April 27, 2023

1959 Paschal Message of St. John Maximovitch

 Christ is Risen!

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Let us rejoice and be glad now. Let us rejoice, for Christ is risen from the dead.

Just as the bright rays of the sun disperse the darkness after a dark night, so the Risen Christ destroys the darkness of our souls!

Once upon a time, Adam, who had sinned, plunged into spiritual darkness. He ate from the tree, about which God told him: “On the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Outwardly, Adam did not die on that day, but spiritually death came for him then.

The seal of death fell on him, the joy of communion with God, the Source of Life, disappeared. Sorrow fell on his heart, sorrows began to overwhelm his soul. His spirit carried the seed of death until finally his body died and his soul descended into hades.

Now Christ has risen, giving life to all of us!

Destroying sin, He pours into us a stream of life.

We resurrect first with the soul, so that later we can resurrect with the body.

Just as Adam's life after sin was darkened by the expectation and consciousness of death, so, after the Resurrection of Christ, those who believe in Him, life is illuminated by the expectation and anticipation of their future resurrection.

Even now Christ makes us feel the joy and sweetness of His Goodness. He strengthens our souls and bodies with His Divine Mysteries. He fulfills with faith the prayers offered to Him. He comforts us in our sorrows. It sometimes fills us with inexpressible compunction and spiritual warmth after the reverent communion of His holy Mysteries or fervent prayer.

He gives us every good thing even in this life, for He lives, having trampled down death, and risen from the dead.

Let us rejoice in this day and draw near to Christ as to the Living Source of eternal life.

What can separate us from Him? Sin? But He came to grant forgiveness to all. Disbelief? But He fulfills the requests of those who cry out to Him: “Lord! Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Is it sickness? Is it the sorrows of life? But they will pass like a fleeting dream and be forgotten in eternal life, just like a baby forgets just simple bitter tears. Is it the death of our loved ones? But those who have died in Christ, rejoicing, are already enjoying the Divine light, and are now celebrating Christ's Resurrection with us.

Let us pray that Christ unites us with them in His eternal Kingdom. Let us now cast aside everything that separates us from Christ. Let us turn our face away from the darkness of what is sinful and worldly and turn it towards the Rising Sun of Truth. Let us be illumined by His Light and joyfully sing:

“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs bestowing life!”

Christ is Risen!

Paris-Brussels, 1959

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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