WhyShould I Have My House Blessed?

In my Orthodox parish we will be celebrating Holy Theophany (The Baptism of our Lord) on January 6th. The celebration of this Feast of our Lord actually begins on January 5th, a day known as the Forefeast of Theophany. Together with the other services celebrating this Feast of our Lord, there is a service of the […]

via Why Should I have my House Blessed? — An UpWord Glance


The Giver

Giving is Worship

The Giver

God could be called The Giver. He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus gave his life to destroy death for us, and every Sunday we say, “I believe in The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life.” God gives us His unconditional love, His mercy and His forgiveness. Therefore, as we seek to be restored into His image and likeness, He has ordained that we also become givers. Christianity is all about sacrificial giving. The disciples gave all that they had for the sake of The Kingdom: their possessions, their status, their businesses and even their lives. They followed Jesus who was the ultimate sacrifice.

But God did not give on a whim, or without forethought. Jesus is, “the lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world,” (Rev. 13:8). The Holy Trinity planned the giving and followed through with intention. Certainly, the seven days of creation were well thought out before “Let there be….” was ever spoken. Therefore, our theosis is determined by our intentions…..intentional worship, intentional service, intentional study and prayer, intentional fasting, intentional giving. Without intention, the flesh rises up and annihilates our spiritual growth. If we do not determine to be faithful to the Divine Liturgy, Sunday morning will roll around and we will sleep in. If we do not set a rule of daily prayer and study, we will crawl into bed at night without even whispering the Name of the Lord all day. When we do not establish an amount to give to God, we spend foolishly and there is nothing left over for the Kingdom.

Let us each make an intention to attend more church services, practice greater almsgiving, study more, pray more, fast more, give more and offer more forgiveness and mercy than we did last year. Our journey towards theosis depends on it. God needs nothing that we give for He is All-Sufficient. Giving simply purifies our soul.

Kh. Susan Wallace


Don’t Eat The Pumpkin Crunch

Pumpkin CrunchWhen your family tells you that they are not bringing “anything pumpkin” to the Thanksgiving Meal – your wife decides to make a “Pumpkin Crunch” dessert.

When the wife decides to make a “Pumpkin Crunch” dessert – she needs sugar.

When the wife cannot find any sugar in the house at 9:30 PM on Thanksgiving Eve – she sends her husband to the store to buy a sack of sugar.

When the husband goes to the Dollar General store a block from his house – he finds the store closed at 9:00 PM.

When the Dollar General Store is closed he goes to the 7-11 Store around the corner – to find that they don’t sell sugar.

The husband goes to the large grocery store and obeys the traffic laws – politely stops behind a car waiting to turn left into the parking lot.

When the husband is waiting to turn left into the parking lot (with seat-belt buckled, turn-signals flashing, cell phone in his pocket and hands placed at “10 & 2” on the steering wheel…….BAM

The husband (in a small Subaru) gets creamed from behind by a HUGE pickup truck and propels the Subaru forward into the rear of a new KIA SUV – BAM! Whiplash!

So, [following the logic of the DirectTV commercial here] the moral of this story is – NEVER eat Pumpkin Crunch!

(Oh…wait….after the husband gets back home his wife says, “After you left the house, we found where the sugar was in the pantry.”)  And sometime after 10:30 PM there was  a volcanic eruption in NW Oklahoma City.

volcano eruption

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Elder Sophrony’s Prayer at Daybreak

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to be said each day on rising from sleep

O Eternal King without beginning, You who are before all worlds, my Maker, Who have summoned all things from non-being into this life: Bless this day that You, in Your inscrutable goodness, give to me. By the power of Your blessing enable me at all times in this coming day to speak and act for You, to Your glory, in Your fear, according to Your will, with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage, wisdom and prayer, aware everywhere of Your presence.

Yes, Lord, in Your immense mercy, lead me by Your Holy Spirit into every good work and word, and grant me to walk all my life long in Your sight without stumbling, according to Your righteousness that You have revealed to us, that I may not add to my transgressions.

O Lord, great in mercy, spare me who am perishing in wickedness; do not hide Your face from me. And when my perverted will would lead me down other paths, do not forsake me, my Savior, but force me back to Your holy path.

O good One, to Whom all hearts are open, You know my poverty and my foolishness, my
blindness and my uselessness, but the sufferings of my soul are also before You. Wherefore I beseech You: Hear me in my affliction and fill me with Your strength from above. Raise me up who am paralyzed with sin, and deliver me who am enslaved to the passions. Heal me from every hidden wound. Purify me from all taint of flesh and spirit. Preserve me from every inward and outward impulse that is unpleasing in Your sight and hurtful to my brother.  I beseech You: establish me in the path of Your commandments and to my last breath do not let me stray from the light of Your ordinances, so that Your commandments may become the sole law of my being in this life and in all eternity.

O God, my God, I plead with You for many and great things: do not disregard me. Do not cast me away from Your presence because of my presumption and boldness, but by the power of Your love lead me in the path of Your will. Grant me to love You as You have commanded, with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength: with my whole being.

For You alone are the holy protection and all-powerful defender of my life, and to You I ascribe glory and offer my prayer.

Grant me to know Your truth before I depart this life. Maintain my life in this world until I may
offer You true repentance. Do not take me away in the midst of my days, and when You are
pleased to bring my life to an end, forewarn me of my death, so that I may prepare my soul to come before You.

Be with me then, O Lord, on my great and sacred day, and grant me the joy of Your salvation. Cleanse me from manifest and secret sins, from all iniquity hidden in me; and give me a right answer before Your dread judgment-seat. Amen.


Saints Cyril and Methodius Russian Orthodox Church

Click here for a short video story on this historical Oklahoma church

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Carolyn Wallace – Memory Eternal

Click the link or picture for the obituary
Carolyn Wallace – Memory Eternal


THIN PLACES

“Thin Places are places where the eternal world and our physical world meet and mingle.”

As a hospice chaplain, I have had the privilege of being there for many people – in the “Thin Place” – as they pass from this life to the next. As an Orthodox priest, I have served at numerous funerals for the members of our church; all with a sense of professional, yet compassionate, composure.

And it’s only natural that emotional responses vary, of course, to some degree relative to the closeness of the individual.

So, here I am today, with my emotions running full bore, reflecting on the impending departure of the soul of my mother, Carolyn. She has been suffering from Lewy Body Dementia for several years now. We’re not sure how long she’s had it since it is a combination of Parkinson’s and Dementia, which makes it hard to diagnose.

Within the last week, she has declined and then this past weekend had a great rally. She regained her ability to eat and talk from Saturday through early Tuesday (12/20/11). In fact, she enjoyed having a small group of us from church sing Christmas carols to her on Sunday. We thank God for that gift of her “being present” to all of us.

As a dad, I LOVE and TREASURE ALL of my family. I’d give my life, if necessary, to save any of them. Yet, no one loves like a mother does. And my Mom believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I’m going to miss her terribly but will try to do as St. Paul sayeth, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (I Thess.4:13)

As my Mother is dancing around her “thin place” I draw continued strength every time I pray the (oft-repeated) petitions in all of our liturgies, (again and again we pray for): “That we may complete the remaining time of our life in peace and repentance, let us ask of the Lord.” [then] “A Christian ending to our life, painless, blameless, peaceful, and a good defense before the dread Judgment Seat of Christ, let us ask of the Lord.”

Deathbeds, funerals and cemeteries are all “thin places” where the eternal world meets and mingles with our physical world. Yet, without an understanding of how illness, death and life are supposed to relate with each other, we will inevitably succumb to the emptiness of the world’s hopelessness. So, I commend to you this excellent article by Father George Morelli, on “Illness, Death, and Life: An Orthodox Perspective” Click Here

The punchline of Fr. Morelli’s thoughts are this:

“…in the funeral service we pray, ‘May Christ give thee rest in the land of the living, and open unto thee the gates of Paradise and make thee a citizen of His kingdom.’ The meaning of illness and death is eternal life.”