On the Lord’s Resurrection8 April 2018
Before daybreak, at night, in the innards, in the belly of the grave, the Risen Lord sprang up. ‘From the belly, before the morning-star’, the heavenly Father raised Him and since then He has been our eternal High Priest.
Christ’s resurrection is a special gift, the last gift on earth of the Lord Who welled like myrrh from that tomb. There has never been a more beautiful treasure-chamber than the Lord’s tomb. There has never been a more beautiful opening than the opening of Christ’s tomb. The Father agreed to His Son being cast into the tomb by the transgressors precisely because He intended light to rise from the grave.
The Father would have remained unknown, inaccessible, but for the coming of the second, consubstantial and co-eternal light, the light of Christ. And Christ would have remained incomprehensible to us, in the end, but for the revelation by the third light, which is one and the same, the light of the most-holy Spirit, Who came to us when we were deprived of our joy, the Lord Jesus. It was in our interests that He should leave us, so that this new light could emerge from the tomb
The prophet called You ‘the fairest of the sons of men’ and they managed to cast You into a pit, as if prophesying your eternal end. They made a mockery of this pleasure to the eyes and joy to the heart, made it into something hateful which people couldn’t bear to look at. But ‘who shall tell his lineage?’ Who can say how many would be born of this corpse. Who can number His spiritual descendants?
For the tomb of Christ, the resurrection of Christ is the beginning of a new generation. A generation which doesn’t come through the flesh of the loins but is born from the grave. From the suffering, the death in Christ, this new life arose.
It’s the race of people who are not merely not begotten but whose hearts beget them through the death they undergo. Their life begins with the death of baptism, it proceeds to their tonsure, which is again another perfect death and goes on to the third, the final one, in the grave.
So, out of the grave, from the mystical formation which occurred in the womb of Christ’s death, there grew the choicest thing our Church has: its virginal people, this new generation of monastics.
Who can understand how souls are begotten in a virginal manner? How many were able to understand that the Virgin gave birth to Christ?
How many are able to understand that our virginity is a marriage and a birth of the Holy Spirit? How many can understand that not from our loins but from our spirits and our hearts we give birth to Christ and give the world the light of the Holy Spirit?
All of this is hidden in Christ’s tomb. Our monastic life is the hidden treasure which cannot be sensed by the eyes of either passionate or merely good people, but is revealed only to infants who have chosen Christ and put Him in their hearts. In a wonderful speech to the sons of Israel, Moses the great once foretold their crossing into the promised land. ‘Don’t forget’, he added, ‘that I won’t be with you. I shall stay here. But the Lord will raise another prophet, like me, from among your brethren and he will take my place. He brought me into the world to be the prototype of Him whom you’re waiting for’.
Prophet means teacher, inspirer, someone who brings a message fresh from the Father. He opens his ears to listen to what the Father is saying, then puts it into his own mouth and passes it on to people’s souls.
So the prophet will come. He Who will move and astound hearts. He will come Who will inspire your hearts and make them heroic and ready to suffer. This is where we find the land of rest, the land of Canaan, the land of delight. But your rest and your delight is the resurrection which emerges from your suffering. You’ll be led by the first martyr, the great martyr, the great teacher, Him Who inflames people’s souls and spirits, raises them on high and takes them up into the heavens.
Therefore, my beloved fathers, the risen Lord is our eternal prophet. He it is Who moves us, Who inspires us, Who teaches us. He it is Who rose from the dead to remind us that our monastic life passes through the grave.
He is the risen Christ Who goes ahead so that we can follow. The first monk, the first father, the first ‘Elder’.
With Christ’s resurrection, God granted us the unique ‘Elder’, the unique father, in this our eternal course, which is now a resurrected life and an ‘introduction into the good things beyond’.
This risen Lord is our very life and the whole of our life is now a ‘rite of passage’. Glory and dominion to Him, the resurrected Christ our God, unto the ages of ages.