Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Women's Retreat Treasures

I arrived home late on Saturday night. I had a fabulous time with dear friends down at the 7th Annual Women's Retreat in Beaverton, OR. Mother Raphaela was true blessing as she shared with us about prayer and silence. She is the abbess of the Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery in Ortega, NY.
Here I will share with you some of the treasures I heard as she spoke. I cannot do the entire talk justice in the list of quotes and thoughts but I hope maybe you might be blessed from even this small excerpt of her time with us. I realized after I typed it all out there is a lot. But I pray that somwhere in this bulleted list of thoughts you will find something from God.

~When judgment comes we cannot say to God, "Well, Lord, I was born in 20th century America, you can't expect me to become a saint. Maybe if I had been born 200 years ago in Russia or somewhere else, but not here in America, now." For some reason, I just don't think that's going to wash.

~ I think many orthodox don't pray because they have an exalted view of what prayer should be. Prayers from the Jordanville prayer book, 200 hundred prostrations, one time around the 300 knot prayer rope with the Jesus prayer and another time around with Most Holy-Theotokos. If you live with someone and spend the entire day not even acknowledging their presence, not saying hi, not smiling, speaking at all then there is a problem with that relationship, yet many of us go through the day without even saying Hello to God.

~We orthodox DO believe in a personal God.

~Before modern technology brought all the noise into our world, monastics weren't the only ones who lived in silence.
When Mother Raphaela was a young girl she had a "boombox" that blared in her bedroom much to the chagrin of her mother. The day she took it into the bathroom with her was the last straw and said to her, "If you turn that off what are you afraid of hearing?"

~What happens when we sit in silence is that every piece of garbage we've seen, heard or been through comes flooding our minds. But we need to realize that God is in control of the universe, and learn to give that garbage to Him as it comes into our minds. We can reprogram ourselves. As a thought comes in, visualize handing it up to Him.

~Sometimes we use religion to measure everyone else by instead of ourselves. Usually what bothers you about a person is really what you yourself is struggling with.

~Some of us feel like we don't have a choice about modern technology. We think it's part of our lives and we can't let it go. If we don't take control of the muscles of our brain that modern technology will (TV, computers, phones, etc.)

~ There is no one who cannot carve out 3 minutes from their day to be with God. If you start treating Him like a person, THE Person, than things can really start to happen.

~Prayer is deliberately & consciously standing before God and handing up to Him those we love. They are His, we need to let them go. God is in charge of the universe, NOT me.

~We need to become more transparent so that God can be seen through us. So that people can meet God through us (and we need to start at home). How? By prayer and fasting! Just like our exalted views of prayer (none or all) we also have exalted views of fasting...none or all. It doesn't have to be that way. We fast to the best of our ability...even a little is better than none at all. Fast from the worst of your addictions. We need a prayer rule, even if ever so small and we need to fast, even if ever so slightly. When we do these things....we change!

Her one and only thought on politics...
~No matter what candidate we end up with we WILL find ourselves surrounded by people who are tolerant of EVERYTHING except us!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Off to Women' Retreat!

I leave in 3 1/2 hours to drop the kids and head to the ferry, pick up a friend and drive south to attend the 7th Annual Fall Women's Retreat at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Beaverton, OR. On the way Helen and I will stop in Olympia and get into Mimi's car (it gets way better gas mileage) and head the rest of the way. Hopefully I get to see lots of familiar faces from my old parish and ladies from my current parish are attending as well. But we will also be having a blogger reunion of sorts and I'll get to chat for a bit with these wonderful ladies: Christina, Carrie and Xenia.
Can't wait.

Have a fabulous weekend and see you next week!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Must-See Movie

Elenie over at Orthodox Christian Education had a post about this movie. If you go to her post you'll see what Fr. Demetri has to say about this movie.
You can go to the Advent Film Group website to see a trailer and read more about it.
One of the links I followed said that they hope to have it available for viewing online later this month!!! But...maybe we should support their efforts if possible.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A day of schooling on the farm.

We had a very non-traditional day of school on Wednesday. It was fun!
We did math first thing in the morning and then moved on to a lot of hands on fun.
Grandma and Grandpa were here and brought tons of juice grapes. So we spent a good part of the day making juice. I posted about it on the farm blog.
Grandma made salsa for us and Charissa, Nicholas and Joseph helped chop vegetables for that. Charissa was very brave chopping onion.

We had a zucchini that someone gave us over a month ago. It was HUGE! We didn't know if it was too big to use and so it just sat. But Wednesday Kelsey decided it was time to try something and she cut it up, peeled it and shredded 1/4 of it to make zucchini bread. It turned out great. I forgot to take a picture of the final product.

The men worked outside on the cabin. One of James' goals is to get it sided before winter. The boys loved helping all that they could--hands on learning!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

You Thought You Had Seen It All.... me, you haven't until you've seen this.

What next?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Glorification of St Innocent

Glorification of St Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow, Enlightener of the Aleuts and Apostle to America (in the world John Popov-Veniaminov), was born on August 26, 1797 in the village of Anginsk in the Irkutsk diocese, into the family of a sacristan. The boy mastered his studies at an early age and by age seven, he was reading the Epistle in church. In 1806 they sent him to the Irkutsk seminary. In 1814, the new rector thought it proper to change the surnames of some of the students. John Popov received the surname Veniaminov in honor of the deceased Archbishop Benjamin of Irkutsk (+ July 8, 1814). On May 13, 1817 he was ordained deacon for the Irkutsk Annunciation church, and on May 18, 1821, he was ordained priest.

The missionary service of the future Apostle of America and Siberia began with the year 1823. Father John spent 45 years laboring for the enlightenment of the peoples of Kamchatka, the Aleutian Islands, North America, Yakutsk, the Khabarov frontier, performing his apostolic exploit in severe conditions and at great risks to life. Saint Innocent baptized ten thousand people, and built churches, beside which he founded schools and he himself taught the fundamentals of the Christian life. His knowledge of various crafts and arts aided him in his work.

Father John was a remarkable preacher. During the celebration of the Liturgy, memorial services and the all-night Vigil, he incessantly guided his flock. During his time of endless travels, Father John studied the languages, customs and habits of the peoples, among whom he preached. His work in geography, ethnography and linguistics received worldwide acclaim. He composed an alphabet and grammar for the Aleut language and translated the Catechism, the Gospel and many prayers into that language. One of the finest of his works was the Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven (1833), translated into the various languages of the peoples of Siberia and appearing in more than 40 editions. Thanks to the toil of Father John, the Yakut people in 1859 first heard the Word of God and divine services in their own native language.

On November 29, 1840, after the death of his wife, Father John was tonsured a monk with the name Innocent by St Philaret, the Metropolitan of Moscow, in honor of St Innocent of Irkutsk. On December 15, Archimandrite Innocent was consecrated Bishop of Kamchatka, the Kurile and Aleutian Islands. On April 21, 1850 Bishop Innocent was elevated to the rank of archbishop.

By the Providence of God on January 5, 1868, St Innocent succeeded Metropolitan Philaret on the Moscow cathedra. Through the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Innocent consolidated the secular missionary efforts of the Russian Church (already in 1839 he had proposed a project for improving the organization of missionary service).

Under the care of Metropolitan Innocent a Missionary Society was created, and the Protection monastery was reorganized for missionary work. In 1870 the Japanese Orthodox Spiritual Mission headed by Archimandrite Nicholas Kasatkin (afterwards Saint Nicholas of Japan, (February 3) was set up, to whom St innocent had shared much of his own spiritual experience. The guidance by St Innocent of the Moscow diocese was also fruitful, by his efforts, the church of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos was built up into the Moscow Spiritual Academy.

St Innocent fell asleep in the Lord on March 31, 1879, on Holy Saturday, and was buried at the Holy Spirit Church of the Trinity-St Sergius Lavra. On October 6, 1977, St Innocent was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church. His memory is celebrated three times during the year: on March 31, the day of his blessed repose, on October 5 (Synaxis of the Moscow Hierarchs), and on October 6, the day of his glorification.

Troparion - Tone 4

You evangelized the northern people of America and Asia,
proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to the natives in their own tongues.
Holy Hierarch Father Innocent,
enlightener of Alaska and all America,
your ways were ordered by the Lord!
Pray to Him for the salvation of our souls in His heavenly Kingdom!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Protection of our Most Holy Lady the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary

Today the faithful celebrate the feast with joy
illumined by your coming, O Mother of God.
Beholding your pure image we fervently cry to you:
"Encompass us beneath the precious veil of your protection;
deliver us from every form of evil by entreating Christ,
your Son and our God that He may save our souls."

Toparion Tone 4

To read more about this Feast visit the OCA website here.