rather tattered manuscript and enquired whether it could be published? The publisher glanced dismissively at the manuscript and seeing the man’s dishevelled appearance said that he had no time to read it.

“Really? “said the man “I must have been misinformed, I am told that people like to read what I write.”

“ Indeed” said the publisher, his curiosity being aroused by this response “….and so who are you? What is your name?”

“My name?” as he collected his papers and stuffed them back into his overcoat, “my name is Leo Tolstoy.”

The publisher felt rather foolish and started begging for the privilege to publish. The eccentric genius quietly withdrew making his exit from the publishing office.

 

The wisdom of God

1 Corinthians 1:23

But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,”

1 Corinthians 4:10-11

10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonoured! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.

Who can contain the wisdom of the Wise?

Count loss as gain in faith-filled eyes.

Where is the key to unlock uncreated Light?

In constant prayer of day and night!

What target Heaven’s arrows and guided darts?

The simple minds, the humble hearts!

 

Who brought life to the Virgin womb?

He who emptied a stone-cold tomb!

Wisdom dwells in fools for Christ.

Power of God the Great High Priest

Who came in flesh to save the least.

Brightness of the Father, Pre-existent Word

The natal earth her ears first heard.

Who conceived creation? Wisdom from above!

Holy fools reflect His image… Love.

Who can contain the wisdom of the Wise?

In repentant sighs the one who dies… to self.

When Abba Macarius was into Egypt, he found a man who had brought a beast to his cell and he was stealing his possessions. He went up to the thief as though he were a traveller who did not live there and helped him to load the beast and led him on his way in peace, saying to himself, “We brought nothing into this world; but the Lord gave; as he willed, so is it done; blessed be the Lord in all things.”

My love and prayers

 

Eν Χριστώ

 

From Poland With Love

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This morning in the kitchen whilst watching Matins on Skype and baking cookies with children, I had unexpected guests. At the time I was listening to beautiful “Blessed are Thou O God teach me Thy statutes” by Dmitry and Father, when I realised a stag and a doe (?) appeared in front of our window! Roughly twenty meters from our house. After gasping, I thought they have come for Typica! The Stag stayed for the Gospel whilst the female went for a walk. Enjoy the photos! 

Christ is in our midst!

Marta

The Monastery of Panagia Agrilia in Sami, Kephalonia

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Dear friends in Christ

Christ is Risen!

I forward some beautiful photos of the Monastery of Panagia Agrilia in Sami, Kephalonia with the permission of  A.S. I know the place well. The little chapel that you see is not the main monastery but next to the old tower. The little place to the right under the tree is where St Kosmas Aitolos preached. The Fresco inside shows St Ephraim and St Panagis -the local saint of Lixouri whose relics I have carried in procession and which emit great fragrance.

My prayers

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Two more photos. I think the path featured in the first photo is the one to the  fictional and purpose built village featured in the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. The second photo is of the old tower next to Agrilia Monastery with lovely spring wild flowers.

Sami 1Sami 2

Eν Χριστώ

A Joyous Pustinnyk

 

PS. One of the faithful was asking about the saint on the fresco in the Chapel at Agrilia in Sami Kefalonia from the photos. He is the “other saint” of Kefalonia, the most well known being St.Gerasimos. He is St Panagis Bassias of Lixouri. Feast day 7th June. you can read about his life on  “Mystagogy”at  johnsanidopoulos.com

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The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 25

White-horse-in-the-sea-waves
Christ is Risen!

Animals have a sensitivity that is quite remarkable. I know someone who is blind who has a guide dog. The dog is not only obedient to its master and disciplined to knowing what it should do but is sensitive and even anticipating the needs of its master. It is known that a dog’s acute sense of smell is sensitive to human emotion, anxiety and depression and has the ability to detect ailments and disease. Horses too can read human facial expressions. They possess a gift that can distinguish human mood.

St. Columba his blessings and the white horse. ( part 2 of2)

The white horse which had pulled the wagon for the saint to bless the Island of Iona came to Columba and laid its head on the saint’s chest. It began to whinny and cry. It seemed to know that the saint was ill. One of the monks wanted to take the horse away but St Columba refused: “Let him alone, for he loves me. Let him pour out his tears of grief. You are a man with a rational soul….but this dumb creature, possessing no reason* has been told by the Creator Himself that I am about to leave him.”

 His World

 

Matthew 6:28: “So why do you worry about clothing?

 Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow they neither toil nor spin.”

 

 

God’s creation is too beautiful for the worldly-wise,

            It takes the simple, humble mind to stand in awe with open eyes.

The abundance of God’s goodness needs an inner sight and trained,

To wonder at His Universe requires that we have gained;

A sense of veneration for his order and his splendour.

We require a loss of pride and a willingness to surrender,

To gain discernment in our search for beauty and exercise of choice.

We need to listen carefully at that inner, still, small voice

That prompts us to select the best,

And with the angels and the saints attest,

The omnipotence of God in His creation,

The crowning of a Holy Nation,

Dedicated to participation

                    In His world.

We are indeed the stewards of this earth

Called to cherish and conserve that which is of worth.

Illuminate our sight, dear Lord, so that we may grow in grace

Mirrored for a season until we see You face to face.

Working in our clay-bound bodies, a consequence of sin

Resting rarely to consider lilies that neither toil nor spin.

The earth is far too beautiful for the worldly-wise

It takes a simple, humble heart for the soul to rise

Upwards to the heavens, inspired by love

                    For His world.

 

 

 

Amma Theodora

Amma Theodora said, ‘Let us strive to enter by the narrow gate, Just as the trees, if they have not stood before the winter’s storms cannot bear fruit, so it is with us; this present age is a storm and it is only through many trials and temptations that we can obtain an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.’

The same Amma said that a teacher ought to be a stranger to the desire for domination, vain-glory, and pride; one should not be able to fool him by flattery, nor blind him by gifts, nor conquer him by the stomach, nor dominate him by anger; but he should be patient, gentle and humble as far as possible; he must be tested and without partisanship, full of concern, and a lover of souls

 

*The word for horse in Greek is άλογο which means non-speaking or without logic or reason.

 
 
Eν Χριστώ