We rejoice in our Lord’s Resurrection!
Dearest Spiritual Ohana,
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
With this proclamation, I greet you with utmost joy as we enter into the celebration of our Lord’s Glorious Resurrection! The Resurrection is complete victory and fulfillment for us. His Victory over Death is the ultimate expression of God’s Immeasurable Love for us. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) For us, as Orthodox Christians, this celebration of Pascha (the Passover from Death to Life) is central to our existence and the fulfillment what we truly and deeply long for in our lives as human beings who are made in God’s Image and Likeness.
St. Gregory the Theologian describes most thoroughly and most beautifully the core of what our Lord’s Resurrection is all about, and It’s meaning to humanity. He says:
Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him.
Yesterday I died with Him; today I am made alive with Him.
Yesterday I was buried with Him; today I am raised up with Him.
Let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us … ourselves, the possession most precious to God and most proper.
Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us.
Let us become Divine for His sake, since for us He became Man.
He assumed the worse that He might give us the better. He became poor that by His poverty we might become rich. He accepted the form of a servant that we might win back our freedom.
He came down that we might be lifted up. He was tempted that through Him we might conquer. He was dishonored that He might glorify us. He died that He might save us. He ascended that He might draw to Himself us, who were thrown down through the fall of sin.
Let us give all, offer all, to Him who gave Himself as Ransom and Reconciliation for us.
We needed an incarnate God, a God put to death, that we might live. We were put to death together
with Him that we might be cleansed. We rose again with Him because we were put to death with Him. We were glorified with Him because we rose again with Him.
A few drops of Blood recreate the whole of creation!” ~St. Gregory the Theologian
It is truly beyond what the mind can fathom at the length and extremes God has gone through, in His love for us and all of humanity! Almighty God, in His Greatness, offers us His self-emptying love and extreme humility! How can we possibly repay Him for all He has done and still does for us? What is our response to the Lord, for all He has done for us through His Life-giving Death and Resurrection?
First, we must offer ourselves to Him, above anything else in life. This means to allow His Presence to enter all aspects of our lives. For our Lord Jesus Christ says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20) This means we are to respond by cooperating with Him. Heed His call! For the Lord does not force us to cooperate with Him. This is our free will to allow Him to enter every aspect of our lives. This is “synergy,” cooperating by working with Him. Our response is to pray to Him. He does not need our prayers. We need to pray to Him, because we need Him!
Secondly, we are called to imitate Christ in His humanity. Because the Word took on human flesh, He has become the prototype of what we are to be as humans. For example, we can imitate His Self-Emptying Love and His Mercy to all humans we encounter in our lives. Simple, but not easy! This imitation of the Lord is a life-long challenge.
Lastly, we give all and offer all to Him. Everything we have or think we own, including our talents, gifts and treasures are not our own, but we are rather stewards of them. I think of the Consecration of the Holy Gifts during the Divine Liturgy, where the priest says: “We offer to You these Gifts from Your own Gifts, in all and for all.” This is what we do, in response!
With Joy in the Resurrection of our Lord,
Sunday after Holy Cross; Nikitas the Great Martyr; Philotheos the Righteous; Bessarion of Larissa; Righteous Father Symeon, Archbishop of Thessolonica; John the New Martyr of Crete; Afterfeast of the Holy Cross; Porphyrios the Actor