Χριστός ανέστη! Αληθώς ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
ХристосВоскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
«Rejoice!». «Peace be unto you!»
`Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’ “ (St. Matthew 5:8).
A brother said to Abba Poemen, ‘Give me a word,’ and he said to him, As long as the pot is on the fire, no fly nor any other animal can get near it, but as soon as it is cold, these creatures get inside. So it is for the monk; as long as he lives in spiritual activities, the enemy cannot find a means of overthrowing him.’ (111. )
A brother asked Abba Poemen, ‘How can a man avoid speaking ill of his neighbour?’ The old man said to him, ‘We and our brothers are two images; when a man is watchful about himself, and has to reproach himself, in his heart he thinks his brother better than he; but when he appears to himself to be good, then he thinks his brother evil compared to himself. (148 )
Abba Poemen said that a brother asked Abba Simon, ‘If I come out of my cell and find my brother amusing himself, I amuse myself with him and if I find him in the act of laughing, I laugh with him. Then when I return to my cell, I am no longer at peace.’ The old man said to him, ‘So, when you come out of your cell and find people laughing or talking you want to laugh and talk with them, and when you return to your cell, you expect to find yourself as you were before?’ The brother said, ‘What should I do?’ The old man replied, ‘Be watchful inwardly; be watchful outwardly.’(The Alphabetical Collection Translated, with a foreword by Benedicta Ward, SLG ;Patrologia Graeca, vol.65, col. 71-440 DOC, 137. )
Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
If we fulfill the law of God in our thoughts, how much easier would it be then for us to fulfill it in our deeds? That is, if we do not transgress the law of God in our thoughts, how much easier would it be not to transgress it in our deeds? Or still, if our hearts, tongues, hands and feet are with God, then our entire body cannot be against God. Heart, heart, prepare your heart for God. Consecrate it to God; worship God; fulfill the law of God in it; unite it with God; and all the rest will follow and will be governed by the heart. It is not he who holds the spoke of the wheel that steers the wheel, but he who holds its axis. The heart is the axis of our being. Speaking about the commandments of God, the Venerable Hesychius says, “If you compel yourself to fulfill them in your thought, then you will rarely have the need to strain yourself to fulfill them in deed.” That is, if you set your hearts on God, as on an axis, then the wheels will easily and comfortably follow the axis. In other words all of man will follow after his own heart. “Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 39(40):9), says the all-wise David.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
Elder Tychon (Golenkov) the ascetic Athonite used to say, “Whenever one prays, the prayer must unite with the heart just like you join two different things together with glue”’
Keep watch over your heart throughout your life. Keep an eye on, and pay attention to, what it is that impedes you from uniting it to all-blessed God.
“Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God. When shall I come to appear before the presence of God?” Thy name, Lord, is Almighty, because Thou holdest not only heaven and earth, but also all mankind, the life of every man, the hearts of all in Thy Hand; Glory to Thine infinite Omnipotence, Lord! Glory to Thine All-merciful, Most-wise, and All-powerful Providence! Lord of heaven and earth!
St. John of Kronstadt
Archimandrite Zacharias (Zacharou)
When you read in Scripture, the Kingdom of God is within us (Lk 17:21), what does this mean to you? The Church Fathers refer to this place within also as the “Heart.” It is in this place that God has fashioned that God abides so He can manifest Himself through each person. The role of the Church is to help us discover this deep place of the “Heart” that is also the center of our soul.
It is the place within where we wage a battle for our salvation. This is the target of all our ascetic efforts. We want it to be made pure. Jesus has told us that the pure of Heart will see God. As we seek to become united with God, to overcome our sinfulness, we desire that our soul, its “Heart” be ignited by His grace.
Jesus told us, You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Matt 12:30) So, what does this mean? Saint Gregory Palamas says the heart is the body of our body, a place where our whole being becomes like a knot. When our mind and heart are united we have only one thought––the thought of God. All of our desire is focused on God. When we give our whole mind, our whole heart to God we are totally focused on Him. In this stance we receive His grace and are given the ability to do His will. In this way we attain what Apostle Paul meant when he said that Christ is formed in us (Gal 4:19). We become whole and are perfected.
When our whole heart and mind are turned to God we become holy, enlightened, “the light of the world.” It is in this way that God directs our life, fulfilling the purpose He has for us.
Reflect on the following passage from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus told His disciple the following:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In this same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
We want to purify our heart so that is shines, becomes a great light, enabling us to take action in the world in a way that glorifies God, that encourages others to purify their hearts and to seek God with their whole heart and mind and soul. In this way the whole world can become a great light.
The great tragedy of our time lies in the fact that we live, speak, think, and even pray to God, outside our heart, outside our Father’s house. And truly our Father’s house is our heart, the place where ‘the spirit of glory and of God’ would find repose, that Christ may ‘be formed in us’. Indeed, only then can we be made whole, and become hypostases in the image of the true and perfect Hypostasis, the Son and Word of God, Who created us and redeemed us by the precious Blood of His ineffable sacrifice.
Paschal Troparion tone 1
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!
Tone 2. By Koumoulas.
Why do you mingle sweet spices with your tears, O Women Disciples? The stone has been rolled away; the tomb has been emptied; see corruption trampled on by life, the seals clearly bearing witness, the guards of the unbelieving fast asleep. Mortality has been saved by the flesh of God. Hell is lamenting. Run with joy, say to the Apostles: Christ the first born from the dead has slain death and is going before you into Galilee.
The Myrrhbearers rose at dawn and came to your tomb with haste. They were seeking you, O Christ, that they might anoint your spotless body, and instructed by the words of the Angel, they proclaimed the joyful signs to the Apostles, ‘The author of our salvation has risen, despoiling death but granting the world eternal life an d his great mercy’.