Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Perfection is Possible in Prayer


 

Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul,
and with the firm conviction that Your will governs all.


Lately I've been waking up with brilliant ideas, only to realize after I fully wake, that I'm not as smart as I thought I was.  Usually I wake thinking I'm really funny.  But lately I have been feeling brilliant. 

This morning, after a week of many accomplishments and more disappointments, I woke with this thought...

How perfect do I expect my life to be and what is my definition of perfect? 
And what is reasonable?

 



I've had a hard week. 

I've had a great week. 

I did well in my new job, I planned a lovely retreat, the retreat was cancelled, my computer crashed, we might actually have a few more days left to back it up before I MUST buy a new one, I had a cold, I'm over my cold, my aunt died and I couldn't go to the funeral, and a few things too personal for this blog... But I'd have to say... I don't think it could have been any better, while I am sure it could have been worse. 

I am glad I didn't focus on only one of the many recent events.  I am thankful that I was able to stay calm in the storm.  "How?" you ask?   I attribute it to the following prayer.


The Morning Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow


O Lord,  grant that I may meet the coming day in peace.

Help me in all things to rely upon Your Holy Will.

In every hour of the day, reveal Your will to me.

Bless my dealings with all who surround me.

Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul,
and with the firm conviction that
Your will governs all.


In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings.
 

In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You.
 

Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others.
 

Give me the strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring.
 

Direct my will.
 

Teach me to pray.
 

Pray Yourself  in me.
 

Amen.


I'd have to say, I think the prayer was heard.  I encourage you to practice this prayer. 

Prayer is a very powerful thing.  It is often under estimated.  Why do I pray?  Why do I value it?  It's not just because it works.  In my head, I visualize a sign at the gates of heaven (like in restaurants) that we must have seen yet missed on our way to earth that read:  I am God.  I reserve the right to control your life.  If you ask Me, I will help you.  If you follow Me, I will lead you.  If you deny Me, I will deny you.  Do your best.  So long as you persevere you will be ok.  But if you give up I can't help you.  I reserve the right to control you life.  It's the only way LOVE is possible. 

Why do I pray?  I pray so that God can intervene.  I pray to welcome Him into my life.  I pray so that I might learn how to love by living according to His will. 

So I encourage you to pray the prayer of St. Philaret.  It might help you to also see that our expectations of perfect are all dependent on if we are living according to God's will for us or our own.  No matter what happens, if we are searching for God's will and doing our best to live it, our life will be perfect according to His expectations. 
 
 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Today's JAR- Modern Christianity vs Orthodoxy

Today's JAR. just a reminder


Modern Christianity says

"God created me and He doesn't make mistakes." 


Orthodoxy says

"Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him
and He will transform you into His image
so that you can become who you were meant to be,"


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Where Have I Been?

Wow!  It feels like forever since I blogged anything.  Have you missed me?  I sure have missed you!  I have been  so distracted with a retreat I am planning and a new part time gig, that I haven't had time to share any recipes or any other deep thoughts. 

But I can say in all certainty that you have been on my mind. 

I have at least three recipes waiting to be posted, including the vegan moussaka and a feta cream cheese.  I have two crafts I want to share: one a laminated icon and the other a calendar to explain the moveable feasts. I want to tell you about my new job too.  It's been a blessing. 




So for now I'll just say, it's nice to be on a regular fasting schedule.  It's nice to see so many "Thankful for" lists on FB.  And it's nice to know you are here too.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Another Fasting Feast Day

September 14th is the day we remember the Elevation of the Holy Cross.  It's the second major feast day of the new church calendar year.  It's a good way to reflect upon what Christianity really is: To follow Christ means to "pick up your cross." 


Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.   For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?  -Luke 9:23-25 
 
 



To honor the importance of the day and what the cross is, the Church has designated this feast day as a fasting day.  And not just a meat free day, but a strict fast day.

This dichotomy of a fasting feast is appropriate for today as the cross was the tool for torture and killing of Christ, but it also reveals the power of the resurrection. We all have something that we are struggling with.  Many times we run from the struggle due to fear or weakness.  But there are times when we accept our cross, we also experience the joy of the resurrection. 

If you need a new fasting recipe, follow the Lenten Recipe page above for my top posts, or search "Lenten" over to the right. 



 
The Feast Day's Apolytikion Hymn
 
Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance,
granting our rulers to prevail over adversaries,
and protecting Your commonwealth by Your Cross.


Monday, September 08, 2014

Keeping a Vigil Olive Oil Lamp



http://myocn.net/how-to-make-an-olive-oil-vigil-lamp-for-your-icon-corner/

And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually (Exodus 27.20)

 

As a child, I remember always having an olive oil vigil lamp to light up the icons in my room.  It was comforting because I didn’t like my bedroom too dark and it seemed like something living was there to comfort me… breathing in the oxygen, giving off heat.  Its reflection on the icons of Christ and the Virgin Mary was all I saw in my dark room.  I never felt alone when my vigil lamp was lit.  I have continued to maintain one as the years have passed.
 

Since the lamp is an open flame, I am careful where I place it.  We have ours on a tall dresser and have mounted the icons on the wall behind it.  It can’t be knocked over and it doesn’t heat anything above it to be a fire hazard. 

 
His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta showed me  a quick and easy way to light an oil vigil lamp using a cotton ball for the wick.   Click here for the video