The light and joy on the feast cannot be taken away,
Though all are far from perfect,
And the soul, drinking in the grace,
Will touch everlasting bliss!
A mouth without a heart is idle speech,
Just as smoke without fire is easily carried by the wind.
Let us proclaim, having fulfilled our assignment,
“Christ is Risen!” in our lives.
Hieromonk Roman (Matyushin-Pravdin)
On the Apodosis of Pascha some brethren of the Moscow Sretensky Monastery have answered the question of how to preserve Paschal joy.
Paschal joy can accompany you throughout your life if you have strong faith in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. Because this is the faith that conquered the world; or rather, everything earthly that makes you a part of the earthly system of relations, with its passions, corruptibility, and love for various idols. And when you understand that behind these values that will remain on earth there are the eternal values for which it is worth living and treasuring your life, you transform and rebuild your life itself.
In some cases, it is not only about adding the morning and evening prayers to your everyday life, but about restructuring your life itself. Some change their jobs, others change their hobbies, circle of friends, holidays and week schedule in terms of priorities and long-term expected results.
So, when you have this faith in the Resurrected Savior, Who is the same yesterday, today and forever, Who meets with you not only in the church once a year during the celebration of Pascha, but also hears your prayers, shares with you the yoke and the burden of everyday life, then you can have Paschal joy every day, always. And especially when you feel bad, when you understand that it will go and there is something more important, more valuable behind any sorrow and any misunderstanding. Therefore, Paschal joy can be preserved. But there is no simple answer here.
To give an answer to the question of what specifically you should do in order to prolong this joy, you need to look deeply. And you should make efforts. If at some point you feel that you are losing this joy, then you need to immediately analyze at what point this happens and why.
If you were able to acquire it, then spiritual advice also helps in how to keep it—first of all, a counsel of a father-confessor or experienced Christians. Sometimes even enemies help you understand this. They are our best teachers because they will honestly and impartially tell us everything they think about us. And, therefore, they will help us improve our behavior or way of thinking. So, firstly, attention is needed. It is what the Holy Fathers call sobriety, vigilance over your soul or contemplation.
Secondly, you need sensitivity. Especially when you see this or that sign, God’s answer or God’s miracle. Many people, one way or another, although it is not customary to talk about it, experience miracles in their lives, but forget about them very quickly. They are like the nine lepers who, having been healed, left, ran away, and did not return to praise the Lord Jesus.
And so, we focus our attention on the Samaritan who returned to give praise to God, and we try to keep and prolong this moment with our sensitivity, primarily through words of gratitude to the Creator for giving us the privilege of experiencing this miracle. So, the second point is sensitivity.
And the third factor is perseverance. No pain no gain. And why do we want everything in the spiritual life to be very easy? In that very spiritual life, which has the price of Life! And what do we want? Without making any efforts we want just to come to church, have our pussy-willow branch blessed and that’s all? After that we expect the pussy-willow branch to protect us for a whole year?... No. You need perseverance and painstaking efforts to reform, to improve. How? By purifying your heart. Of course, it is only into the pure heart that the Holy Spirit comes, instructing us in all truth, bestowing the grace of God on us and giving us inspiration for good deeds.
Hieromonk Platon (Kudlasevich):
The Radiant Resurrection of Christ is the most joyful feast for all the faithful. It is the triumph of life over death, the triumph of good over evil. The Lord Jesus Christ through His Passion, death on the Cross and Resurrection opened the doors of Paradise and gave everyone who desires it the opportunity to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
In order to preserve the joy of the Radiant Resurrection of Christ the Holy Church invites you to participate in the services of Bright Week. They are special and solemn. Paschal hymns (the canon, the stichera, the Hours) are sung, and after the Liturgy the procession of the cross is held daily, holy water is blessed on Bright Friday, and a special Paschal prosphora, artos, is distributed on Bright Saturday. The Royal Doors are open throughout the week in all churches. There is an opportunity to partake of the Holy Mysteries of Christ throughout the week.
The faithful greet each other with the words, “Christ is Risen!” All this is evidence of their participation in the joy of the Resurrected Savior.
I would like to answer simply to the question of how to preserve Paschal joy: together with the Church, by participating in the Eucharist and in church services.
But how can you preserve Paschal joy at least until the Apodosis of Pascha, or better, for a whole year, until the next Pascha? This primarily depends on your relationship with God, on your perception of life and the purpose of life.
Any form of gratitude to God (not only for waking up in the morning, living another day, communicating with people, helping them, doing things necessary for life, but also for the opportunity to repent, reform, participate in the Church sacraments, and become like Christ) in a sense is thanksgiving for His blessings which we have received thanks to the Incarnation, the Passion, the death on the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Let’s try to fill everything that we do daily in our lives with gratitude to God for His love for all people and for each one individually. Let’s try to fulfill the Gospel commandments; let’s try not only to remember God sometimes, but to be confident that He is with us always, even unto the end of the world (Mt. 28:20).
Let me remind you of the words of St. John Chrysostom in his Paschal Homily:
“For the Lord, who is jealous of his honour, will accept the last even as the first. He giveth rest unto him who cometh at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who hath wrought from the first hour.
“And He showeth mercy upon the last, and careth for the first; And to the one He giveth, and upon the other He bestoweth gifts. And He both accepteth the deeds, and welcometh the intention, and honoureth the acts and praises the offering.
“Wherefore, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord; Receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival! You sober and you heedless, honour the day! Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away. Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.
“Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal Kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.”
Hierodeacon Seraphim (Chernyshuk):
It seems to me that, unfortunately, it is impossible for sinful people to preserve Paschal joy. It is the lot of the saints. St. Seraphim of Sarov was honored with such a blessed state, having gone through the most severe temptations and sorrows. Only in the life to come, if the Lord saves us through His ineffable mercy and we go to the Light “with joyful feet, exalting the eternal Pascha”...