Great Monday

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Like all that is passing, so have the holy Forty Days passed. Happiness and praise of the Church to those who learned during it that they are going forward along the path of life. Grief to those who lived through the holy Forty Days without thinking that earthly life is the path to heaven. Blessings and joy to those who throughout the fast searched for benefit to their souls. It is sad for those who during this soul-saving time did not notice that they have souls. Those who conducted the fast honestly now await the feast of the Resurrection of Christ. Those who related to the fast indifferently do not have the necessary understanding of the feast and just continue their work—work which is, as the apostle Paul expressed it, corruption (Rom. 8:21).

Now we have stepped upon the way of the cross of Christ. How can we walk and what shall we do on the road so that our path would not be filled with despondency?

During no other time like this week is self-introspection so needed. During this time the reading of the Gospels involuntarily enraptures a person with the promises of Jesus Christ: not to love the world, but to love Christ’s Kingdom. This week the labor of increased prayer should cleanse and adorn the soul and make it capable of receiving the higher influence of heaven.

On the path of our cross, the difficulty is eased by the soul’s yearning for God. Only this way can we tear up the tares from our souls and leave space in them for grace. The vines with boughs of super-abundant fruits are already ripened and are ready to give us the grape juice of Christ.

On the path of our cross our thoughts should be transported every minute to the suffering Christ. In co-suffering with the Lord, the soul suffers for its own self. There are tears of exhaustion, tears of longing, depression, and disappointment; there are also tears of compassion, love, consolation, and gratitude. On these tears grow hope, and through them our true happiness returns—happiness that does not pass away. Blessed are the eyes that will shed such tears at hearing about the Lord, Who is diminished and humbled like a slave.

There can be no better time on earth for a Christian as what is coming now, day by day, these two weeks—Passion Week and Bright Week. We do not know whether this Holy Week is so good over there, beyond the boundaries of life, as it is here! These two weeks on earth are the exception to the general rule of vain life.

In these weeks, Jesus Christ appears in the soul truly and personally.

Guard yourselves for the Lord’s sake, so that vanity and fuss would not take you away from church and so that this week of Christ’s passion would not be like other weeks, the endless weeks of our own destructive passions.

The Bridegroom cometh! O pious souls, go to meet Him... Amen.

Archpriest Valentine Amphiteatrov
Translation by Nun Cornelia (Rees)


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