St. Silouan the Athonite Mission Parish

Priest Musings

Not a time to take a 'holiday' - May 2012
by Fr Roberto Ubertino

Christ is Risen!

Pascha, Pascha of beauty, Pascha of the Lord!

The 40 days after Pascha are as intense and beautiful as the 40 days of Great Lent. It is with some sadness that I often notice how many of us after Pascha just go back into "business as usual"? The reason why we pray and participate in the Liturgies of the Church is to taste heaven. Our lives are the arena where often we do battle with very negative and difficult realities. But there is a place where the Kingdom of God is truly present and where we are initiated, here and now, into the life that has no end. Without this regular experience, this taste of heaven, how can we not simply loose our way and despair? So the time of Pascha is a time to experience the Kingdom of Heaven in this certitude that Christ is Risen and all things are filled with light.

It is not a time to take a 'holiday' from church services, simply because we are still far far away from really believing in the Resurrection. It takes much prayer and ascetical effort to truly be transfigured by Joy!

Each season has its particular struggles. Lent we know them well; but the Paschal Season or, as it sometimes known, "the flowered Triodion" is often just forgotten in exchange for the "same old, same old".

The second observation I want to make is about fasting. The Paschal season is marked, essentially, by the absence of any serious fasting. Again, we often understand this to mean "pig-out". The rule of moderation is of course always present but this is not really the particular asceticism of the Paschal Season.

"The ascetical effort of this season is about living and experiencing every small, or great, sensation that comes from being alive, with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving."1 All ascetical efforts aim to make the immensity of life the place of Communion with Christ. Concretely, Pascha is a time to taste, to smell, to hold all foods, all things with reverence and thanksgiving. We should eat nothing without this sense of receiving a gift and of giving thanks for the gift received. To enjoy food, is not as an end in itself, but because they are how God communicates to us His love and care.

Take advantage of the services during this time and renew your desire to put on Christ and live the life and joy of the Resurrection, everywhere and at all times.

Christ is Risen!

1 Oliver Clement, "L'amour fou de Dieu"

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