Today is Pentecost!

"The Christian Pentecost is based on the New Testament where it refers to the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ as described in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1-31."

The above was taken from Wikipedia and you can read the rest of the article here.  But for today, I've chosen, for reflection, the following quotes about the Holy Spirit.  After reflecting, feel free to share some favorites of your own.

 

The power of the Holy Spirit, which is bestowed upon him who loves God and keeps His commandments, does not appear visibly in the form of fire, nor does it come with a loud sound like a violent wind - for this happened only in the time of the Apostles for the sake of the unbelievers. Instead, it is seen spiritually in the form of spiritual light, and comes with all calm and joy."   ~Guide to Byzantine Iconography, Vol. 1, by Constantine Cavarnos

 

“Everything that breathes, breathes by air and cannot live without air; similarly all reasonable free creatures live by the Holy Spirit, as though by air, and cannot live without Him. "Every soul is quickened by the Holy Spirit." Recognise that the Holy Spirit stands in the same relation to your soul as air stands in relation to your body.”    ~St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

We may study as much as we will but we shall still not come to know the Lord unless we live according to His commandments, for the Lord is not made known through learning but by the Holy Spirit.  Many philosophers and scholars have arrived at a belief in the existence of God but they have not come to know God.  To believe in God is one thing, to know God another.  ~ St. Siloun the Athonite

If your tongue is used to chattering, your heart will remain dim and foreign to the luminous intuitions of the Holy Spirit.  ~ St John of Dalatha

 

 

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

“O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who art in all places and fillest all things, Treasury of blessings and giver of life: come and dwell in us, cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O gracious Lord.”

 

 

 

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit!

 

 

and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit!her and to the Son and to the

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Take some time on this day to just sit quietly, ponder on the words of God and His saints - reflect on the wonders of this life and all of creation.

Photo by Edge of the Woods Photogrphy
Photo by Edge of the Woods Photography

 

Take a few moments to reflect upon the words of the saints.

What is grace?  It is the blessed power of God given to he man who believes and who was baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity.  It is the power that cleanses, sanctifies, enlightens, that helps in doing good and withdraws from evil, that comforts and gives courage in misfortunes, sorrows and sickness.  It is the pledge of receiving the everlasting blessings prepared by God in heaven for His Chosen ones.

~St. John of Kronstadt

The soul that loves God has its rest in God and in God alone. In all the paths that men walk in the world, they do not attain peace until they draw nigh to hope in God.

~St. Isaac the Syrian

God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or any else could love, and even more than we are able to love ourselves

~St. John Chrysostom

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Peaceful Reflections

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Take some time on this day to just sit quietly, ponder on the words of God and His saints - reflect on the wonders of this life and all of creation.

 "God in His goodness has granted us to see the sun and its light and allows us to enjoy it.  He will grant us also to enjoy it.  He will grant us also to enjoy His own inaccessible light.  Let the light of the sun be a pledge to us of this, but especially the tranquil light of the holy glory of the Heavenly Father, His only Son given to us, and the spirit of love bestowed upon our hearts."  ~ St. John of Kronstadt

Have you ever looked at the sun and felt God?  Do you notice the glory of His creation and His love in the sunrise and sunset?  Do you feel His love as the rays fall upon your skin, nourishing your health and your soul?  Take a moment next time- look up at the colors of the next sunset and breathe in the air He created to fill your lungs- feel His presence.  Feel His never ending love.

This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  ~ Psalm 118:24
                                                                                    

  When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? ~ Psalm 8:3-4

 

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner

 

Peaceful Reflections
Sun through trees Take some time on this day to just sit quietly, ponder on the words of God and His saints - reflect on the wonders of this life and all of creation.

 

Today's Gospel reading comes from Luke 8:41-56.  It is the story of Jairus and his daughter. The man falls at Jesus' feet and begs him to come help his twelve-year-old daughter who is dying.  As the multitudes gather around Him as he walks to the home of Jairus, a woman with a flow of blood reaches out to touch him. Jesus feels the power of healing go out of him and tells her it is her FAITH that has made her well. At this moment, a messenger arrives and tells Jairus that his daughter has already passed from this life. But Jesus tells Jairus to not fear, but to HAVE FAITH. Arriving at the home, Jesus tells the mourners the child is just sleeping. They scoff at his remark. Yet, just a short while later, the child arises with  vigor!

It was faith that saved the woman with the hemorrhage, and faith that saved the daughter of Jairus.  The power of faith is STRONG.

"Your Lord is Love: love Him and in Him all men, as His children in Christ. Your Lord is a fire: do not let your heart be cold, but burn with faith and love. Your Lord is light: do not walk in darkness of mind, without reasoning or understanding, or without faith."  ~  St. John of Kronstadt

“Just as the blessings of God are unutterably great, so their acquisition requires much hardship and toil undertaken with hope and faith.”~ St. Macarius the Great

"We have very little faith in the Lord, very little trust. If we trusted the Lord as much as we trust a friend when we ask him to do something for us, neither we as individuals nor our whole country would suffer so much.” ~ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica from Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

"The Cross, is wood which lifts us up and makes us great ... The Cross uprooted us from the depths of evil and elevated us to the summit of virtue"
St. John Chrysostom

"Glory, O Lord, to the power of Thy Cross, which never fails! When the enemy oppresses me with a sinful thought or feeling, and I, lacking freedom in my heart, make the sign of the Cross several times with faith, suddenly my sin falls away from me, the compulsion vanishes, and I find myself free… For the faithful the Cross is a mighty power which delivers from all evils, from the malice of the invisible foe."
St. John of Kronstadt

"Do not seek the perfection of the law in human virtues, for it is not found perfect in them. Its perfection is hidden in the Cross of Christ."
St. Hesychius the Priest

 

The Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Life-Giving Cross of Christ  tomorrow, as it is celebrated on September 14 each year.   The epistle reading for the Feast is from 1 Corinthians 1:18-24:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

*NOTE:  (From the Orthodox Study Bible) " Why is the message of the cross foolishness to unbelievers? 'It is a mark of them that perish not to recognize the things which lead to salvation'(John Chrysostom).  We who bear witness to Christ must not be discouraged when those outside of Him mock, for so did one even Paul himself.  Being saved, present tense, refers to the process by which the Cross transforms us with the power of God."

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages! Amen!

Peaceful Reflections.....for those times you just need some quiet time to sit, read a short bit and reflect.

Could the leaves exist without the tree, and could the tree exist without the earth, air, water and warmth?  Likewise no soul can exist without God, without His Son, without the Holy Spirit.  God is my being, my breath, my light, my strength, my drink, my food.  He carries me as a mother carries her infant in her arms.  More than this.  Carrying me, my soul and body, He dwells in me, and is united to me.  ~  St. John of Kronstadt

"If you want cure your soul, you need four things. The first is to forgive your enemies. The second is to confess thoroughly. The third is to blame yourself. The fourth is to resolve to sin no more. If we wish to be saved, we must always blame ourselves and not attribute our wrong acts to others. And God, Who is most compassionate, will forgive us...There is no better teacher than death. Have death before your minds: the time when you will leave this unreal world and will go to the other one, which is eternal."
(Saint Cosmas of Aitolos, 18th Century Greek evangelist)

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold    ~  Psalm 18:2

 

Lord,  Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

 

 

 

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Last week I wrote about how reading some uplifting words of our saints or spiritual fathers can bring peace and reflection for those days I don't have time to sit down and read a whole chapter. I enjoyed the comments from last Monday's Peaceful Reflections and decided to add a few more for this Monday.  Perhaps it will turn into a routine... we'll see!

"Though God knows all our needs, prayer is necessary for the cleansing and enlightenment of our soul.  It is well to stand in the sunshine; it is warm and light; likewise, when standing in prayer before God, our spiritual Sun, we are warmed and enlightened.  It is necessary to wash ourselves from dirt, and prayer is washing ourselves from spiritual filth, that is from sins."   ~St. John of Kronstadt

"Let not one think, my fellow Christian, that only priests and monks need to pray without ceasing and not laymen No, no; every Christian without exception ought to dwell always in prayer."  ~ St. Gregory of Palamas

"He who busies himself with the sins of others, or judges his brother on suspicion, has not yet even begun to repent or to examine himself so as to discover his own sins..." ~ St. Maximos the Confessor

"Do not be irritated either with those who sin or those who offend; do not have a passion for noticing every sin in your neighbour, and for judging him, as we are in the habit of doing. Everyone shall give an answer to God for himself. Everyone has a conscience; everyone hears God's Word, and knows God's Will either from books or from conversation with other people. Especially do not look with evil intention upon the sins of your elders, which do not regard you; "to his own master he standeth or falleth." Correct your own sins, amend your own life."~St. John of Kronstadt

"You heard me when I called, O God of my righteousness.  You strengthened my heart when I was in distress;  Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer."  Psalm 4:1-2

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I enjoy reading books on Orthodoxy.  I should probably write a few book reviews on them to support the reading of my Orthodox followers.  I did write about one in particular a few weeks ago, The Ascetic Lives of Mothers by Annalisa Boyd.  But sometimes I don't have time to read a long book.  Yet I still need the uplifting words of our saints or spiritual fathers.  For those moments, a few short quotes can bring peace to my soul and reflection throughout the day.

"Love every person regardless of his sinful state.  Sin is sin but the basis of a human being is one and only - the image of God."  - St. John of Kronstadt
"Through the prayer, man is cleansed, brightened, sanctified. " -Elder Amphilochios of Patmos

"The first step toward freedom from anger is to keep the lips silent when the heart is stirred; the next to keep thoughts silent when the soul is upset; the last to be totally calm when unclean winds are blowing."   - St. John Climacus

"Leave all human justices to the Lord for God is the Judge.  But as for yourself, be diligent in loving everybody with a pure heart.  You must remember that you yourself are a great sinner and in need of God's mercy.  But in order to deserve God's mercy, we must forgive in every way.  The Lord is everything to all;  He is the Judge as well as the generous Giver of gifts and mercy and cleansing from sins and the light, the peace, the joy and the strength of the heart."   -St. John of Kronstadt

"Let us not forget the words of Scripture that say, 'God's power is made perfect in weakness!' (2 Cor. 12.9). And let us not forget that whenever insurmountable hardships are overcome; whenever turmoil is replaced by tranquility; whenever persistent doubts are put to rest; whenever smoothing comes to be out of nothing at all -- there we can clearly discern the indiscernible Right Hand of God, we witness firsthand the unmistakable Will of God!"  - St. Raphael of Brooklyn

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  - Philippians 4:13