In the depths of your being.

During Lent our women’s book club at church is reading Wounded by Love: The Life and Wisdom of Saint Porphyrios. Merely reading the words of this 20th-century saint as he tells about his life is “wounding” me with his own love, which of course flows from God Himself through that human life that received much grace.

Yesterday was sunny and the biting winds had calmed. When I went out to cut some asparagus and then to look more closely at the plum blossoms, the orange chair invited me to sit down; immediately the ergonomics of the Adirondack design and the enclosed spot between the rosemary and the fava beans began to apply a balm to my body and soul, and before my face started to burn I went back to the house to get my book and sun hat.

This is what the view was like, from my cozy corner:

Did you notice that black chair by the rosemary above? I actually got too hot after a while and moved to that one. Then I was closer to the tray bird feeder and I took this picture; it was almost as hard for me to see the birds as they are to see in this shot, everything was so sunny bright.

I alternated between being lost in the saint’s tale of his youth in Greece, and being conscious of the deliciousness of my situation and how it seemed to be the perfect lenten activity and food for the soul that had been given to me. Truly, if it were not Lent I no doubt would be busy about more “useful” work. But here I was, enjoying the first days of springtime, watching the bees — the first sighted this year — working the rosemary.

And then, what was that –?  on my hat, making a rustling noise and scratching feeling through the weave. I raised my hand, and a bird flew off into the redwood tree. I could see his profile up there, smaller than a dove but larger than a finch… and then he was right back down to the feeder, and he was a sparrow. Did he land on me because he didn’t recognize me as a human, or because he did recognize me as the lady who fills the feeders?

In the front garden the pale yellow California poppies have sprouted all over the place, and one bloom opened. This picture of plum flowers shows my bedroom window up above.

As my bones warmed from the solar heat, my heart soaked up joy from Father Porphyrios. There is so much I want to share with you about him, but for now I’ll just offer this quote from the second part of the book, which collects some of his teachings. Then I need to get out of this cold corner of my house and into the sunshine again.

“Man seeks joy and happiness in heaven. He seeks what is eternal far from everyone and everything. He seeks to find joy in God. God is a mystery. He is silence. He is infinite. He is everything. Everyone possesses this inclination of the soul for heaven. All people seek something heavenly. All beings turn towards Him, albeit unconsciously.

“Turn your mind towards Him continually. Learn to love prayer, familiar converse with the Lord. What counts above all is love, passionate love for the Lord, for Christ the Bridegroom. Become worthy of Christ’s love. In order not to live in darkness, turn on the switch of prayer so that divine light may flood your soul. Christ will appear in the depths of your being. There, in the deepest and most inward part, is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is within you [Luke 17:21].”

–St. Porphyrios

[I’m sorry to give you the same quote that I see I posted before, when there are so many other good ones! Well, they will come, God willing.]

12 thoughts on “In the depths of your being.

  1. *Perhaps I should just get the book, if this is the depth of his writings.
    *I believe the backyard birds do “know” those who feed them so regularly.
    *I like hearing about and seeing some of your restful backyard time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Gretchen How your lovely garden has grown! I love that you took Lent Seriously and relaxed in the goodness of God. I am also making time all during the day to meditate on His awesomeness. . especially in the loveliness of whatever sunshine comes. cold or not! I am reading THE DEANS WATCH for Lent. Elizabeth Gouge is steeped in good examples of the human condition and how God moves through His people to activate love. God bless you!


    Sent from my Samsung device

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m imagining that little bird landing on your hat. I wonder if it thought the straw might be useful in building a nest. It looks so peaceful in your garden and it’s wonderful that you are taking full advantage of that peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you repeated the quote. I hadn’t seen it the first time. 🙂 I do try to turn my mind to Him continually, but I need a lot more practice! Isn’t it odd how the worldly things can mesmerize us? I suddenly “awaken” and realize I’ve wasted much time thinking on unimportant things. Your garden is such a green oasis. Cute about the bird!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How lovely that the bird landed on you! I really felt the warmth and the joy of your experience from your writing. I am glad that Lent made you rest more- Be still and know that I am God was the verse of the day for me and I think for you too! I loved what you wrote at the bottom too about us unconsciously turning towards God.

    Liked by 1 person

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