Jul 29, 2011


Our soul is, so to say, a reflection of God's countenance, and the brighter this reflection is, the clearer and calmer is the soul; and the less bright this reflection is, the darker, the more disturbed is the soul. And as our soul is our heart it is necessary that every truth of God should be reflected in it through feeling, through gratitude, and that there should be no reflection in it of any lie. Feel God's love in the most pure mysteries, feel the truth of all prayers. Our heart is a mirror; as the objects of the outer world are reflected in an ordinary mirror, so ought the truth to be reflected with all exactitude in our hearts.

It is good, very good indeed, to be virtuous; the virtuous man is at peace himself, is pleasing to God and agreeable to other people. The virtuous man involuntarily attracts everyone's attention. Why is it so? Because fragrance involuntarily attracts attention and makes everyone wish to breathe it. Look upon the very appearance of the virtuous man, upon his countenance. What sort of a countenance is it? It is the face of an angel. Meekness and humility overspread it, and involuntarily captivate everyone by their beauty. Pay attention to his speech; from it there comes still greater fragrance: here you are as if face to face with his soul, and are enraptured with his sweet converse.

- St. John of KronstadtMy Life in Christ

Jul 27, 2011

Got You Pegged?

Pegging - A very effective way to increase flower production on Bonbon & Hybrid Perpetual roses that send up long shoots with oily flowers on the end. It is a time consuming method but well worth the display. This is generally done in the fall. Instead of pruning, spread the runners and fasten to the soil with wire loops. Basically you are training the plant horizontally.

There are certain kinds of trees which never bear any fruit as long as their branches stay up straight, but if stones are hung on the branches to bend them down they begin to bear fruit. So it is with the soul. When it is humbled it begins to bear fruit, and the more fruit it bears the lowlier it becomes. So also the saints; the nearer they get to God, the more they see themselves as sinners…. Abraham, when he saw God, called himself “dust and ashes.” And Isaiah said, “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips.” Similarly Daniel was in the lion’s den and Habakkuk came to him with a meal and said to him, “Accept the food, which the Lord has sent you.” And Daniel replied, “For the Lord has remembered me!” He had great humility in his heart when he was in the lion’s den because they did not devour him once and for all, not even afterwards, and so with astonishment he cried, “the Lord has remembered me”.
Do you see the humility of the saints and how their hearts were set on it? Even when messengers straight from God were sent to them to help them they were not turned away from humility but fled from self-glorification. As men clad all clad in silk flee if a filthy rag is thrown at them, so that their noble robes will not be stained, so the saints, clad in virtue, take flight from human glory lest they be stained by it. Those who desire that sort of glory are like the naked man who always wishes to find a few rags, anything at all, to cover his shame. So too one who is naked of virtue desires to be praised by men. Therefore the holy men who are sent from God to help men, do not let go of humility. Hence on one occasion Moses said, “I beseech thee, Lord, send another more eloquent than me for I am hard-voiced and a stammerer.” Jeremiah said on another occasion, “I am a child!” So every single one of the saints, as I have said, acquired this humility from the fulfillment of the Commandments. No one can explain how this comes about, how humility is generated in the soul. Unless a man learns this by experience, he cannot learn it by verbal teaching.
… It is more than clear that the humble man, the god-fearing man, knows perfectly well that nothing good, nothing straight and sure, happens in the soul without the help and the supervision of God, and therefore he does not stop praying unceasingly that God may act mercifully towards him. A man standing in need of everything from God is ready to make progress; he knows how he will make progress, and cannot be puffed up. He does not rely on his own abilities but attributes to God everything he does right and always give thanks to Him….. the more humble he is, the more help he gets from God, and so he advances in the spiritual life through this virtue of humility.

Hat tip to Christ in Our Midst 

Jul 25, 2011

Guilty as Charged

Keep a strict watch against every appearance of pride: it appears imperceptibly, particularly in time of vexation and irritability against others for quite unimportant causes. 

- St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

Jul 18, 2011

Fisherman's Prayer

My husband ran across a small saying that, I believe, reflects a healthy perspective of God. After a little research, I discovered that it is called an Irish Fisherman's Prayer:

Lord, Your oceans are immense
and my boat is so small.
Please be good to me! 
Kyrie eleison.

How easily we believe that we are in control of our lives, our material possessions, and our relationships. We become proud and confident. But it is a false security. 

The Spirit is the one who gives us life and breath. We are totally dependent on Father, Son and Holy Spirit for our life every day. 

Our world is filled with uncertainties, dangers and spiritual opposition, and we are as fragile as a small boat on a vast ocean - churning, endless, and unpredictable. 

Lord, have mercy! Lord, save us!

Jul 7, 2011

Consolation and Life

You gaze upon the icon of the Saviour and see that He looks at you from it with brightest eyes; this look is the image of how He actually looks upon you with His eyes, that are brighter than the sun, and sees all your thoughts, hears all your heartfelt distress and sighs. The image is an image, and represents in lines and signs that which cannot be delineated, cannot be given in signs, and can be comprehended by faith alone. Believe, then, that the Saviour always protects you and sees each one of you--with all your thoughts, sorrows and sighing, in all your circumstances, as upon the palm of the hand. 

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me" (Isaiah 49:16). says the Lord God. How much consolation and life are contained in these gracious words of the Almighty and Provident God! Therefore pray before the icon of the Saviour as before Himself. The Lover of men is present in it by His grace, and with the eyes depicted in it really looks at you: "The eyes of the Lord are in every place" (Proverbs 15:3), while with His ears as represented on the icon, He hears you. But remember that His eyes are the eyes of God, and His ears are the ears of the omnipresent God. 

- John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ