April 18, 2014

Elder Paisios on How to Deepen our Experience of the Feasts of the Church

- Elder, how can we live the feasts spiritually?

- In order for us to live the feasts, we must have our mind on the holy days and not on the jobs we have to do for the holy days. We must think of the events of each holy day (Christmas, Theophany, Pascha, etc.) and say the Prayer while glorifying God. In this way we will celebrate with great reverence every feast.

Secular people seek to understand Christmas with pork, Pascha with lamb, and Carnival with confetti.

However, true monks each day live the divine events and celebrate continuously. Every week they live Great Week. Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday they live Great Wednesday, Great Thursday and Great Friday, in other words, the Passion of Christ, and every Sunday is Pascha, the Resurrection. What, must Great Week come for us to remember the Passion of Christ?

Must Pascha come with a lamb in order for me to understand "Christ is Risen" like those in the world? What did Christ say? "Be ye ready," he said. He didn't say: "Get ready now!" From the moment Christ says, "Be ye ready", people must, especially monastics, be always ready. They are to contemplate and live the divine events continuously. When someone contemplates the events of each feast, naturally they will be moved and will pray with special reverence. Then during the Services the mind should be on the events we are celebrating and with reverence follow the hymns being chanted. When the mind is on the divine meanings, a person lives the events, and is thereby altered.

On the feast, for one to feel the event, they must not work. On Great Friday, for example, if you want to feel something, then you must do nothing else but pray. In the world, the unfortunate secular people work on Great Friday. They do not send their wishes on Great Friday. "Many Years!", "May you live!", "With a bride!", etc. This is not right! On Great Friday I shut myself in my hut. Just like after the Angelic Schema the week of quiet that follows helps, because it irrigates Divine Grace to the soul and the one with the Great Schema understands what happened, so also on feasts quietness helps very much. It gives us more of an opportunity for a little rest, so we can contemplate and pray. A good thought will come, we will examine ourselves, we will say the Prayer for a bit and in this way we will feel the divine event of the day.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.