Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bible Study for Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Since I was blessed to teach a Bible Study (originally LIVE STREAM via YouTube) on the Book of Acts inspired by the Homilies of Saint John Chrysostom from 400 CE, I am sharing these lessons each day during the Paschal Season which is when Chrysostom originally preached them. Today’s Bible Study covers Acts 2.14.21. This Bible Study originally streamed LIVE on Wednesday, October 15, 2014. Here is a study guide for the session. We eventually made substantial improvements to our sound system...


I think I just miss food

It is the third day of Pascha and I’m filled up with all sorts of delicious foods, not one of them can be classified as a vegetable. I’ve eaten so many different foods the past 48 hours I’m filled up to my throat. I’ve even been drinking a lot of water to which is both good for me and helps me feel full. But I’m still hungry...

Then it occurred to me that I’m not hungry. I just miss food. After so many weeks of fasting according to the traditions of the Church, I’ve lost 22 pounds and never really felt hungry. I ate smaller meals and healthier meals at that! Now that the fast is over and I can eat whatever I wish (this week anyway) I have been going back and forth to the cupboard looking for something else to eat.

This is the time each year I REALLY struggle with self control. I admit that I have issues with eating, most times even acknowledging that I have a food addiction. From the addiction point of view I have been on a 48 hour binge very similar to an alcoholic falling off the wagon. Now is the danger zone for me. Will I get back in control, which I so enjoyed during the Fast, or will I keep eating and lose any ground I gained (or lost as the case might be) with my addiction?

If you look back to what I said “It finally starts” at the beginning of Great Lent, and also what I said in my blog post, “Healthy Body AND Soul” and you will remember how we understand the connection between our physical and spiritual life. Before I find myself on a “sin binge” like my eating binge, I better figure this self control thing out. Thankfully, next week the normal Wednesday-Friday fast will be back, and I can get back at it. I have to keep reminding myself, I’m not hungry. I just miss food.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Then there were none...

And just like that, Great Lent and Holy Week are over. There are no days left until Pascha. In fact, today is the second day of Pascha, but the Church hasn’t moved on....yet. This week is known as Bright Week or Renewal Week, and is reminiscent of the ancient Church practice for newly baptized members who would spend the first eight days of their new life in their white baptismal garments. Although this practice is no longer in effect, there are still some ancient customs employed today.

Liturgically speaking the Church commemorates the Feast of Saint George today as a “transferred Feast” from April 23rd to the Monday of Pascha. Any time the Feast of Saint George falls within Great Lent or Holy Week, the celebration is transferred to the Monday of Pascha.

ALSO each day this week we sing this hymn:
It is the day of the Resurrection. Let us shine brightly for the festival, and also embrace one another. Brethren, let us say even to those who hate us, "Let us forgive everything for the Resurrection." And thus let us cry aloud, "Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life."
This means that today is the same day as yesterday. The entire week is like one single day of Pascha until Sunday which is called Anti-Pascha, the eighth day when the Gospel story of Saint Thomas which we began today at the AGAPE Vespers is completed.

So just like that we are now fully IN Pascha. Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! There is no fasting this week, but that doesn’t mean we give up the spiritual lessons we learned this week. Today is a day of celebration, but as Orthodox we have learned (or are learning) how to always remain in control when we fast.

Many years to all our fans who celebrate today for the Feast of Saint George.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Christ is Risen!

The day you have been working so hard for has arrived. Today is the Feast of Feasts, Holy and Great Pascha. Many of you have been with us for our entire Great Lenten Journey, while some have just arrived during Holy Week. To each of you, we here at Be Transfigured (it really is just me) would like to congratulate you for the effort. But as always at Be Transfigured, your work isn’t over yet...

Just because we are celebrating the Feast of Pascha, doesn’t mean that we still don’t have much further to climb and grow in order to achieve what we Orthodox call “Theosis” or Divination. Great Lent and Holy Week weren’t about getting to today, but getting to heaven. Today is a joyous landmark for sure, but tomorrow the “real work” begins.

Once the excitement of Pascha has settled, your souls will still crave to spend time with God. Only without Great Lent and Holy services to attend it will require more dedication on your part to make the time to attend Divine Liturgy and as many other services your local Orthodox Christian Parish offers. Without constant posts about Lenten recipes and fasting techniques, it will require more dedication on your part to keep the Wednesday and Friday Fast throughout the year, although THIS WEEK OF PASCHA is fast free.

So don’t fret, don’t panic, don’t sit on your laurels! Enjoy the Feast of Feasts with a glorious banquet and start putting into action the tools you have learned during your Great Lenten and Holy Week Journey. I’ll see on the other side of Pascha (as I am writing this in advance as I will be asleep early Sunday morning) so have a blessed Pascha and as we say at Be Transfigured, Don’t forget to live a new life in Christ.

Christ is Risen!

Father Athanasios