The Shepherd, April, 2008
Christ is Risen!
Truly, He is Risen!
WE GREET all our readers, helpers & supporters on the approaching greatest of festivals, the Lord’s Pascha. May its light & joy illumine your way through the trials of this present life, granting you encouragement, perspective & support in every circumstance of life.
FROM THE FATHERS
“IT IS GOOD that the women are reported to have been carrying with them spices which they had prepared. Our spices are our voices in prayer [Rev. 5:8]. What in Greek is called ‘spices’ (aromata), in Latin is called ‘incense’ (odoramenta). We bear spices to the tomb of the Lord early in the morning when, mindful of the Passion and death which He underwent for us, we show to our neighbour outwardly the light of our good actions, and are inwardly aflame in our heart with the delight of simple compunction. If the women sought the Lord’s body with such great care, how much more appropriate it is for us to stand with all due reverence before His sight as we celebrate His Mysteries, since we recognize that He is risen from the dead, that he has ascended into Heaven, and that the power of His divine majesty is present everywhere? See how it says the spices were prepared earlier. We ought to purge from our hearts pointless thoughts before the time of prayer.”
Venerable Bede of Jarrow, + 735 A.D.
“OTHER WOMEN came after the earthquake [see Matt. 28:1-3] … and found the grave open and the stone rolled back. However, the Virgin Mother [“the other Mary’] was there when the earthquake took place, when the stone was rolled back, when the sepulchre opened with the guards present, though they were completely overcome with fear. That is why the guards immediately thought of fleeing when they recovered and showed signs of life. However, the Mother of God rejoiced without fear at what she beheld…. I believe that the life-bearing grave opened first to the Theotokos. It was for her and by her grace that all things were revealed unto us - everything that is in heaven above and on the earth below. For her sake, the angel shone so brightly, so that, even though it was dark, she beheld by means of the angelic light not only the empty sepulchre, but also the burial garments which were neatly arranged, thereby witnessing the resurrection of her Son.”
St Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica, + 1359 A.D.
“FORTUNATE is the man who has come to have God as his helper and to have his hopes in Him alone. Let the devil bear malice towards him, let all men persecute him and plot against him, let all his adversaries fight against him - he never fears anyone, because he has God as his helper. He remains always a victor, always glorified, always happy, always rich, always cheerful and joyful, even if he happens to fall into extreme poverty and into great many adverse and grievous circumstances of the present life. For inasmuch as he hopes in Almighty God, he does not despair, he is not sorry, is not anxious, but expects help from Above. Fortunate, then, is such a man and worthy to be deemed happy, just as the Prophet King David regards such a man as happy, saying: ‘Blessed is he of whom the God of Jacob is his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God’ (Ps.145:5). Such were all the Prophets, the Apostles, the Martyrs, the Holy Ascetics and all the Saints from the beginning of time.”
Ven. Nikephoros of Chios, + 1821 A.D.
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