Saturday, March 30, 2013

Paradise of the Heart

Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian: "When we make metanias, the prostrations, to stop and think about what the prostration actually means. Remember, this is not just some kind of calisthenics, and it’s not just a kowtow to show our humility; it’s a type of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, a type of our dying to sin to rise to life.”

--- Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo), Orthodox Church in America


Friday, March 29, 2013

The Astronomical Icon to Pascha

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!

It is worth thinking about that since the Orthodox Faith absolutely stresses the importance of the *physical* to salvation (the physical Incarnation of God the Word) and to worshipful living (the physical icons the restoration of which we just celebrated, the physical actions of prostrating and fasting) it makes absolutely *no* sense at all to divorce the calculation of Pascha from the actual physical events used for that calculation. There was a reason the Church chose the very physical Spring Equinox and the very physical Full Moon as physical icons to be used in the determination of the yearly day for the most-holy Feast of the Resurrection.

It is always important to stress the significant fact that our Orthodox Faith is an incarnational faith, where physical things point to and connect us with divine realities... wood and paint and art in icons, sound and motion in the hymns and services, and *also* the natural physical processes of the world that God created Good. As St. John of Damascus has said, "The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God."

It is always important to show how this is true *also* in those cases where people may not have particularly thought about it before ie where the physical astronomical events of the Spring Equinox and the Full Moon point to and connect us with the divine reality of the Resurrection... as the Church recognized them to do, even though the Orthodox Church no longer really (but only docetically) follows the Council of Nicaea anymore.

The physical world is important in connecting us with our salvation and deification. Contemplating and living the physical astronomical events which the Church chose to point to the Resurrection is a veneration of the Resurrection, acknowledgment of how "The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 19:1)