May 2, 2021

Pascha Sunday - Rejoicing With the Angels

By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin (1807-1869) 
"Thy Resurrection, Christ the Savior, the Angels sing in Heaven."

We are not alone in celebrating this day: there is a festival in Heaven too. We are not the only ones who glorify the risen Christ: and the Angels in Heaven sing His Resurrection. "Thy Resurrection, Christ our Savior, the Angels sing in Heaven."

What about the Angels? Jesus Christ did not come down to earth for them, did not suffer for them, did not die for them, and rose again not for them; so why do they sing His Resurrection? Because they are Angels, good creatures, that is why they sing. Evil spirits will not sing now, for them all spiritual joy is intolerable, for them it is torment when others are blissful. Such is the property of the wicked. But that's not the way Angels in Heaven are. They always rejoice when others are rejoicing; whoever receives a blessing from God, they exalt, as if they themselves received this blessing. Thus, the Angels in Heaven are now rejoicing because we are rejoicing, triumphant, because we now have a triumph.

Pious listeners! Let's pause here for a few minutes. Angels now rejoice and triumph with us, because they are good beings; demons do not rejoice with us, do not triumph, because they are evil spirits. Let us now pass from spiritual beings to ourselves, to people. And whoever of us is good in soul, who is pure in heart, now rejoices from the soul, triumphs from the heart; but whoever has an unkind soul, an unclean heart, now has no joy, no triumph. Yes, the law is the same everywhere, both in Heaven and on earth: it is not common for the wicked to rejoice now; always and now only the good rejoice.

And in fact, how can those whose heart is full of anger now rejoice and triumph, whose soul is darkened by sins? Such people cannot be aware of the present triumph, they cannot feel the present joy: whether Christ would be resurrected, or whether He remained in the grave, it is all the same for them. They celebrate the present day only to be in idleness, in order to more freely satisfy their lusts. In muddy water, the most obvious objects are not reflected; likewise, the most solemn joys do not delight wicked people. His is this truth manifested? Look at an evil person, and you will see it yourself, you will see how he reluctantly greets you with his present joy and how he compulsively answers you to your joyful greeting. Why is this? Because there is no joy in him at all; his soul is such a wilderness in which the voice of joy is never heard.

O, how nice it would be if there were no such people in the world! How fun it would be to celebrate this day if it were not for these proud and arrogant, these insidious and envious, these cruel and self-serving people! And it is always painful to meet such people, but it is especially painful to meet them on happy days - I would run away from them! You would like to heartily share the joy with them, from the bottom of your heart to congratulate them on the holiday, but they are as insensible as stones, as cold as ice, as if they do not hear or see you. However, let's not grumble, everything is for the best. We are not in Heaven, but on earth: there can be no complete joy here.

Who among us is clean from filth? No one; we are all sinners, we are all more or less evil. In Heaven, evil spirits do not prevent the Angels from rejoicing; and evil people would not hurt us to rejoice if we ourselves were not involved in evil. And rather than to grumble at wicked people, it is better to cleanse ourselves of sinful filth, throw out anger from our hearts. We decorate the body for the holiday, change dark clothes to light ones. It should be so.

Today, the Church, as a queen, is all in gold, she is all clothed and infused, everything in her smells of aloe. It is shameful and indecent for us, her children, to go around now in some kind of rags. But, taking care of the external decoration, let us take even more care of the internal decoration; changing the clothes of the body, let us also change the clothes of our soul. After all, white clothes do not cover the blackness of the soul; the anger of the heart is visible under the gold. At the same time, decorating the body for a feast requires such anxiety and expense! And to decorate the soul is so easy and quick! One has only to appeal to God - and He will give us a new heart; one has only to shed a tear of repentance - and our soul, like snow, will turn white.

Therefore, let us, listeners, keep our hearts pure, wash our souls with tears of repentance - and we will brightly celebrate the present day, and no one will stop us from rejoicing now and always. Amen.