Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How Can We Keep the "Fire" of Pascha from Going Out?

Holy Week and Pascha services in the Orthodox Church are rich with Holy Tradition and symbolism. They are long and yet inspiring….and they are many. All in all there were sixteen services between Palm Sunday and Holy and Great Pascha. And on top of all that…..the Church asked us to fast strictly (or at least as strictly as possible) with less sleep and more prayers. In spite of all this, come 3 o’clock Sunday morning we were on a spiritual high holding our lit candles and singing Christ is Risen. How can we maintain this spiritual high in our lives without burning out?

That is not as strange a question as it may sound. Many Orthodox Christians after Holy and Great Pascha “crash” for at least a couple of days attempting to recover from the exhaustion of Holy Week. Most don’t even realize that Church services continue for an entire week, called “Bright Week”, when the Matins of the Resurrection and Divine Liturgy are to be celebrated. Even for those who are aware of the services, most Churches, if they do offer services, are lucky to welcome the Chanter a few retired citizens.

So I would like to offer a few simple suggestions to help keep the “fire” of Pascha burning brightly weeks after the celebration in the Church is complete:

1. Start every day in prayer singing the “Christ is Risen!”

2. Light your Pascha candle while saying your prayers

3. Read scripture daily (you can locate the readings of the day on many websites such as In fact Orthodox Christians read the entire New Testament (not including Revelation) each year beginning with Pascha.

4. Smile when you greet others on the “street” and wish them “Christ is Risen.” You’ll be surprised the responses you get.

Most importantly remember that it was the sense of prayer and holiness that made Holy Week so special so if you desire to keep the “spiritual high” you should keep up with the readings and services of the Church. What was special during Holy Week will still be special.

Christ is Risen!

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