Should We Share Our Paschal Joy with Secular People? Clergymen Reply

Tamara Amelina | 14 April 2015
Clergymen speak about manifestations of love towards one's neighbors, people's wish to share the Good News of the resurrected Christ, and also about Christian sincerity.
Bishop Jonah (Cherepanov) of Obukhov

Bishop Jonah (Cherepanov) of Obukhov

Bishop Jonah (Cherepanov) of Obukhov: “We cannot impose our feelings.” 

In his Paschal Homily, St. John Chrysostom calls all – both those who fasted and those who did not – to Paschal joy. We know the words of Christ: “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

The best manifestation of Paschal joy will be a manifestation of love, an exceptional manifestation of love towards our neighbors. 

We should always, in all situations of life, treat our neighbors with love, patience, and reverence. But the Paschal Days are ones of special zeal in this direction. It is like university students, who study throughout the year, but work especially hard at the time of their examination periods: they revise everything they learned and study materials that they have forgotten. It is the same at certain periods of the liturgical year, when Christians should be particularly zealous.

During the fast, one should put more effort into repentance, humility, patience, prayer, fasting, and the other virtues.

During the Paschal period, Christians should strive to share the Good News of the Resurrected Christ and to share their love. First of all, they should manifest this Paschal joyful love towards all their neighbors.

I believe that Christians should not torture themselves or feign anything. As a priest I know says: “One should be, and not appear.” Indeed, one should be a Christian. If a person has Paschal joy, even if he tries to hide it, or even if he is reserved, this joy will stream forth from him. It will literally flow like a fountain from such a person.

In that case, there will not be any compulsion to force oneself to show any kind of joy. If a person has it, he will share it unwittingly with others. However, if a person does not have it, it will be quite difficult for such a person to share it.

In my opinion, we should by no means impose our feelings on anyone who is close to us, on those who have not yet accepted the grace of Pascha, which we have, on those whom the Lord has not yet touched, and whose hearts are yet darkened.

In this case, if we see people who are indifferent or even hostile, we should pray in the depths of our hearts: “Lord, touch these people with Thy grace,” “Lord, make them Thine,” “Lord, come to them.” This will also be a manifestation of love towards people who are close to us.

Archpriest Vladimir Novitsky: “There Should Be Reverence.”

Archpriest Vladimir Novitsky: “There Should Be Reverence.”

Archpriest Vladimir Novitsky: “There Should Be Reverence.”

We attain Paschal joy, everything is wonderful, the fast has ended, and we feel this joy and wish to share it with others, but how should we do so?

I would say: in the same way as with children – with reverence and humility. If we share it with insolence: “Well, you do not understand anything; we feel joy, but you do not understand anything whatsoever; you did not fast, so you do not have the right to feel joy or anything.” This would, of course, be ridiculous.

But this reverence should exist so that our joy would not be simply of the flesh, not simply sensual: all is good, everyone greets us with “Christ is Risen!”, everything is beautiful and bright, there are no restrictions, and so on.

Nobody will believe it, but they will believe it when we start talking about it with reverence. But how is this done? How can one learn reverence? You know, there is a wise saying that nobody can teach it to you, but only you yourself can learn it. There are things that cannot be taught, but that can only be learned by oneself, and should be done by oneself. And how this is done, we will learn when we will study it, in the process of study.

Translated from the Russian.

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