Living through the Feast of Feasts: the Paschal Reflections of the Catalog of Good Deeds Team

Christ is Risen! 

With the coming of Great and Holy Pascha, the time of Great Lent is over, and so our Lenten Infographics comes to its end, too. We have been thinking for quite a long about what article we would like to devote to the cumlination, to the last point of the infographics. On each week of the Lent we tried to tell our readers something interesting and useful about every stage of this pre-paschal period. Today, after the feast has come, after the spirit of the Resurrection has touched the hearts of millions of Christians all over the world, we would like to share with you some thoughts and feelings we have about this wonderful holiday.

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Sister Maria: Easter is a priceless gift from God, which I don’t deserve. I can’t pay for it. I can simply accept it with gratitude or refuse it. God doesn’t deprive me of free will even in this case.

I have not heard a story as profound and simple than that described in the Gospel in my entire life. How could the unfathomable, the invisible, and the omnipotent Being who created the Universe and has dominion over winds and all natural phenomena be crucified on a cross like a villain or a criminal? We bake Easter cakes and dye eggs and tend to forget that He had to pay a horrendous price for the Sacrament of Communion.

It seems to me that the true meaning of a human life can be found in Easter. The meaning of life isn’t to please oneself or to multiply and be fruitful, as most people outside the Church think. Life is meant for letting Christ raise you from the dead. It is for being crucified with Christ and fighting your passions and flaws as hard as you can so as to rise up with Christ.


Sister Darya: For me, Easter starts at Holy Friday night after the Burial of the Shroud, which is a long but incredibly bright and beautiful service. It is immediately followed by the Liturgy but prior to that, at 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning, a reader reads Old Testament paremias and the choir sings wonderful verses that fill my heart with joy and happiness. Also, it’s an experimental investigation of the greatness and beauty of Christ. There is another point during the Liturgy that I’d like to mention: when they sing You Who Have Been Baptized instead of the Trisagion. It fills me with overflowing gratitude to God for his condescension and death so that we could live.

After the communion, I am filled with living silence and quiet Easter joy, as is the world around me. It isn’t a noisy feast; in fact, it simply boils down to inner peace and serene silence. I catch myself feeling that and it’s like my soul also becomes better. A disabled child I often visit in the boarding home says that we need nice shirts to go to God. Here, God gives us those nice shirts for nothing. As a rule, there is a unique light on Holy Saturday, and I take some pictures which are called the same each year: The Light and the Silence of Holy Saturday.

Just an hour later, the news will travel the earth that He is Risen. Everything will tremble and burst as the world celebrates the victory over death. We will enter the Joy of our Lord happily.


Brother Vladimir: Easter is the brightest and happiest holiday for every Christian. It might appear that we can spend this whole day praising God and not thinking about anything else. Unfortunately, not everyone in our world can lay all cares aside. For instance, I think that there are people whose jobs require their presence on this day: Bus drivers, shop assistants, the police, etc. Moreover, even those who have a day off on Easter can face unforeseen circumstances that may take their spirits down. Those circumstances may include Losing one’s wallet or having a row, and so forth.

We should remind ourselves what price God had to pay for this holiday if we face circumstances like those and if our mood isn’t as light as it should be on this day. Two days prior to his Resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ endured enormous suffering and a shameful death on the cross. The most dreadful part of it was that there was a moment when the Savior felt himself completely alone, without even his Divine Father. There would not be Resurrection without Crucifixion. That is why Easter – the Feast of feasts – must be just a little ‘a holiday with tears in our eyes.’


Brother Alexander: He that endureth to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10:22).

Unability to feel Easter. That’s what I can say about myself. Easter has always been a holiday that I had to endure. It might be caused by my spiritual weakness, numbness, or immaturity. I have always found it hard to attend services. It has been hard for me to pray, to stand upright, and even to be in the church. It has been much harder for me on Easter because there are so many people in church on that day that it’s impossible even to cross my heart. This burden is probably my main impression of the holiday.

However, when I don’t have energy or mood or desire to live in the light of the most important day of the year, it seems that I have to remind myself, “Who are you?” You’re a mere mortal human being. Your weakness and unability to be happy are the traits of a miserable human that don’t mean anything. Because there is the One who is infinitely higher. There is Christ, the true God crucified for our sake and resurrected for our sake: the God who grants us salvation by his Resurrection. That is why forcing myself and making myself attend the Easter service and take part in this joy (there are many people who are really happy to feel the Easter joy and to experience it fully) is the least that I can do. I have to get the better of my weakness, put some effort, and work for God’s sake. I have to endure. Undoubtedly, I’ll be rewarded with consolation even if I don’t feel happy right now. In the end, what can your personal feelings mean in comparison with such a profound revelation to the world?


Sister Irina: The Lord’s Pascha has made me free from the fear of death and non-existence, from all fatal threats. It has turned my world upside down and changed it. It has filled everything with colors and meaning.

I have to face misfortunes of various scope in my life. I am sick. I am beleaguered by negative emotions. But it doesn’t determine my life any longer.

Christ is risen, and I shall rise up with him, too. I won’t become a bodiless spirit, I won’t evaporate, I won’t dissolve in some nondescript substance. I shall remain myself. And I shall be with Christ! I can’t imagine a greater blessing! It is in anticipation of this blessing that I enjoy my life here and now, that I dare be open and practically don’t care if I happen to be misunderstood or funny. Isn’t it good enough? I have the Witness in every situation.

Life has become amazingly interesting. What’s precious is that you can’t be bored of talking with Christ and with people in Christ. It is always dynamic and never static because God is boundless and inexhaustible. The apex of our communication with the Living God is when we get united with Christ through the Eucharist. It can never be boring. It is an ever-new and ever-bright event.

Now, I view death as an important stage of my life, which will one day become my here and now, and I hope I’ll face it with gratitude.

Christ is Risen!


Sister Yekaterina: Easter is a special time for me as a Christian. It is the moment at which I make some conclusions about the past year. That’s the appearance of Light that consecrates everything. That’s the time when you get your answer to the most difficult question. It is the time to stop and think If I managed to accomplish everything I planned, if I lived the year to the best of my ability, if I have improved or deteriorated. Am I ready for this glorious holiday, this bright feast?

Needless to say, Easter is a family holiday. Our loved ones are second only to God. We must do our best to congratulate all our family members (especially the older generation). In a sense, it is like prayer: if you forget about it, the connection is broken…


Brother Sergius: You can view the world in several ways. There are at least two ways of looking at the world: When you are in the center and when God is in the center. That’s what can make everything around you appear and be different.

I heard a priest say that we have to summon our power to feel happy during these days. Coerce ourselves. It was time to check whether that piece of advice was correct during the Holiday. “Don’t trust yourself until you die,” a contemporary ascetic said.

Don’t I want to rejoice in Christ? Don’t I want to relish in his victory and promises? I do, apparently. How fragile my desire is! There comes a moment when irritation and exhaustion lead you to doubt. I have decided for myself that I should do my best not to trust myself and to trust God instead. He is risen and He wants to share his victory over death, sin, and corruption with us. He wants us to have that victory, too.

Why does the darkness inside me want to swallow that joy? Why does it want to diminish it and reduce it to a “routine event” in the whirlpool of life?

It seems that the Lord has not become my goal, meaning, and air that I breathe yet. He hasn’t become all in all for me yet.

However, I think I can change it.


Protodeacon Oleg: Personally, I see Easter as the culmination and the prototype.

The worship procession starts with St. Lazarus Saturday, and you mingle with the crowd that follows Christ. If only remotely, you share with him those days and everything they are filled with: prayer, fast, and wakefulness. Lengthy and astonishingly beautiful services at the Convent make it even more feasible. Frankly speaking, you catch yourself being more occupied with the “technical” side of things rather than the “prayerful” one time and time again but what can you do if you’re a clergyman.

All that aside, the Gospel events and the heat of worship accumulate into one huge wave against the black sky. All of a sudden, this wave bursts into myriads of bright sparkles and everything falls silent as it happens before dawn. The silence is coated with light haze and clear sky. Finally, there’s the culmination: the Sun of Righteousness rises from the horizon in all His majesty. His rays penetrate all the world and flood it with grace. You feel excited like a child and realize that this glorious firework is worth waiting for during the rest of the year.

The church at the Easter night foreshadows the paradise, the age to come, and the heavenly meal. It gives us an opportunity to be exposed to many people whose hearts and mouths reverberate in tune with the Savior. It is overflowing joy that conquers even the most reserved individuals and merges everyone into one body. It restores our strength, determination, and confidence. We are confident that the trial that we walked through with him will transform into joy and into His Glory.


Brother Fyodor: I have always been inclined to perceive Easter eschatologically. Here is a poem by a contemporary Russian poet, which I have been thinking about throughout this Easter season:

Our cause is big and honorable
Like oil boiling in a bloody pulp
Like a line that creeps away
Like a warm bread loaf
Like a milky rain
In the world that knows no sin.

Our cause is the last cause, like a bullet
Like the ultimate act of bravery
Like last time every time
Like the leadoff breath
Like the starting step
In the world that knows no sin.

With showery rains, they will knock at our door –
Those wrathful springs and cheerful men-at-arms
One day –
You have to believe –
We shall see the pendulum swinging where it has to be
And there shall be time no longer.

Our cause is the lost cause like a finger
Torn off by an enemy’s bullet
At the holy people’s war
Like a trail of sledge
Like the mortal God
In the world that knows no sin.

With showery rains, they will knock at our door –
Those wrathful springs and cheerful men-at-arms
One day –
You have to believe –
We shall see the pendulum swinging where it has to be
And there shall be time no longer.

Our cause is heroic like the everyday school
Of the slaps that we deserved
Like the iron grip of earth
Like a waking dream
Like unburdened life
In the world that knows no sin.
In the world that knows no sin.

Editor

About the author

The Editor of the Catalog of Good Deeds.

Comments

  1. As an Old Calendar, Eastern Orthodox Christian (born in Cyprus Nd have been in Australia since 1951) I am really concerned at the lack of faith in the saving grace of our Lord Jesus the Christ of Nazareth. It appears that (when I visited my relatives last year) most had lost their faith in the Cross and the Blood of our Lord Jesus (our Redeemer). I am praying daily for a spiritual reknewall. God bless us all.

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