Truly, He is risen, and upon those in the tombs He is bestowing life!

the myrrhbearing women

“Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.  But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! (St. Luke 24:1-6a)

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.  . . . . then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 54b)

But for you who fear my name the Sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in [His] wings, You shall go forth leaping like calves from the stall.” (Malachi 4:2)

The Orthodox Church has now entered into the Paschal Season, in which we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, as well as our own, for Christ’s resurrection brings for us our resurrection. Our Lord has defeated death by death. As He arose with a transformed body with which He could both eat fish and enter through closed doors, we will one day rise with new bodies, with capabilities beyond our present ability to conceive. Glory to Thee, our God, Glory to Thee!

the harrowing of hell

“It is the day of the Resurrection! Let us adorn ourselves with the splendor of the festival and embrace one another! And let us say, O brethren, even unto those who hate us: ‘Let us forgive all things at the Resurrection, and thus let us cry out: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

from http://www.monachos.net/content/patristics/patristictexts/157-ephrem-paschal-hymn

 Paschal Hymn, by St. Ephrem the Syrian

I fall in adoration at your feet, Lord!
I thank you, God of goodness;
God of holiness, I invoke you,
on my knees, in your sight.

For me, an unworthy sinner,
you have willed to undergo the death of the cross,
setting me free from the bonds of evil.

What shall I offer in return for your generosity?

Glory to you, friend of men!
Glory to you, most merciful!
Glory to you, most patient!
Glory to you who forgive sin!
Glory to you who have come to save us!
Glory to you who have been made man in the womb of a Virgin!
Glory to you who have been bound!
Glory to you who have been scourged!
Glory to you who have been derided!
Glory to you who have been nailed to the cross!
Glory to you, laid in a sepulchre, but risen again!
Glory to you who have preached the Gospel to men and have been believed!
Glory to you who have ascended to heaven!
Glory to you, seated at the right hand of the Father and who will return with him, in majesty, among the angels, to judge those who have disregarded your passion!

The powers of heaven will be shaken;
all the angels and archangels, the cherubim and seraphim
will appear in fear and trembling before Your glory;

the foundations of the earth will quake
and all that has life will cry out before Your majesty.

In that hour let your hand draw me beneath Your wings,
and save me from the terrible fire, from the gnashing of teeth,
from the outer darkness and from despair without end.
That I may sing to Your glory:

Glory to Him who through His merciful goodness has designed to redeem this sinner.

icons from Orthodox Word & Turtle Rock: Icon of the Resurrection – Explained 

The first-martyred Holy Apostle James †44

  The Apostle James, son of Zebedee, was a simple fisherman who left his nets to follow our Lord Jesus Christ as one of his twelve disciples. Empowered by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost fifty days after Christ’s resurrection, the Apostle James preached the gospel in Judea, Samaria, and Spain. He was the first apostle to be martyred for Christ. His relics rest in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. He is an intercessor before the Throne of God, especially for people with rheumatism and arthritis.

His Feast Day is April 30.

To learn more about this holy apostle:

OCA.org: The Holy Apostle James, the son of Zebedee

CathSaints,info: St. James the Greater 

s
Source of Icon: http://orthodoxtasmania.blogspot.com/2011/05/st-james-apostle-commitment-to-jesus.html

 

 

Holy Friday

icon from Mode of Life 

St. Aidan Orthodox Christian Church: The Ministry of Suffering

As St. Paul writes in his letter to the Phillipian Church, 

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ  and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,  if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Phillipians 3:7-11, NKJV,  biblegateway.com

In Orthodox Christian Holy Week, we walk with Christ through his betrayal, suffering, death, burial, and resurrection. And in all our lives we seek to conform ourselves to our Lord Jesus Christ not only in His victory, but also through His sufferings, through patient endurance of loss and pain. While some may be called to the priesthood, the monastic

life, missions of mercy and Church planting, others may receive a call the value of which is difficult to understand: the ministry of suffering. 

a reflection from the website of St. Aidan Orthodox Church, Cranbrook, British Columbia :

The Ministry of Suffering

April 23: The Feast Day for the Holy Great Martyr St. George † 303

Holy Great Martyr St. George

All the Saints who have gone before us- indeed,  all who have fallen asleep in Christ- live to God.

And we may ask for their intercessions concerning any malady and any matter. But in some places, chiefly the west, certain Saints are counted as special intercessors for certain specific things.

 In relation to persons with disabilities, Saint George is counted as an intercessor for persons with leprosy and skin diseases. 

Here is a good account of his life from an Orthodox Christian Parish for which he is  the patron Saint, St. George Orthodox Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas:    http://www.stgeorgecathedral.net/saints_george.html 

Source of Icon: http://mybyzantine.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/saint-georges-day-some-icons/ 

A Roman Catholic source: http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-george/                     

from St. Isaac the Syrian

St. Isaac the Syrian

St. Isaac the Syrian: “Do not disdain those who are deformed from birth . . . because all of us will go to the grave equally privileged.” + St. Isaac the Syrian, “Homily 5,” 

Source: Ascetical Homilies of St Isaac the Syrian & Orthodox Church Quotes

For more on St. Isaac: Full of Grace and Truth: St. Isaac the Syrian, Bishop of Nineveh and Great Hesychast 

For more from St. Isaac: Glory to God for All Things: Words from St. Isaac of Syria 

Icon from: Milk & Honey – Spiritual Food for Thought: On Hell, by St. Isaac the Syrian

Overcoming the disability of mental imprisonment

Deacon Charles Joiner, who “was trained as an engineer”  and oriented “to viewing things from a logical and scientific perspective,” has found that this approach causes him anxiety and difficulties in his spiritual life. 

He asks, “How do we overcome this tendency to allow our rational mind to dominate and blot out everything spiritual? While I have not completely overcome this disability, here are some of the approaches that have helped me. … .”

To access the approaches that have helped him, read this post from his blog Orthodox Way: Walking the Path to Theosis:

Role of Reason and Logic in Our Spiritual life 


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