Christ is Risen!! Χριστός ἀνέστη!

Easter Acclamation

“Christ is risen from the dead, Trampling down death by death. And upon those in the tombs, Bestowing life.” (x3)

The Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived therefor. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and
poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.

Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.

15th Antiphon from Great and Holy Friday Matins

Sometimes it is wonderful to just listen to the richness of the Church’s musical heritage. I can listen to this particular antiphon over and over again and never get bored. It opens my heart in stunning ways. By means of it, the events of our Lord’s life and that of His apostles becomes present to me and I become a real participant in them with them. Likewise, they have the opportunity to enter into the events of my life and participate with me.

The point of worship is not to get caught up in dramatic performances or showmanship. The point is to let the Holy Spirit enliven us from within and without.

I hope you enjoy it. And, I pray it will minister to you in deeply mystical ways. Let the words and rhythm of the chant focus your thoughts and usher your mind into your heart.

Fr. Thomas

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Today He Who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on the Tree (x3)
The King of the Angels is decked with a crown of thorns
He Who wraps the heavens in clouds, is wrapped in the purple of mockery
He Who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped on the face
The Bridegroom of the Church, is affixed to the Cross with nails
The Son of the Virgin is pierced by the spear
We worship Thy Passion, O Christ (x3)
Show us also Thy Glorious, Resurrection!

Love

A question to consider as we move into the last half of our Lenten journey: We concern ourselves a lot with knowing the latest and being right. Do we concern ourselves to the same degree – intensity and expense of energy (single focus) – with actively loving and showing mercy?

Some passages to consider with this question before us – lectio, meditatio, oratio, contemplatio… Then get up and struggle in union with the Holy Spirit to allow Christ Jesus to manifest His love through you in union with Him!!

Romans 13.8 “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”

John 15.9-12 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Romans 12.9-11 “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.  Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 13.1-13    “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

After all is said and done, when we are standing before the judgment seat of Christ, will He be interested in how many times we were “right” or how often we “loved” as He loves? Is being right, wrong? By no means… But, there is right and then there is right. Am I talking about “wishy washy sentimentalism” as a substitute for Christ’s life-changing love? By no means… Those are rabbit trails of avoidance and excuses for not loving and trusting God for the results … You know what I am talking about – the love of Christ. Loving is the deepest “right” course in the final analysis. The unique and unchanging love of Christ through us as our action is the deepest right.

Fr. Thomas