Prayer: After Pascha

We can all easily "break the fast" in a worldly way. It's easy enough to give in to every whim and passion....and all too easy to lose any sense of moderation and discipline that we gained during the Fast. It is easy to "feast" by eating and drinking -- and we are certainly expected to do so. Yet the eating and drinking by no means exhausts the meaning of our "feasting", and if we try to make it so, it will leave us hollow, sluggish, and empty.
Fr. Michael Shanbour | 07 April 2010

Source: Christ the Savior Orthodox Christian Church

 

 

Christ is Risen!!!  Indeed He is Risen!!!

 

Glory to God for all of your efforts and prayers during this Great Lenten season, and for our dedicated chanters, servers, and participants in the prayer life of the Church!!  May we retain and not easily let go of the spiritual growth which by God’s grace has been given to us during Lent.

 

It is common to feel a “let down” after Pascha, because of the blessed discipline and intensity of prayer we find by the end of the Great Fast.  The let down can also reflect our missing the intense sense of brotherly community we experience during Holy Week.  So much of our time is spent in the Church with a common experience and goal together with our brethren, it is hard to return to a “secular” life.  Hopefully, that is because we see it more clearly for what it is — mundane, superficial, empty…it simply pales in comparison to the peace, and joy, and love of God’s Kingdom in the Church.  How do we deal with this?

 

First, by acknowledging it, and realizing that we have not yet learned to “feast” in Christ as well as we are able to fast.  Sounds strange, but in our fallenness it is sometimes easier to fast and repent then to experience authentic spiritual joy!  This is partly because true spiritual joy is preceded by purification and illumination, which I for one have not achieved.  Still, we are all growing into this joy.

 

Of course we can all easily “break the fast” in a worldly way.  It’s easy enough to give in to every whim and passion….and all too easy to lose any sense of moderation and discipline that we gained during the Fast.  It is easy to “feast” by eating and drinking — and we are certainly expected to do so.  Yet the eating and drinking by no means exhausts the meaning of our “feasting”, and if we try to make it so, it will leave us hollow, sluggish, and empty.

 

How then do Orthodox Christians feast?  The answer — almost the same way we fast — by participating in the Prayer Life and Sacramental Life of the Church.  In this case, by returning to church during Bright Week and the rest of the 40 days of Pascha, to continue the real Feast.  It is in the Church — through Her hymns and prayers and the whole “atmosphere” that we receive the spiritual reality of every Feast or Fast.  What makes a Feast a Feast?  The Church! and Her bringing the Life of Christ to us through the liturgical cycle and celebration of the Eucharist.

 

My worst experience of Paschal Let Down Syndrom (PLDS) :) was when Khouria and I lived in a place where the Church had NO services during Bright Week.  I finally realized, that was why Pascha just seemed to fade away so quickly from my heart.  It is customary to have Bright Week Liturgy every day for that reason.  Of course, every parish does what it can.

 

FYI….During this week following our celebration of Great and Holy Pascha — “Bright Week” — it is customary to substitute our normal morning and evening prayers with the brief “Paschal Hours” (below).

 

After Bright Week, for the remainder of the 40 days of Pascha (until the Feast of the Ascension of Christ) instead of “O Heavenly King…” we say “Christ is risen from the dead….” 3 times, then go on to “All-holy Trinity….Our Father.”

 

+ + +

 

PASCHAL HOURS

 

PRIEST: Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages

 

But a layman sayeth: Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us.

 

Amen. Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life.  Thrice.  Then we chant:

 

Having beheld the resurrection of Christ, let us worship the holy Lord Jesus, the only Sinless One.  We worship Thy cross, O Christ, and Thy holy Resurrection we hymn and glorify; for Thou art our God, and we know none other beside Thee, and we call upon Thy name.  O come, all ye faithful, let us worship Christ’s holy Resurrection, for behold, through the Cross joy hath come to all the world.  Ever blessing the Lord, we hymn His Resurrection; for, having endured crucifixion, He hath destroyed death by death.  Thrice.

 

The Hypakoe, eighth tone, once:

 

Forestalling the dawn, the women came with Mary, and found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre, and heard from the angel: why seek ye among the dead, as though He were a mortal, Him Who liveth in everlasting light?  Behold the grave-clothes.  Go quickly and proclaim to the world that the Lord is risen and hath slain death.  For He is the Son of God Who saveth mankind.

 

The Kontakion, eighth tone, once:

 

Though Thou didst descend into the grave, O Immortal One, yet didst Thou destroy the power of hades.  And didst arise as victor, O Christ God, calling to the myrrh-bearing women: Rejoice! And giving peace unto Thine apostles: Thou Who dost grant resurrection to the fallen.

 

And these Troparia, eighth tone, once:

 

In the grave bodily, but in hades with Thy soul as God: in Paradise with the thief, and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit wast Thou Who fillest all things, O Christ the Inexpressible.

 

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

 

How life-giving, how much more beautiful than Paradise, and truly more resplendent than any royal palace was Thy tomb shown to be, O Christ, the source of our resurrection.

 

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen

 

O sanctified and divine tabernacle of the Most High, rejoice!  For through thee, O Theotokos, joy is given to them that cry: Blessed art thou among women, O all-spotless Lady.

 

Lord, have mercy.  Forty times.

 

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

 

More honourable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption gavest birth to God the Word, the very Theotokos, thee do we magnify.

 

If a Priest Serve: In the name of the Lord, Father bless.

 

PRIEST:  O Lord Jesus Christ our God, for the sake of the prayers of Thy most pure Mother, of our holy and God-bearing fathers, and of all the saints, have mercy on us.

 

 If a Reader’s service: O Lord bless.

 

Amen.

 

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life. (thrice)

 

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

 

If a Priest Serve: Father bless.

 

PRIEST:  May Christ our true God, Who rose from the dead, and trampled down death by death and on those in the tombs bestowed life, through the intercession of His most Pure Mother, and of all the saints have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and the Lover of mankind.

 

If a Reader’s service: O Lord bless!

 

In this manner, the Third and Sixth Hours are chanted before Liturgy. Likewise also before Vespers, for the Ninth Hour; and once for Compline. Likewise for the Midnight Office. It is a pious tradition to substitute the Paschal Hours for morning and evening prayers during all of Bright week. In this way, we take a little rest from long prayers, but do not neglect to give joyous thanks to God, so as not to fall into despondency and gluttony, as we partake of festive foods.

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