Being God’s Guest in Oregon

 

O LORD, how lovely it is to be your guest. Breeze full of scents, mountains reaching to the skies, waters like a boundless mirror, reflecting the sun’s golden rays and the scudding clouds.

All nature murmurs mysteriously, breathing the depths of your tenderness. Birds and beasts of the forest bear the imprint of your love.

Blessed are you, O mother earth, O reflected loveliness of the land where beauty grows not old, and where rings out the cry: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! You have brought me into life as if into an enchanted paradise.

We have seen the sky like a chalice of deepest blue, with the birds singing in the azure heights. We have listened to the soothing murmur of the forest and the melodious music of the streams.

We have tasted fruit of fine flavor and the sweet-scented honey. We can live very well on your earth. It is a pleasure to be your guest. Glory to You for the feast-day of life.

Glory to You for the perfume of lilies and roses. Glory to You for each different taste of berry and fruit. Glory to You for the sparkling silver of early morning dew.

Glory to You for the joy of dawn’s awakening. Glory to You for the new life each day brings. Glory to You, O God, from age to age.

(Akathist: “Glory to God for All Things”, Prayer Book – In Accordance with the Tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Kindle Location 2581-2592)

All the above photos were taken in Oregon when I visited there in August.  You can find all of my photos about my vacation there at  Oregon August 2017. (The Mt. St. Helen photos in the collection are from the state of Washington).  You can also view the photos I favorited at Oregon 2017 Favorites.

My traveling companions, picturesque or picaresque?

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In Praise of God our Creator

O LORD, how lovely it is to be your guest.

The Hospitality of Abraham and Sarah

Breeze full of scents, mountains reaching to the skies,

waters like a boundless mirror,

reflecting the sun’s golden rays and the scudding clouds.

All nature murmurs mysteriously,

breathing the depths of your tenderness.

Birds and beasts of the forest bear the imprint of your love.

Blessed are you, O mother earth,

O reflected loveliness of the land

where beauty grows not old,

and where rings out the cry: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

You have brought me into life as if into an enchanted paradise.

We have seen the sky like a chalice of deepest blue,

with the birds singing in the azure heights.

We have listened to the soothing murmur of the forest

and the melodious music of the streams.

We have tasted fruit of fine flavor and the sweet-scented honey.

We can live very well on your earth.

It is a pleasure to be your guest.

Glory to You for the feast-day of life.

Glory to You for the perfume of lilies and roses.

Glory to You for each different taste of berry and fruit.

Glory to You for the sparkling silver of early morning dew.

Glory to You for the joy of dawn’s awakening.

Glory to You for the new life each day brings.

Glory to You, O God, from age to age.

(Prayer Book – In Accordance with the Tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Kindle Loc. 2581-92)

See also Augustine: Creation’s Witness to God  and Chrysostom: Creation’s Witness to God.

You can find links to all my photo blogs at My Photo Blogs.

Praying (XIII)

This is the 25th blog in a series exploring various aspects of “prayer.”  The first blog is “Why Pray?” and the previous blog is Praying (XII).

Our Lord Jesus Christ taught regarding prayer:

And when you pray, …  do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”   (Matthew 6:5-8)

St. John Climacus (d. 649AD) says:

The Wise Thief

“When you are praying, don’t rack your brains to find words.  On many occasions the simple, monotonous stammering of children has satisfied their Father who is in heaven.

Don’t bother to be loquacious lest the mind is bewildered in the search for words.  The tax-collector gained the Lord’s forgiveness with a single sentence, and a single word charged with faith was the salvation of the robber.

Loquacity in prayer often fills the head with foolish fancies and provokes distractions.  Brevity on the other hand—sometimes only one word is enough – in general favours recollection.”  

(in DRINKING FROM THE HIDDEN FOUNTAIN, p 366-367)

When we understand our life as prayer we realize prayer doesn’t require words.  We can call to mind the wondrous proclamation of Psalms 19:

The heavens are telling the glory of God;

and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.

Day to day pours forth speech,

and night to night declares knowledge.

There is no speech, nor are there words;

their voice is not heard;

yet their voice goes out through all the earth,

and their words to the end of the world.

The entire cosmos is proclaiming the glory of God without using any verbiage: its very existence proclaims the glory of the Holy Trinity.  We can join in this eternal praise by remembering God continually and recognizing we always stand in His presence.  And we are reminded of this in the Akathist: “Glory to God for All Things.”

“What sort of praise can I give you? I have never heard the song of the cherubim, a joy reserved for the spirits above. But I know the praises that nature sings to you.

In winter, I have beheld how silently in the moonlight the whole earth offers you prayer, clad in its white mantle of snow, sparkling like diamonds.

I have seen how the rising sun rejoices in you, how the song of the birds is a chorus of praise to you. I have heard the mysterious murmurings of the forests about you, and the winds singing your praise as they stir the waters. I have understood how the choirs of stars proclaim your glory as they move forever in the depths of infinite space. What is my poor worship? All nature obeys you, I do not. Yet while I live, I see your love, I long to thank you, pray to you, and call upon your name…”   (Prayer Book – In Accordance with the Tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Kindle Loc. 2705-10)

St. John of Kronstadt (d. 1908) writes:

“When praying, keep to the rule that it is better to say five words from the depth of your heart than ten thousand words with your tongue only.  When you observe that your heart is cold and prays unwillingly, stop praying and warm your heart by vividly representing to yourself either your own wickedness, your spiritual poverty, misery, and blindness, or the great benefits which God bestows every moment upon you and all mankind, especially upon Christians, and then pray slowly and fervently.  If you have not time to say all the prayers, it does not matter, and you will receive incomparably greater benefit from praying fervently and not hurriedly than if you had said all your prayers hurriedly and without feeling: ‘I had rather speak five words with understanding.. than ten thousand words in a tongue.’”    (in TREASURY OF RUSSIAN SPIRITUALITY, p 360)

St. Luke in his Gospel tells us that Jesus in fact taught a short prayer to  His Twelve  Disciples:

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.”    (Luke 11:1-4)

Next:  For What Should We Pray?

“Glory to God for All Things”: The Akathist Illustrated (PDF)

Another of my Blog Series is now available as a PDF.

The Blog Series which began with Glory to God for All Things Ode 1 Illustrated can be read as a PDF at Glory to God for All Things: The Akathist Illustrated (PDF).

The Akasthist is attributed to Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Tryphon (d. 1934).

It is a hymn giving glory and thanksgiving to God for everything, in when the most dire of circumstances exists.  Metropolitan Tryphon is said to have suffered in Soviet concentration camps were he died.  I added some photographs to illustrate and illumine the wonderful text of the Akathist.

AKATHIST: GLORY TO GOD FOR ALL THINGS
Kontakion:
Everlasting King, Your will for our salvation is full of power.

Your right arm controls the whole course of human life.

We give You thanks for all Your mercies, seen and unseen:

For eternal life, for the heavenly joys of the Kingdom which is to be.

Grant mercy to us who sing Your praises, both now and in the time to come.

Glory to You, O God, from age to age.

Glory to God for all Things Ode 13 Illustrated

Akathist:  “Glory to God for all Things”   

by Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Tryphon (+1934)

see Ode 12

ODE 13

Life-giving and merciful Trinity,

receive my thanksgiving for all Your goodness.

Make us worthy of Your blessings, so that,

when we have brought to fruit the talents You have entrusted to us,

we may enter into the joy of our Lord,

forever exulting in the shout of victory:

Alleluia!

IKOS 1

Archangel Michael
I was born a weak, defenseless child,
but Your angel spread his wings
over my cradle to defend me.
From birth until now,
Your love has illumined my path,
and has wondrously guided me
 towards the light of eternity.
From birth until now
the generous gifts of Your Providence
have been marvelously showered upon me.
I give You thanks,
with all who have come to know You,
who call upon Your Name:

Glory to You for calling me into being.
Glory to You, showing me the beauty of the universe.
Glory to You, spreading out before me heaven and earth, like the pages in a book of eternal wisdom.
Glory to You for Your eternity in this fleeting world.
Glory to You for Your mercies, seen and unseen.
Glory to You, through every sigh of my sorrow.
Glory to You for every step of my life’s journey, for every moment of glory.
Glory to You, O God, from age to age.

Kontakion

Everlasting King, Your will for our salvation is full of power.

Your right arm controls the whole course of human life.

We give You thanks for all Your mercies, seen and unseen:

For eternal life, for the heavenly joys of the Kingdom which is to be.

Grant mercy to us who sing Your praises, both now and in the time to come.

Glory to You, O God, from age to age.

Glory to God for All Things Ode 12 Illustrated

Akathist:  “Glory to God for all Things”   

by Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Tryphon (+1934)

See Ode 11

Elder Joseph of Vatopedi

ODE 12

How oft have I seen the reflection of Your glory in the faces of the dead.

How resplendent they were, with beauty and heavenly joy;

how ethereal, how translucent their faces;

how triumphant over suffering and death, 

 their felicity and peace.

Even in the silence they were calling upon You.

In the hour of my death,

enlighten my soul, too,

 that it may cry out to You: Alleluia!

IKOS 12

What sort of praise can I give You?

 I have never heard the song of the cherubim,

a joy reserved for the spirits above.

But I know the praises that nature sings to You.

In winter, I have beheld how silently in the moonlight

the whole earth offers You prayer, clad in its white mantle of snow, sparkling like diamonds.

I have seen how the rising sun rejoices in You,

how the song of the birds is a chorus of praise to You.

I have heard the mysterious murmurings of the forests about You,

and the winds singing Your praise as they stir the waters.

I have understood how the choirs of stars proclaim Your glory as they move forever in the depths of infinite space.

 What is my poor worship?  All nature obeys You, I do not.

Yet while I live, I see Your love,

I long to thank You, pray to You, and call upon Your Name:

Saints of the 20th CenturyGlory to You, giving us light.
Glory to You, loving us with love so deep, divine, and infinite.

Glory to You, blessing us with light, and with the host of angels and saints.
Glory to You, Father All-Holy, promising us a share in Your Kingdom.

Glory to You, Holy Spirit, Life-giving Sun of the world to come.
Glory to You for all things, holy and most merciful Trinity.

Glory to You, O God, from age to age.

Next:  Ode 13

Glory to God for All Things Ode 11 Illustrated

Akathist:  “Glory to God for all Things”   

by Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Tryphon (+1934)

See Ode 10

Ode 11

Across the cold chains of the centuries,

I feel the warmth of Your breath; I feel Your blood pulsing in my veins.

Part of time has already gone, but now You are the present.

I stand by Your cross; I was the cause of it.

I cast myself down in the dust before it.

Here is the triumph of love,

 the victory of salvation.

Here the centuries themselves cannot remain silent, singing Your praises: Alleluia!

IKOS 11

Blessed are they that will share in the King’s banquet;

but already on earth You give me a foretaste of this blessedness.

 How many times with Your own hand have You held out to me Your Body and Your Blood,

and I, though a miserable sinner,

have received this Sacrament,

and have tasted Your love, so ineffable, so heavenly!

Baptism

Glory to You for the unquenchable fire of Your grace.

Glory to You, building Your Church, a haven of peace in a tortured world.

Glory to You for the life-giving water of baptism in which we find new birth.

Glory to You, restoring to the penitent purity white as the lily.

Glory to you for the Cup of Salvation and the Bread of eternal joy.

Glory to You for exalting us to the highest heaven.

Glory to You, O God, from age to age.

Next Ode 12

Glory to God for All Things Ode 10 Illustrated

Akathist:  “Glory to God for all Things”   

by Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Tryphon (+1934)

See Ode 9

ODE 10

No one can put together what has crumbled into dust,

but You can restore a conscience turned to ashes;

You can restore to its former beauty a soul lost and without hope.

 With You, there is nothing that cannot be redeemed.

You are Love;

You are Creator and Redeemer.

 We praise You, singing: Alleluia!

IKOS 10

Remember, my God, the fall of Lucifer, full of pride;

keep me safe with the power of Your grace.

Save me from falling away from You;

save me from doubt.

Incline my heart to call upon You, present in everything.

Glory to You for every happening, every condition Your Providence has put me in.

Christ liberating Dachau Prisoners

Glory to You for what you speak to me in my heart.

Glory to You for what you reveal to me, asleep or awake.

Glory to You for scattering our vain imaginations.

Glory to You for raising us from the slough of our passions through suffering.

Glory to You for curing our pride of heart by humiliation.

Glory to You, O God, from age to age.

Next Ode 11

Glory to God for All Things Ode 9 Illustrated

Akathist:  “Glory to God for all Things”   

by Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Tryphon (+1934)

See Ode 8

ODE 9

Why is it that on a feast-day the whole of nature mysteriously smiles?

Why is it that then a heavenly gladness fills our hearts, a gladness far beyond that of earth,

and the very air in church and in the altar becomes luminous?

It is the breath of Your gracious love; it is the reflection of the glory of Mount Tabor.

Baptism of St. Paul

Then do heaven and earth sing Your praise: Alleluia!

IKOS 9

When You called me to serve my brothers

and filed my soul with humility,

one of Your deep-piercing rays shone into my heart;

 it became luminous, full of light,

like iron glowing in the furnace.

I have seen Your face, face of mystery and of unapproachable glory.

Glory to You, transfiguring our lives with deeds of love.

Glory to You, making wonderfully sweet the keeping of Your commandments.

Glory to You, making Yourself known where man shows mercy on his neighbor.

Glory to You, sending us failure and misfortune, that we may understand the sorrows of others.

Glory to You, rewarding us so well for the good we do.

Glory to You, welcoming the impulse of our heart’s love.

Glory to You, raising to the heights of heaven every act of love in earth and sky.

Glory to You, O God, from age to age.

Next Ode 10

Glory to God for All Things Ode 8 Illustrated

Akathist:  “Glory to God for all Things”   

by Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Tryphon (+1934)

See Ode 7

ODE 8

How near You are in the day of sickness.

You Yourself visit the sick.

You Yourself bend over the sufferer’s bed; his heart speaks to You.

In the throes of sorrow and suffering, You bring peace;

You bring unexpected consolation. You are the Comforter.

You are the Love which watches over and heals us. To You we sing the song: Alleluia!

IKOS 8

When in my childhood I called upon You consciously for the first time,

You heard my prayer;

You filled my heart with the blessing of peace.

At that moment I knew Your goodness,

knew how blessed are those who turn to You.

I started to call upon You, night and day,

and even now, I call upon Your Name:

Glory to You, satisfying my desires with good things.

Glory to You, watching over me day and night.

Glory to You, curing affliction and emptiness with the healing flow of time.

Glory to You; no loss is irreparable in You, giver of eternal life to all.

Glory to You, making immortal all that is lofty and good.

Glory to You, promising us the longed-for meeting with our loved ones who have died.

Glory to You, O God, from age to age.

Next Ode 9