May 2011

Fr. Antony Portrait
Photo Courtesy of Photographer Eric Limon

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Christ is Risen!

The Paschal Season is for celebrating the goodness of God and giving thanks for all He has done for us.

But that does not mean our spiritual efforts should stop. Without continuing to contemplate what the Cross and Resurrection mean on a daily basis our celebration will actually end and our feasting will become little else than license to gorge ourselves on everything we fasted from during Great Lent.

The spiritual life is not the opposite of feasting, it is an essential part of it. Spiritual effort leads to deeper understanding and participation in the joy of the kingdom. The adage is, “there are no enlightened people, there are only enlightened actions.” That means that we cannot rest on past laurels that no longer exist. We need to continue our efforts to live mindful at all times that God is present and that we are present with him no matter where we are or what we are doing. Enlightened people cease to be enlightened if they stop acting in an enlightened way. We can say the same about Christians. What matters is the present moment. The past, pretty or not, is a dead letter. Wake up! God is near! Respond to that overarching reality.

When the celebration ends at the Feast of the Ascension, then we must begin to prepare again for Lent 2012. Orthodox Christians must always be preparing to receive Christ, so as Great Lent is a preparation for Holy Pascha, the rest of the year is a preparation for Great Lent, as well as for every Sunday and liturgical remembrance.

“Enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival,” wrote St. John Chrysostom, but don't forget God in the process.

Much love in Christ,

Fr. Antony