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Iconography and Hand painted icons

‘Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word.’ St. Silouan the Athonite

St. Silouan the Athonite 

”O Lord, by the power of the grace of the Holy Spirit, vouchsafe that we may live according to Thy holy will.”

Εὐαγγελισμὸς τῆς Θεοτόκου_Благовещение Пресвятой Богородицы_The Annunciation25. ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΣΜΟΣ ΘΕΟΤΟΚΟΥ (12)Thus did the Most Holy Virgin submit herself to God: ‘Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word.’ And were we to say likewise—’Behold the servant of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word’—then the Lord’s words written in the Gospels by the Holy Spirit would live in our souls, and the whole world would be filled with the love of God, and how beautiful would life be on earth! And although the words of God have been heard the length and breadth of the universe for so many centuries, people do not understand and will not accept them. But the man who lives according to the will of God will be glorified in heaven and on earth.

It is good to learn to live according to the will of God. The soul then dwells unceasingly in God, and is serene and tranquil;…It is impossible to escape tribulation in this world but the man who is given over to the will of God bears tribulation easily, seeing it but putting his trust in the Lord, and so his tribulations pass.

Life is much easier for the man who is given over to the will of God, since in illness, in poverty, in persecution he reflects thus: “Such is God’s pleasure, and I must endure on account of my sins.”
Thus for many years have I suffered violent headaches, which are hard to bear but salutary because the soul is humbled through sickness. My soul longs to pray and keep vigil, but sickness hinders me because of my body’s demand for rest and quiet; and I besought the Lord to heal me, and the Lord hearkened not unto me. So, therefore, it would not have been salutary for me to have been cured.

The Lord gave us the Holy Spirit, and the man in whom the Holy Spirit lives feels that he has paradise within him.

When grace is with us we are strong in spirit; but when we lose grace we see our infirmity—we see that without God we cannot even think a good thing.
O God of Mercy, Thou knowest our infirmity. I beseech Thee, grant me a humble spirit, for in Thy mercy Thou dost enable the humble soul to live according to Thy will. Thou dost reveal Thy mysteries to her. Thou givest her to know Thee and the infirmity of Thy love for us.

Once when I was a young novice I was praying before an icon of the Mother of God, and the Jesus Prayer entered into my heart and there began to repeat itself of its own accord.

From Saint Silouan the Athonite by Archimandrite Sophrony

Troparion of the Annunciation, Tone 4

Today is the beginning of our salvation, the revelation of the eternal mystery! the Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin as Gabriel announces the coming of Grace. Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos: Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you.

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