Sunday, March 31, 2013

"... a Paschal miracle occurs in our hearts ..."

Though I have already offered my usual annual post for the Feast of the Resurrection, this year I'm offering a second one. This photo was taken last night during the singing of the Exsultet at the Easter Vigil at Toronto's Holy Family Church, where I attended the liturgies of the Paschal Triduum this year. As I've done annually for most of the past several years, I also spent part of the last three days rereading Alexander Schmemann's O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?, a series of concise yet rich meditations on the Christian understanding of death and resurrection. One of the book's chapters is dedicated to the memory of Schmemann's teacher Sergei Bulgakov and includes the following long quotation from Bulgakov himself, reflecting upon the experience of Easter night:
When the doors are opened, and we enter the temple shining with gleaming lights, during the singing of that exalted Paschal Canon, our hearts are filled with an abundant joy, for Christ has risen from the dead. At that moment a Paschal miracle occurs in our hearts. For we behold Christ's resurrection; we look at the radiant Christ and approach him, the Bridegroom, coming from the grave. We then lose awareness of our surroundings, we seem to come out of ourselves; in the silence of arrested time and the glow of the pure whiteness of Pascha all earthly colors fade, and our soul is smitten solely with the ineffable light of the resurrection. "Now all is filled with light, heaven and earth, and the regions below." In the Paschal night mankind is offered a foretaste of the age to come, the possibility of entering the kingdom of glory, the kingdom of God. The language of our world has no words to express this revelation of the Paschal night, its perfect joy. Pascha is life eternal, consisting in being led by God and communion with him. It is truth, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. This was the first word with which the resurrected Lord greeted the women disciples: "rejoice" (Mt 28:19); and greeting him, the first words heard by the apostles were: "Peace be with you" (Lk 24:36).
Peace to all. AMDG.


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