Friday, April 7, 2017

Blessed Palm Sunday

I really wanted this blog to be a special place where I could share my Orthodox faith and grow in my faith.  It will be soon be 7 years since I left my beloved parish family in Washington.  And, I've felt like a lost soul since that time.

There was a couple of times when I thought I had found my new church home.  Last fall I again thought I had found my forever church.  It's a small mission church with welcoming parishioners.  Unfortunately, we don't have a permanent place to worship nor do we have a permanent priest.

Yesterday, I received an email from our parish stating that no Palm Sunday, Holy Week nor Easter Sunday services will be held!  I was so sad and I'm still sad.  This is a mission church that was started by a very large diocese here in southern California; I'm sure they could have worked to remedy this situation.  I feel that I'm back to square one.

For the first time in a few years, I was excited to be a participant in Lent this year along with my church family.  Now, there will be no celebration for me - at least not in church.  My dear family and I will celebrate our Lord's ressurection on Easter Sunday together.    And, there is not another church that I feel I can go to.  The little mission church is my church.  Please pray for this situation.  I've gone one step ahead and two steps back.  

I wish each of you a blessed and happy Palm Sunday.

Enjoy this special day of our Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Wishing you all the blessings of this special day,


Sunday, March 5, 2017

St. Mina and the Third Week of Great Lent

Hello my dear friends.  We are beginning our third week into Great Lent (or second week) and it is such a blessed time for me.  It's Sunday night here and I wasn't planning on writing a post but I ran across an Orthodox group tonight when I was reading knitting patterns on Ravelry.  It is called OrthoCrafters.  There was a discussion on the forum about conversion and the diet or I should say fast.  It got me thinking about this and my mind traveled back 40 years ago when I had the opportunity to visit a monastery.

 It was back in 1976 and it way my first trip to Egypt and the first time I had ever visited a Coptic monastery.  I grew up in a Protestant home and I love and cherish my Protestant background.  It was summer and we had traveled to the desert outside of Alexandria to visit St. Mina's Monastery.  This is where Saint (Pope) Kryllos is buried.  St. Mina was an Egyptian soldier in the Roman army and was martyred for his Christian faith.  Looking back, I knew nothing about the teachings of Orthodoxy at that time. 

It must have been during a fast as I remember that the monks served us fool (fave beans) and bread.  It was a most delicious meal and we were not in want of anything.  I recall the monk saying something about how our churches are different.  It's been too many years to even remember but I do know that I shared that yes, I believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and baptism and communion.  As a Lutheran, we were taught that communion, the body and blood of our Lord, by way of the bread and wine is a mystery.  Whereas, in the Orthodox church, it is truly the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. It might sound odd, but this difference in thinking does not bother me.

I've gotten off track of what I truly wanted to share. . . Back to the Ravelry forum and the convert's statement about fasting.  The way I understand the fast is that it is something we should want to do.  Yes, I'd love to have a slice of cake or maybe that glass of wine during the week.  But, I need to overcome my desires and focus on the big picture.  I cannot do this fast by myself.  My church family is with me as we go along on our journey together.  I'm not out there all by myself.  That's the beauty of Orthodoxy.  We are seeking our way together. 

At church services this weekend, one of my dear friends who is from Egypt, spoke about how the monks back in her home country may balk at how we fast.  We have so many vegan options today as many people follow this lifestyle every day.  So when we're eating that bagel with non dairy cream cheese, are we really fasting?  I don't have an answer for that.  To me, it's the small things that  hopefully I can try to overcome and with time and prayer and fasting, learn to overcome all things with our Lord's help.

If you have found this blog post today and we are a new convert, please don't be overwhelmed.  Be like a sponge and take everything in.  Although I took the inquirer's class before I became Orthodox, it was like scratching the surface.  I continued my studies at home reading everything I could.  My dear friend Irene who is cradle Orthodox said it is a rich (not in the money sense) faith.  There is so much for the soul to absorb and learn.  And, that's why this lenten season, I feel truly blessed to have found a parish and participate in Great Lent and anticipate the glorious Feast of the Resurrection.

Thank you for visiting my blog today.  I know there are a few glitches with this blog site that I still need to get worked out.  And, if you wish, please feel free to leave comments.

Asking for your prayers,


Monday, February 20, 2017

The Beginning of Great Lent or Cheesefare Week

Today was the beginning of Great Lent or Cheesefare Week depending on which Church you may attend.  Welcome to My Orthodox Life.  This is my first post on this blog and I want it to be a place where people can visit, spend a bit of time, maybe learn something or share something, and leave with a good feeling.

For me, today is the beginning of Great Lent since I currently attend a small American Coptic Orthodox parish and I am so excited to once again be a participant in lent along with my church family. 

I had a hard time finding a parish home after moving a few years ago.  But, our Lord and Savior never gave up on me and once again, I feel at home.

I'm a convert.  My background in Orthodoxy began in the Eastern Orthodox Church over 13 years ago.   You may know me from my other blog,  Lilly My Cat, where I'm known as Lilly's Mom or Pat.  I will be writing this blog as Martha, the name given to me at my Chrismation.  There has been so many negative things written in blogland lately. I love to read positive things; things that can help me on my path to salvation.  That's why I felt the need to share these things on My Orthodox Life.
 There's more to my story but I will keep that for another time.  

February 21, 2017 Gospel Reading:
Matthew 9:10-15
Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?"

And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.

 Arabic Gospel Reading:
وَبَيْنَمَا هُوَ مُتَّكِئٌ فِي الْبَيْتِ إِذَا عَشَّارُونَ وَخُطَاةٌ كَثِيرُونَ قَدْ جَاءُوا وَاتَّكَأُوا مَعَ يَسُوعَ وَتَلاَمِيذِهِ. 11 فَلَمَّا نَظَرَ الْفَرِّيسِيُّونَ قَالُوا لِتَلاَمِيذِهِ: «لِمَاذَا يَأْكُلُ مُعَلِّمُكُمْ مَعَ الْعَشَّارِينَ وَالْخُطَاةِ؟» 12 فَلَمَّا سَمِعَ يَسُوعُ قَالَ لَهُمْ: «لاَ يَحْتَاجُ الأَصِحَّاءُ إِلَى طَبِيبٍ بَلِ الْمَرْضَى. 13 فَاذْهَبُوا وَتَعَلَّمُوا مَا هُوَ: إِنِّي أُرِيدُ رَحْمَةً لاَ ذَبِيحَةً لأَنِّي لَمْ آتِ لأَدْعُوَ أَبْرَاراً بَلْ خُطَاةً إِلَى التَّوْبَةِ». 14 حِينَئِذٍ أَتَى إِلَيْهِ تَلاَمِيذُ يُوحَنَّا قَائِلِينَ: «لِمَاذَا نَصُومُ نَحْنُ وَالْفَرِّيسِيُّونَ كَثِيراً وَأَمَّا تَلاَمِيذُكَ فَلاَ يَصُومُونَ؟» 15 فَقَالَ لَهُمْ يَسُوعُ: «هَلْ يَسْتَطِيعُ بَنُو الْعُرْسِ أَنْ يَنُوحُوا مَا دَامَ الْعَرِيسُ مَعَهُمْ؟ وَلَكِنْ سَتَأْتِي أَيَّامٌ حِينَ يُرْفَعُ الْعَرِيسُ عَنْهُمْ فَحِينَئِذٍ يَصُومُونَ.  متى 9 : 10-15

Asking for Your Prayers,