The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 24

 

the nine muses

Χριστos ἀνέστη!

I love singing. When I was a little boy, I sang in a Church choir which I joined of my own rather stubborn and precocious will. It was through singing about Christ and to Christ that I came to know Christ. Blessed Augustine said:“ To sing is to pray twice!” I know many who would agree!

Although I have an eclectic taste in music, I often relax by listening to J. S. Bach and if in “party” mood to Vivaldi!

Shoes made of Turf ( part 2 of 2)

As he walked (on his Iona-Turf shoes)towards Armagh, St. Columba sang his old songs and many people came out of their homes to listen to him and followed him all the way to the Bishop’s House. The Bishop was displeased to see the saint and said that he did not like the bards because they conveyed the Gospel stories in their own words in song. St Columba replied that the bards sang from the heart and they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bishop could make no answer, but, seeing the large crowds listening with such enthusiasm to Columba’s singing, let the saint and the people go on their way.

Nine Daughters of Memory

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Louvre-Les_Muses_sarcophagus_Louvre_MR880

Louvre, The Nine Muses Sarcophagus

The old lady sat in her chair musing on past times with her daughters:-

 

Kalliope

“Do you remember your holiday report, my dear?

The story told in stoic, epic verse

How your heroic deeds the battle won

The dragon slayed to end the curse.

 

Hope from despair by words alone set free

Your voice and pen gave vent to certain harmony.”

 

Klio

“Do you recall the lyre lessons and the speeches that you gave?

That concert that you played on Parnassus Mount.

Plucking from history well-worn strings

Strumming the tune of truth’s account.

 

You made famous those who went before

Those close to home and those on distant shore!”

 

Euterpe

“Do you honour in verse the hymn you used to sing;

To please the congregation of your choice?

Do you still play the flute and entertain

The crowd and encourage them to rejoice.

 

Such happy days, it still brings a smile

To ponder on your grace and style.”

 

Erato

“Do you bear in mind the love letters that once you wrote

When you were young and words were rare?”

The playful lines you loved to quote

In summer’s heat, when scent of roses filled the air.

 

Your dark eyes still claim the other’s sight

Like piercing arrows of the night.

 

Melpomene

“Do you salute the mask you cherish of pretence?

Your life that hides the other you, ere long

Of celebration in the midst of tragic circumstance

And tears that flow with melodious song.

 

The knife, the club, the boot, the mask

Would answer all I need to ask.”

 

Polymnia

“Do you recollect the serious tones you taught?

From solemn spur and gravest revelation

The whispered sacred silence that you sought

Which led eloquence itself to echo in elation.

 

Praises cannot cloak or veil your name

Your works have earned immortal fame.”

 

Terpsichore

“Do you celebrate in dance those shows of such delight?

Your movement midst the chosen nine

Seated, waiting for a chance to flirt

With twirling skirt amongst the chorus line.

 

Does knowledge of the arts still spring from Helicon?

If music guides your feet my sweet, dance on.”

 

Thalia

“Do you memorise the jokes you used to tell?

  I didn’t see you with your entourage!

 The verdant flourishing of your comic dress

Midst clowns that offered camouflage.

 

Your crown of ivy, wearing boots

You climbed the heights from humble roots.”

 

Urania

“Do you honour the heavens and thank God for gifts?

 Raise the eyes of others to celestial height from naught

Majestic beauty and grace behold that which lifts

 Imagination from the power of rational thought.

 

You used to ponder cosmic birth

The sun, the moon, the stars, the earth.”

 

 

So where now are these daughters?

 Covered by the nymphic waters!

“All at sea” they say,

Where is their poetry today?

Their mother too, it seems, has slipped away.

Memory, it appears, no longer lives

Though joy of culture still forgives

The sins of the secular select:

The cynic, philistine, politically correct,

Who sail upon the fashions’ tide,

Who in sterile towers of greed reside,

and for their own intentions guide

The arts and life in Titanic struggle.

Too few hands, too many things to juggle!

Yet there is to each a time and chance

To rescue life

 -through poetry, music, art and dance.

 

Ὁ βίος βραχύς,
ἡ δὲ τέχνη μακρή,
ὁ δὲ καιρὸς ὀξύς,
ἡ δὲ πεῖρα σφαλερή,
ἡ δὲ κρίσις χαλεπή.
Hippocrates (c. 460 – c. 370 BC)

“Ars longa vita brevis”― Hippocrates

Full quote:

“Ars longa,
vita brevis,
occasio praeceps,
experimentum periculosum,
iudicium difficile.

Life is short,
[the] art long,
opportunity fleeting,
experiment dangerous,
judgment difficult.”

― Hippocrates

Music doth withdraw our minds from earthly cogitations, lifteth up our spirits into heaven, maketh them light and celestial. (St John Chrysostom)


With the famous image of bees that gather from flowers only what they need to make honey, Basil recommends: “Just as bees can take nectar from flowers, unlike other animals which limit themselves to enjoying their scent and colour, so also from these writings … one can draw some benefit for the spirit. We must use these books, following in all things the example of bees. They do not visit every flower without distinction, nor seek to remove all the nectar from the flowers on which they alight, but only draw from them what they need, to make honey, and leave the rest. And if we are wise, we will take from those writings what is appropriate for us, and conform to the truth, ignoring the rest” (St Basil” Ad Adolescentes” 4).

 
 
Eν Χριστώ

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 23

serving the orthodox mission in madagascar

Serving the Orthodox Mission in Madagascar

 

Christus resurrexit! 

Hospitality is a most prominent social feature of our Orthodox Christian Faith. It is impossible for me to visit my spiritual children and friends in Greece, Cyprus or Romania without being showered with the most lavish hospitality. This, of course, involves the most generous portions of delicious food and the most delightful company attended by conversation that continues deep into the night. Despite my best efforts and most fervent protestations about the quantity of food when serving, I invariably return home a kilo heavier!

 Before every meal, the food is blessed and in my experience, there is always consideration for others who may benefit from the generous provisions remaining. I know that at this time many of our Parishes are distributing food to the poor, the elderly and the isolated. Glory to God!

 

St. Columba, his blessings and the white horse: (Part 1 of 2)

 

Weary with old age Saint Columba in early May 597 was taken around the Island of Iona on a wagon drawn by a white horse. When he saw his monks working in the field he would stand up and bless them. Whenever he saw cattle or sheep grazing he would stand up and bless them. He also blessed the wild animals and birds that he saw. After this, he went to bless the contents of the barns. He was pleased to see them full and said: “If I have to depart from my family, I shall carry with me the knowledge that they have ample food for the coming year.”

 

The Meal 

 

Matthew 25:42:” Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”

  

“What a meal!” the Abbot said

on the feast of St.Wilfred.

“You excelled yourself this time dear brother!”

“The lamb was perfect, like no other.”

“The wine was good too, sweet and red

Better even than the bread.”

“Who was that unexpected guest,

Who appeared at once with all the rest?”

“I’ve no idea” the monk replied

“But I’ve a feeling that he tried

To take some food out to the poor

I saw some beggars at the door. “

“He’ll not come back I’ll see to that

I’d rather feed the kitchen cat.”

He will come back one day you know

To judge all people high or low

And let us pray it’s not too late

To help the one who’s at our gate

The invitation to the heavenly feast

Depends on how we treat the least!

 

 

“Prayer, fasting, vigil and all other Christian practices, however good they may be in themselves, do not constitute the aim of our Christian life, although they serve as an indispensable means of reaching this end. The true aim of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. As for fasts, and vigils, and prayer, and almsgiving, and every good deed done for Christ’s sake, they are only means of acquiring the Holy Spirit of God”- St Seraphim of Sarov.

 
 
Eν Χριστώ

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 22

orthodox pilgrims climbing

Hristos a înviat!

 

From my little chapel in my front room, I never serve the Divine services in slippers! Somehow, although this would be more appropriate and comfortable, it seems rather casual and disrespectful; so I always put on my clean shoes as I would as in Church! I’m sure no one would notice my feet under my cassock, but I know, and I know that all things should be done in order as the Apostle Paul reminds us.( 1 Corinthians 14:40) To dress correctly befitting the task is something that we should not easily dismiss. It was good to see some of the gentlemen wearing ties at Pascha!!

I remember mountain walking in Transylvania with my spiritual brother and some students some years ago- a variety of inappropriate footwear seemed the fashion- trainers, sandals and even grandfather’s old brown brogues, but no walking boots! Needless to say there were some very sore feet at the end of each day.

 

  St Columba and the shoes of Turf. ( part I of 2)

In the early Church in these islands with few writing materials, the Gospel was often conveyed by singing bards. A message came to St. Columba (who was also a singing bard) that the leading Bishop in Ireland had outlawed this practice and that” he was not to set foot on the Island of Ireland!” St Columba remembering how many had been converted on earlier missions by singing the Gospel stories decided to go back to Ireland but in order not to contravene the Bishop’s instructions he cut and took two turfs of soil from Iona with him on the boat. On reaching Ireland he tied these two turfs to his feet!

Mountain Walking in Transylvania

Summer 2003

Matthew 7:14: “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way

which leads to life ,and there are few who find it.

The climb was hard following the track

It tired the legs and wrenched the back;

Clearer and lighter was the air

Greater and slower was the care.

In which we made our way.

The thin line of friends began to spread,

Like a spider’s hoary thread

On the mountain climb together

Stretched in love for one another.

As we walked the way

Stopping often to refresh and rest,

To view the scene, to pray, to jest,

To share a thought, to catch a sigh

To marvel at the birds on high.

As we walked His Way.

Our destination now in sight,

We summon up our little might,

To reach the summit and the goal

With all our heart, mind, strength and soul.

With Him who is the Way.

 

What toil we must endure, what fatigue, while we are attempting to
climb hills and the summits of mountains! What, that we may ascend
to heaven! If you consider the promised reward, what you endure is
less. Immortality is given to the one who perseveres; everlasting
life is offered; the Lord promises His Kingdom.

St. Cyprian 

 
 Eν Χριστώ

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 21

flying kite

Greeks Fly Clean Monday Kites as Lent Begins. For Greek Orthodox Christians, Clean Monday marks the beginning of the 40-day fast before Easter; tradition dictates that the faithful start abstaining from eating animal products and fly a kite. … And the higher the kite goes, the closer the person comes to God.

Remember the little things – Day 21

 

Tha Crìosd air èiridh! 

 

As a small boy, I treasured three things that were given to me as presents by my parents: a globe of the world, a gyroscope and a kite. These possessions in their own way held within them a mystery.

To try to comprehend the vastness of the world spinning in space and the wish to travel to exotic-sounding places held a great attraction.

 To try to comprehend the spinning gyroscope that defied gravity held a deep fascination and wonder.

 To try to keep a kite flying in the skies brought a delightful joy but was a great test of patience for a small boy.

Of the three, the thrill of holding on to the strings of a kite was perhaps the most challenging and exciting. It was difficult enough to get the kite off the ground, let alone keeping it soaring, turning and flying in the sky. It is difficult to catch the wind whilst holding on to the strings, but with practice and years brings a certain technique and skill.

Prayer too takes lots of practice and hard work until we find ourselves soaring aloft with joy. We need to hold on tight to the strings of doctrine whilst allowing the wind of the Holy Spirit to keep us flying.

“ The soul of the Christian needs to be refined and sensitive, to have sensibility and wings, to be constantly in flight and to live in dreams, to fly through infinity, among the stars, amidst the greatness of God, amid silence.” St Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia.

 

Nettle soup ( final part 3 )

St Columba, having given instruction that the monks should also consume the fine nettle and milk soup, the cook had now to prepare large amounts in the cauldron. Within a short time, the cook had no milk and had to confess his disobedience to the saint. After a moment of surprise, St Columba burst into laughter saying “It is God’s joke against me. It was my pride that persuaded me to tell others of my diet.” After this, the saint ordered that all monks should eat nutritious meals.

 

The Kite

 

John 3:8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

  

Look upward to the sky

And allow your wings to fly

Upon the glorious breath of God

In the sunrise of your youth.

Soar swiftly with an eagle’s strength,

Measure the height, breadth, depth and length.

Reach heavenward, dear son by the sacramental

strings on earth,

Hold firm to the lifeline and anchor of new birth.

Let the Holy Spirit lift you high

And allow your wings to fly

Upon the glorious breath of God

In the sunrise of your youth.

 

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 Amma Syncletica said, “In the beginning, there are a great many battles and a good deal of suffering for those who are advancing towards God and, afterwards, ineffable joy. It is like those who wish to light a fire. At first, they are choked with smoke and cry, until they obtain what they seek. As it is written, “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:24); so we also must kindle the divine fire in ourselves through tears and hard work.”

 
 
Eν Χριστώ

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustynnik — 20

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Christ is Risen!

The Light shines in the darkness

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Some of the Epitaphios flowers are still fresh. Holy Water revives them.

 

Our enforced lock-down gives one the opportunity to call others, to send texts and forward emails. It is always lovely to hear from people, especially the ones you haven’t heard from in a long while. Amidst the sad statistics, it is good to hear pieces of good news which bring hope and encouragement as well as to share one another’s burdens. Perhaps God has given us this time to teach us patience and attentiveness; to listen more to His Word and to the words of others, to hear what the other is saying without the busyness of distraction. We should always take care of course what we hear and discern that which is good from that which is evil. The Welsh have a saying, “Gossip, is the devil’s mailbag!”

Messages lie at the very heart of the “good news” of the Gospel. We repeat in this season of Paschal Joy “Christ is Risen!” It has become a greeting as well as a proclamation.

Nettle soup (part 2)

On hearing the message that the Saint (Columba) was to eat only nettle soup, the cook was rather concerned about such a poor diet for his master. He thought to himself; “I will add some milk!” So he hollowed out the stick used for stirring soup and through it he secretly poured the milk. St Columba ate the soup and ordered that all the monks should follow his example and have this tasty soup. (Part three next time!!)

myrrh-bearing women

The Message

 

Luke 24:9 “Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven

and to all the rest.”

 

Early in the morning with the sorrow that they shared

The women set out with the spices that they had prepared.

 

They came to the place where he was laid, the stone was rolled away

Expecting only death, they found an empty tomb at the break of day.

 

Perplexed and troubled at this scene, two angels then appeared

The women bowed their faces to the ground as they were afeared.

 

The angels in bright garments addressed the myrrh bearers and said:

“Why is it so that you seek the living among the dead?”

 

Remember how he spoke to you of how the Son of Man would die

There is no reason for your presence here, nor need for you to cry.

 

Did he not say that this would come to be at the hands of sinful men,

How he would be crucified and on the third day rise again.

 

Go proclaim the good news to the eleven and to others who will listen,

That Jesus Christ who died upon the Cross has today arisen.

 

 Glory be to the Risen Lord!

 

Faith and love which are gifts of the Holy Spirit are such great and powerful means that a person who has them can easily, and with joy and consolation, go the way Jesus Christ went. Besides this,  the Holy Spirit gives man the power to resist the delusions of the world so that although he makes use of earthly good, yet he uses them as a temporary visitor, without attaching his heart to them. But a man who has not got the Holy Spirit, despite all his learning and prudence, is always more or less a slave and worshipper of the world. 

St. Innocent of Irkutsk, Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of  Heaven. 

 

My love and poor prayers

Eν Χριστώ

 

 

 

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustynnik — 19

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Christ is Risen!

 I have in my collection a rare stone- it is from the Island of Iona. It is not precious in terms of monetary value but extremely precious in terms of faith. It comes from the Island where St Columba had his monastery and from where he launched his missionary journeys to Britain in the 6th.century. At the age of eight years of age, I visited the Island and the Monastery with my parents and collected a few of the distinctively green and white mottled pebbles from the beach (which you are not allowed to pick today.) It is rather beautiful how the roaring of the waves and tumbling of the rocks has smoothed the rough edges of the pebbles. Perhaps likewise we too will have our sharp edges smoothed by the storms and tides that beset us in these days.

Nettle soup ( part 1)

There is a story that on one occasion the saint (Columba) was going to the island cemetery to pray over the graves, when he saw an old woman cutting nettles. On enquiring why she was doing this, the old woman informed him that she was waiting for her cow to come into calf so that she could have milk; so until then she was living on nettle soup. St Columba thought that if the woman could have only nettle soup in expectation of a calf, he could have nettle soup in expectation of the Kingdom of Heaven.

nettle-soup-

The Mathematical Bridge*

“The stone which the builders rejected

Has become the chief cornerstone.”

Psalm 118:22

 

Mathematical_Bridge_Cambridge

 

Unhewn, estranged, indifferent,

Inactive, confused and alone;

The fire of the Spirit breathes movement

Forms shape into coarse living stone.

 

We will make a bridge together

We will cross the wat’ry divide,

Following Christ the God-man

Mystically at His side.

 

Beholding Mount Zion’s Vision,

Viewed from a Silver street,

Paved in ruby, topaz and beryl,

There, would-be disciples meet.

 

Turquoise, emerald, jacinth

Agate and amethyst glow

Chrysolite, onyx and jasper

Reflect on the pavement below.

 

Hope adds to the seeker’s salvation

Faith multiplies joy in the heart.

Love’s dividend shares the sorrow

Subtracts the self-seeking part.

 

We will break down walls of division

We will tread where saints have trod;

In fellowship as pilgrims

To build the City of God.

 

Holy Triangulation-Cross examination

Points to the One unknown.

The stone which the builders rejected

Has become the chief cornerstone.

 

Circled by thousands of angels

Assembled around and above;

Living Stones brought together

As beautiful bridges of love! 

 

Such is friendship, that through it we love places and seasons; for as bright bodies emit rays to a distance, and flowers drop their sweet leaves on the ground around them, so friends impart favour even to the places where they dwell. With friends even poverty is pleasant. Words cannot express the joy which a friend imparts; they only can know who have experienced. A friend is dearer than the light of Heaven, for it would be better for us that the sun were exhausted than that we should be without friends.  St John Chrysostom

 

*The so-called Bridge crosses the River Cam in Cambridge, England.

 

Eν Χριστώ

 

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustynnik — 18

easter flowesr

Atgyfododd Crist! Remember the Little things #Day 19 

Like Flowers of the Bible

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The beautiful flowers that I received from the sisters last week are beginning to fade but the phlox are still giving off their natural fragrance in the chapel. However, the bluebells in my back yard are profuse as is the mint and thyme in my little herb garden. Even the Basil bought from the supermarket long before lockdown has taken on a deeper hue of green and more intense aroma. I recall some years ago when one of our Post Graduate Parishioners at University had a Basil plant that grew to over one metre in height because he watered it with Holy Water.  I have also a beautiful Basil Cross that one parishioner gave to me- busuioc romanesc- even dried it has such an amazing distinctive fragrance.

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Each day I feed the plants with a little holy water and ashes from the censer – they respond to this blessing by flourishing. No less should we be like the flowers and flourish with God’s blessings. Like the rich variety of plants, we each have our own distinctive form and beauty in order to give glory to our Creator.

Creation which is usually groaning ( Romans 8:22-24) knows that it is Bright Week and is responding accordingly with effulgent joy.

easter flowers2

Romans 8:22-24

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?

easter flowers3

Like Flowers of the Bible

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever..”

1 Corinthians 15:42

So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.

 

Consider the lilies, how they grow,

They toil not nor spin and yet they sow

Seeds of their own salvation story

 In their Resurrection glory.

Save and Protect us O Lord

 

Rose of Sharon whose most pungent scent

Showers the drought of our discontent,

As blue Iris petal’s waking eye

Sees the Star of Bethlehem die.

Save and Protect us O Lord

 

Crocus and tulip seek the Light.

Cyclamen, Hyacinth both invite

The Holy Guest who with synergy

 Breathes Life upon Anemone.

 Save and Protect us O Lord

 

 Young Narcissus heralds Easter morn.

His bright yellow trumpet greets the dawn

To welcome our Christ and His elect;

“Salute our God!” not self reflect.

 Save and Protect us O Lord

 

The grass it withers, the flower it fades,

Our short lives pass in gladdening shades,

‘Til dust and ashes in the ground

By Love’s great Life-Bestower found.

 Save and Protect us O Lord

 

Like flowers of the Bible, God says “grow!”

Our bodies too through His power will show

That last transfiguring mystery

When raised to immortality.

Save and Protect us O Lord

 

 In love did God bring the world into existence; in love is God going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the great mystery of the One who has performed all these things; in love will the whole course of the governance of creation be finally comprised.

St Isaac the Syrian

My prayers and love

Eν Χριστώ

 

 

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Poustynnik — 17

relics5

St John the Russian

 

Release the relics! Christ is Risen! Day #17

I am blessed with many relics of the saints in my Icon Corner so I am never alone: I am surrounded by a cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1).

We heard the Gospel, John 20:19-25 at the Great Vespers of Love last Sunday, the Sunday of the Resurrection, in eight languages!

The opening verse begins” On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the Disciples were”…….

The doors were shut, yet Jesus came and stood among them and said to them , “Peace be with you!”  The doors to our homes are closed, we are shut in, during this pandemic lockdown state, yet Christ comes to us and enters to bring us His Peace.

 However, in a real spiritual sense, we have to open the door of our heart to Christ.

In the Victorian picture by Holman Hunt “Jesus the Light of the World, “our Lord is pictured with a lantern knocking on the door of a cottage, but there is no door handle on the outside- the door has to opened from inside. Once the Holy Spirit enters into our hearts we become infused with grace and peace.

Since our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit we must realise the consequences of this for all the ages, not just for our life here on earth.

‘Know ye not that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit dwelling in you?’

I Corinthians 3:16.

 Release the relics!

 Ezekiel 37

37 The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”

 

 Such fragments of dust charged by bliss

 Are containers of the Father’s love;

Buried in the fertile soil discovered,

Absorbing truth, exuding faith

Transforming earth through a heavenly kiss:

 Retrieve the Relics.

 

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St John Maximovich

 

 

Whose is their face, their image, seal?

Where the provenance for holy bones?

Who lie beneath false moons, fake stars and Creation’s groans;

Christ is their home, their being and their source

To sing His grace in symphonic tones.

 Relocate the relics.

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 Those precious few who acquired the Light, hard won;

 “He that has the Son has life” we read.

The blind and lame find their way home, following

The plough, that turns the turf to the Sun;

Revive the seeds, reform the rebellious one.

 Re-illuminate the Relics.

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“Can these bones live?” asked God to his exiled flock

 Lifeless in the war strewn sand, upon a human threshing floor

  Prodigal flesh awakes when ground is dug

“He was lost and is found” in a Father’s hug

Time to rewind the mortal clock!

 Reinstate the Relics.

Relics1

Today we seek Elisha’s bones, to find his power,

Iridescent in poor cloth and marrow veiled to

Smell the fragrant odour surfaced;

Share that which imbues a holy residue

Who could resist such a sweet-scented flower?

 Redistribute the Relics.

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St John the Chosevite

A double portion of Elijah’s spirit clings to those who seek

 The Incarnation and the promise of the Christ.

No frame to hold yet by Spirit borne,

These bones yet live

and grant new structures to the weak:

 Restore the Relics.

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St Nektarios Pentapolis

Collect the dust! The Lord it was who shaped us men

Dried up are we, bleached white by the scorching sun

Open the door and let Christ in

And our bones will live again!

Your bones will live again!

 Resurrect the Relics.

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St Dionysios

 Speaking of the miraculous power of holy relics, Saint Ephraim the Syrian relates the following concerning the holy Martyrs:

“Even after death they act as if alive, healing the sick, expelling demons, and by the power of the Lord rejecting every evil influence of the demons. This is because the miraculous grace of the Holy Spirit is always present in the holy relics.”

Eν Χριστώ

 

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Poustynnik — 16

wheet field 2 

Christ is Risen!

Remember the Little things # 16 

 

The Grain of Wheat

 

“The devil is in the detail” is an idiom that is often heard. Omitting to read the small print in a contract may cause you inadvertently to break a contract. Some things may seem simple at first but may take longer than expected. However, one might more properly say that “God is in the detail”, there are mysterious elements hidden within the movements of His Creation. To see the hand of God in the smallest of things takes for a discerning eye. Details,” the small things” have importance because they have intrinsic value at every stage of their growth and application.

I am able, by God’s grace, to leave small fragments of the antidoron for the faithful from the Liturgy celebrated four weeks ago before lockdown!

I remember being at Sambata de Sus Monastery in Romania where there was a wheat field ripe with full grain. One of the pilgrims after the Holy Liturgy took a head of the wheat grains and rubbed them in his hands and blew away the husk and then ate the wheat. The action took my mind back to that occasion in the scriptures when Our Lord’s disciples did the same:

Luke 6

6 Now it happened that on a Sabbath he went through the grain fields, and his disciples were picking and eating the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. 2 But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not permitted on the Sabbath? 3 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you not read this, what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry— 4 how he entered into the house of God and took the bread of the presentation, which it is not permitted to eat (except the priests alone), and ate it and gave it to those with him?” 5 And he said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

prosforo

The Grain of Wheat

Matthew 9:38

 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.”

 John 6:48: “I am the bread of life,……”

  

Salvation is held in that egg-shaped frame of life and energy.

No Pythagorean theory could calculate such perfect symmetry.

 No King but God could make such a realm of beauty and simplicity.

 That grain of wheat will be cut, dried and shaken in humility.

 

The miller will grind it into the flour of heaven, a foretaste of eternity.

 A man will earn his daily bread transporting that potential spirit to distillery.

 Another will take that white dusted remnant to the stores for his delivery.

 The mother will knead and bake the prosphora for the proskomede.

 

Then the Holy Spirit will invest within the Lamb the gift of immortality.

 The priest will give that Bread of Life, the One who died to set us free

 From broken hearts, our redemption from sin and earth-bound misery.

 The faithful stand, take and eat of that most precious Mystery.

 In that small grain, the Lord of the Harvest bestows the ultimate utility.

 

It was said of an old man that he dwelt in Syria on the way to the desert. This was his work: whenever a monk came from the desert, he gave him refreshment with all his heart. Now one day a hermit came and he offered him refreshment. The other did not want to accept it, saying he was fasting. Filled with sorrow, the old man said to him, “Do not despise your servant, I beg you, do not despise me, but let us pray together. Look at the tree which is here; we will follow the way of whichever of us causes it to bend when he kneels on the ground and prays.” So the hermit knelt down to pray and nothing happened. Then the hospitable one knelt down and at once the tree bent towards him. Taught by this, they gave thanks to God.

Saying from the Desert Fathers

 

 

Eν Χριστώ