Paschal Celebration Continues and Comes to a Conclusion
Dearest Spiritual ‘Ohana,
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
This month of May, 2023, marks our continued and concluding journey of celebrations through the middle and to the end of the “moveable” Annual Paschal Season. This special season comes and goes to ever continuously remind us of the Lord’s Love, Mercy and Glory. We are called to continually remember and experience His Presence and His personal impact on our lives so that we continuously renew our relationship with Him throughout the entire year. For we humans, created in the image and likeness of God, are dynamic and not static. Built in to each one of us is the innate desire for His Presence to fulfill us and for us to be in communion with Him and our fellow humans whom we cross paths with throughout our lives.
We journey through the annual celebrations and commemorations through the “moveable” and “immoveable” celebrations throughout the Liturgical Year, paralleling the many celebrations and milestones we experience in our personal lives. Why do we have these paralleling celebrations? We have these, simply as a matter of fact, so that “we never forget who we are and our ultimate purpose as human beings!” We celebrate the Liturgical Year so that we never forget the impact that the Lord’s Love, Mercy and Glory has on our lives! In short, our Lord in All His Glory created the vast universe and everything within it and beyond, yet at the same time in paradox, in His Extreme Humility has taken on our flesh (Incarnation), was baptized in the Jordan providing us a path to salvation, took on the Passion, died on the Cross, descended into Hades, and defeated Death through His Resurrection, ascended into Heaven to be seated at the Right Hand of God the Father, left us with the Promise of the Holy Spirit Who is present in all places and fills us with God’s Presence, etc.
Imagine if we did not celebrate many events in our personal, earthly lives, such as: Birthdays, Name Days, Anniversaries, Graduations, Milestones, etc.! There would be nothing to rejoice and celebrate in! The same holds true in our many celebrations in the Church’s many Feasts, Commemorations, and Fasts. These various celebrations are meaningfully impactful in our lives, leading us to be fulfilled and experience true joy. If we did not have them, we would forget the most important element in our lives, the Presence of God and our Fulfillment in Him.
An important element in our fulfillment is our reliance on relationships. Within the mystery of our human nature, being in God’s Image and Likeness, we are relational beings. In our relationships as human beings, there exists “synergy.” The word “synergy” means “work together.” Synergy is a “three-legged stool,” in which we rely on the following three, working hand-in-hand for our salvation: our relationship with God, self and others. We rely on the three working in unbroken tandem with one another. For example, we are not in synergy, when we remove any leg of the stool. There is a brokenness if all three do not work together. For example, if we rely only on God or others, we become lazy. If we rely on ourselves, alone, we become prideful. Our salvation and fulfillment comes, by the Grace of God, through synergy, our working together.
St. Nektarios of Aegina demonstrates the work it takes for salvation and fulfillment. I share a quote from him: “Christians, have we understood the great responsibility that we have taken on before God through baptism? Have we come to know that we must conduct ourselves as children of God, that we must align our will with the will of God, that we must remain free from sin, that we must love God with all our hearts and always patiently await union with Him? Have we thought about the fact that our heart should be so filled with love that it should overflow to our neighbor? Do we have the feeling that we must become holy and perfect, children of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven? We must struggle for this, so that we may not be shown unworthy and rejected. Let none of us lose our boldness, nor neglect our duties, nor be afraid of the difficulties of spiritual struggle. For we have God as a helper, who strengthens us in the difficult path of virtue.” + St. Nektarios of Aegina, The Path to Joy/Happiness
I would like to express my continued gratitude to all of you who contributed in helping to make Holy Week and Pascha such a meaningful and fulfilling experience, giving glory to God in His Love and Mercy for all of us in all He has done and continues to do for us!
With Continued Love and Joy in the Risen Christ,