24 June 2007

Akathist of Thanksgiving

A selection from the Akathist of Thanksgiving written by Fr Gregory Petroff, a new martyr of Russia.

Lord, how good it is to be Your guest; the delicately scented wind, the mountains stretching to the sky, the waters reflecting like infinite mirrors, the golden rays of sun, the airiness of clouds. All nature secretly whispers, full of tenderness, and even the birds and beasts bear the mark of Your Love. Blessed is mother earth with her transient beauty, longing for the homeland which is eternal and where an imperishable beauty rings out: Alleluia.

You brought me into this life as into an enchanting paradise. The sky is a deep blue vessel of azure out of which rings the sound of birds; there is the rustling sound of the forest and the sweet sounding music of the waters; the fragrant and sweet fruit and honey which we eat. It is good to be with You on earth, joyous to be Your guest:
Glory to You, for the festival of life,
Glory to You, for the fragrant lilies of the valley and the roses,
Glory to You, for the delectable variety of berries and fruits,
Glory to You, for the morning dew, shining like diamonds,
Glory to You, for the smile of awakening enlightenment,
Glory to You, for all that is heavenly, foreshadowing eternal life,
Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.

That which is broken cannot be restored, but You can set aright those whose conscience has become decayed; You restore the soul to its former beauty in those who have lost it beyond all hope. With You there is nothing that cannot be put aright. You are all love. You are the Creator and the Restorer. To You we sing praise: Alleluia!

My God, You Who know the fall of the proud angel, save me through the power of Your grace, do not let me fall away from You, do not allow me to doubt You. Sharpen my hearing so that every minute of my life I can hear Your mysterious voice, and call to You Who are everywhere present:
Glory to You, for providential coincidences,
Glory to You, for the gift of premonitions,
Glory to You, for the guidance of a secret inner voice,
Glory to You, for revelations in dreams and when awake,
Glory to You, Who destroy our useless plans,
Glory to You, Who sober us from the heat of passions with suffering,
Glory to You, Who humble pride of heart to save us,
Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages.

You can get the complete text and order the cd from Saint Ignatius Church.

08 June 2007


"A-bounce, a-bounce, a-bounce, a-bounce-a,
Mama loves you!
A-bounce, a-bounce, a-bounce, a-bounce,
Whatever you do!
A-doo, doo, doodly, doo.
I'm gon-na looove you!"

I made this up on our long walk yesterday as I was trying to help Taisia fall asleep. I sang this little ditty for about 40 minutes, bouncing a little each step and exchanging "Papa" for "mama" to keep it interesting :)

01 June 2007


I have been listening to Matthew Gallatin's podcast (Orthodox) called "Imputed Righteousness" On Ancient Faith Radio. It has been very eye-opening for me. He asserts that Grace is not "God's unmerited favor"; it is not a thing which God gives. Rather, grace describes the activity of God within me.

"Grace is God at work transforming me.
Faith is the Christ who dwells in me reaching out to the same Christ who sits on His throne in Heaven.
Wisdom is God thinking His thoughts in me.
Mercy is God expressing His goodness in and through me.
Righteousness is a state of being, God's state of being. It is who He is; it is His perfect, loving, merciful way of existing."

From listening to Gallatin and from doing my own reading I am beginning to understand more fully how salvation is not simply the result of a contract between me and God which I sign by believing and receiving. It is about a relationship with God in which both sides sacrifice themselves for each other in order to be united in the way Christ describes in John 17:20-23. Salvation is unity with Christ. And like any relationship, this one is two-sided. If I don't do my part, I risk losing the opportunity to find eternal union and salvation with God. Hell, or separation from God, is not a punishment; it is a choice. If I believe in God's love and allow the Holy Spirit to dwell and work in me, I have all that I need to become holy so I might draw nearer to Him. But it is important to remember that God does not force Himself on anyone. If I decide to reject the Holy Spirit (at any time) He will not remain in me. But if I repent and choose Him, He will forgive where I have wronged Him and joyfully help me aspire toward righteousness.

There is so much more, but I am still digesting it all.

Glory be to God, for He is Love!