My beloved spiritual children in Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST (Part V)
By His Eminence Metropolitan of Nafpaktos HIEROTHEOS
Christ's Resurrection should not be celebrated as historical or social event, but as existential, which means that it should be a participation in the grace of the Resurrection. The fasting which precedes the feast during the whole of Lent, the ascetic struggle, aims at the bet participation in the mystery of the Resurrection. In order to be successful, however, this requires, as all the Holy Fathers teach, purification of the senses of both body and soul. Saint John of Damascus sings: "Let us purify our senses and we shall behold Christ, radiant with the Light ineffable of the Resurrection, and shall hear him say, in accents clear: Rejoice! as we sing the song of victory". Thus purification is a necessary precondition for vision of God and communion with God. Saint Gregory the Theologian says: "Therefore first one must be purified, then one must converse in purity.
The purpose of the spiritual life is for one to be united with the Risen Christ, to see Him in one's heart. Christ is risen in our heart, mortify the passionate thoughts which are present under the influence of the demons and overcoming the impassionate representations and preoccupations of sin, just as then He overcame the tomb (Saint Maximos the Confessor). Therefore it is not a question of an outward symbolic celebration but of an inner and existential one. In this light Saint Gregory the Theologian recommends that we should not celebrate in a festive and worldly (secular) manner, but in a godly and heavenly manner.
Participation in the mystery of the Resurrection is an expression of deification (theosis). He who has been initiated into the ineffable power of the Resurrection has realized from experience what Christ's purpose was in creating the world (Saint Maximos the Confessor). In reality, man was created in order to attain deification (theosis), and the world to share in the sanctification through man. Then he who is initiated into this ineffable power of the mystery of the Resurrection attains deification (theosis) and fulfills the purpose of his existence. Thus he acquires greater knowledge.
The holy Apostle Paul commends this experience of life, and therefore he writes that we have been buried through holy Baptism with Christ into death, "that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). This rebirth is essential because otherwise, man will die spiritually, according to the words of the holy Apostle Paul: "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put death the deeds of the body, you will live" (Romans 8:13).
Christ's Resurrection is the greatest event in history. It is a matter of deification (theosis) and resurrection of the human nature and of a hope for deification and resurrection of our own person. Since the medicine has been found, there is hope of life. Through Christ's Resurrection, both life and death acquire another meaning. We do not regard as life the whole of the events of history, but communion with God. And we do not regard as death the end of the present life, but man's withdrawal from Christ, while separation of the soul from the body is not death, but a temporary sleep. The holy Apostle Paul, precisely because he feels united with the Risen Christ, can confess: "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor Angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
In a catechetical oration of Saint John Chrysostom which is a triumphal hymn of victory, he says that through Christ's Resurrection all human problems have been overcome.
No one should weep about poverty and in general about deprivation of necessary material goods, because the common Kingdom has appeared".
No one should bewail the sins which he has committed, because forgiveness has risen from the tomb".
No one should fear death, because "the death of the Savior has freed us".
This "no one" is the absolute, which the Resurrection of Christ creates. As far as we are closed to the relative and do not enter into the absoluteness of "no one", to that extent we weep and bewail and fear.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" - Saint John Chrysostomos
With sincere agape in Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God