by Rev. Vladimir Berzonsky
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things on earth.” (COLOSSIANS 3:1)
What a joyful and blessed Resurrection it was for so many of our people: not a few had experienced a change within themselves: a renewed, transformed spirit and attitude which was not there before the Great Lent and Easter. Never had so many approached the Holy Chalice. Without pretending, not just fulfilling the annual “Easter obligations,” we know that so many of us were made aware of being members of the Body of Christ, sharing His death and Resurrection.
Now, in the time after Easter, we must be on guard that we not allow ourselves slip unawares back into our “normal” pre-Easter and pre-lenten pattern of living.
If you have given up something for lent which is detrimental to your physical body: alcohol, cigarettes, even candy and non-essential foods, understand that you are now free of them. Why become a slave again, even if you call that slavery only a habit? If you reply that you can quit them whenever you want, then just do it! What prevents you?
If you find you have free time which before you spent on television, by all means don’t chain yourself to the sofa for the summer but seek better means for putting that gift of free time to use for others.
More important is your life with Christ, The great archbishop, Basil of Caesaria, wrote of his wish that Great Lent continue throughout the year, because of the spiritual value he derived at that time. This lent may have been the first time in your life you’ve experienced a sanctification of your ordinary routine by becoming aware of the Lord’s presence within you whatever you may be doing; many of you have. If that fire within be only a tiny ember ignited the past month, by all means prevent it from dying out; fan it into a steady burning flame, by continual prayer and meditation on Christ, and the Holy Spirit living within you.
We must not understand the church year as a cycle repeating itself annually: “normal time,” lent, feasts, then again “normal time.”
Rather, we must live with an awareness of a constant movement through this world, beginning naturally at birth, and spiritually at baptism, looking ever forward to the highway constructed for us by Christ. Lent and Easter are seen, then, not as interludes in our otherwise “normal” lives, but as themselves the norm by which we put ourselves back on our proper route, in order that:
“When Christ who is our life appears, then you will appear with Him in glory. . . . seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices, and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Col. 3: 5).
From Word Magazine
Publication of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America