St. Simeon Skete, Taylorsville Kentucky USA
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Monday, January 11, 2021
Friday, September 18, 2020
At first glance, the artificial flowers, the items piled up at the shrine look almost "kitschy", gaudy... but as with anything, if you take the time to look deeper you see clearer. Each item is a concrete memorial of the prayers of the people.
“In the Name of...”, make a simple intention, then:
- Wash the hands to the wrists saying: “May these hands be instruments of peace.”
- Then cup a handful of water to the lips with the right hand, rinsing the mouth three times saying: “May this mouth speak only the pleasing words, the healing words, the truthful words.”
- Then lightly sniff water into the nose three times, which has a remarkable brightening effect on the senses. Begin this stage by saying: “May I long for the sweet fragrance of His presence”, then sniff the water into the nose.
- Next wash the whole face and eyes saying: “May this face shine with the light of His countenance. May these eyes behold the hand of the Creator everywhere they look.”
- Clean the ears by inserting the tips of the index fingers, wetted with water, into the ears twisting them around and in the folds of the ears then next pass the thumb behind the ears from the bottom, upwards and then over the nape of the neck saying: “May these ears be attentive to the resonance of His Word; may this neck bend in humility to the One.
- Wash feet (right foot first) up to the ankles, making sure that no parts of the feet are left dry. “May these feet walk on holy ground.”
The purpose of washing each of these parts of the body is that it gives you time, bit by bit, part by part, to move your awareness away from the world and toward God. It is to remind you of the need for inward impurity to be removed, a washing the self of the self (Ps. 51:2,7; Jn. 4:10-14; Jn. 3:3; Gal. 2:20).
Time to say within your heart:
I am now going to establish a connection with God
I am going to turn toward God.
I am going to hand over my cares and my love to God.
As you make your way up the stairs you pass a Nativity Shrine, a Bathtub Mary
and small grottos. This is not a perfectly groomed, sterile, disinfected, well marketed tourist spot. This is a place that wreaks of humanity: its flaws, its strengths, positives, negatives -all coming together offering it all to God for His Will to be done.
Saturday, June 27, 2020
Keep your eyes on the Heart that refused to turn stones into bread, jump from great heights, and rule with great power.
Who allows His Heart to be touched by the poor, the maimed, the halt and blind. A Heart that becomes poor with the poor, rejected with the rejected and abandoned with the abandoned.
"Where is peace found? - it is there in those places of the heart we feel broken, insecure, in agony, most afraid..
Because in our weakness our familiar ways of: controlling and manipulating are being stripped away, where we no longer fix, force or find! -- Right there where we are most vulnerable, The Peace That is Not of This World is mysteriously hidden - "Peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your HEARTS and mind through Christ Jesus." - Phil. 4-8.
You see, I am convinced that everything which happens to us is the instrument by which He Himself draws us into His wounded Heart through our own human condition. It is He who first suffers the pain we suffer -this is love! Only in the awesome environment of such Truth can we hear Christ speak to us Heart to heart.
My Elder, Fr. McNulty, shares a conversation between himself and Christ - Jesus speaking to him:
"You and I are one. You must not look anywhere else for the meaning of your pain or darkness, no matter what the sin or the consequences of it. Come into my Heart through yours and I will show you everything. All I need is a heart pierced by its own human condition just like Mine has been pierced, a heart that has no place else to go but to My Heart. I will do the rest."
Only God can say and do things like that. This is not psychology, or mere spirituality, but Grace formed by revelation, not meant to be learned theoretically, but personally experienced and assimilated." -Seraphim+ NHA
Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
Friday, June 26, 2020
There's a certain way the Gospel is heard when a person's stomach is empty and when a person's stomach is satisfied.
(Mt. 11:5- 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.) The Gospel is first preached to those who are NOT full.
When you are empty, abandoned, uncared for, and feel like there is no way out - not just for the next five minutes but for your life... What happens to the human spirit when that is the situation?
How do you relate to life? How do you continue to believe? How do you continue to have hope? How do you continue to care? Can faith still be quick and glib?
There are two kinds of Lazarus:
1. The Lazarus that identifies with the individual
2. The Lazarus that confronts
People ask the question, "if God is good and caring how come all this bad is happening?"
But the answers can't be too quick, they'll pass away as fast as they came! Why? Because they've never been thirsted for, or any space made inside for, or agonized for. So often when the answer comes, its an excuse to stop asking, thirsting, or longing. If your answers are still working, then you're not growing.
What Jesus, The Cross reveals is that God is not separate from humanity, history, suffering, pain, loss or loneliness. God is He who is participating with us, in us and as us! That's the only hope many have in this world.
We must face life and death. Everything is dying, shedding its strength, breaking down, wearing out. That's hard for us to accept and all our life we've been looking for the opposite; something that is not dying, shedding strength, breaking down or wearing out.
For years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, our government, Christmas, marriages, etc. How can we expect anything from God when we demand He leave us alone?
It is better to love God and die unknown than to love the world and be a big shot!
When I leave my books, answers, security and certitudes behind and I open the door (Rev. 3:20 - Behold, I stand at the door
Or ..when I go through the door will I continue to see my own definitions of truth, reality, certitudes and discounting that in reality keeps me from seeing any definitions, truth, reality or certitudes." Seraphim's+, journal