O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

In This Sign We Conquer

Today on the Third Sunday of the Great Fast, at the midpoint of Great Lent (the midpoint is actually Wednesday), the Church strengthens us by showing us in the Cross an icon of the entirety of the Great Fast and Pascha.

Today we sing "Krestu tvoyemu poklanyayemsya, Vladiko, i svyatoye voskreseniye tvoye slavim." "We venerate Thy Cross, O Master, and glorify Thy Holy Resurrection." We participate in the sacrifice of Christ that we might win against our enemies. We suffer together with Christ that we might be a part of His Resurrection. We empty ourselves by fasting and take part in His suffering on the Cross, that by this sacrifice we might defeat our worldly enemies and attain the victory of Heaven. The whole reason why Christ's Death and Resurrection is important is because Christ alone survives death, so we must be a part of Him if we wish to survive our own deaths. He is our only Savior. By that fact we know that the Holy Cross is indeed "our only hope", as the medieval hymn goes: "Ave O Crux, spes unica." "Hail, O Cross, [our] only hope."

By participating in Christ's suffering and death, we participate in His victory for the love that endures suffering is the victorious love. In our Lenten practices-as well as our penitential practices throughout the year-we participate in the suffering of Christ, for it is in suffering that we, who have received Christian Love from God, attain victory. The love that endures suffering is the victorious love. Christ, the one "anointed" with Divine Love, suffered and by surviving His suffering He survived His enemies, leaving them useless against Him. Such is the nature of Love. The bigger the suffering that is survived, the bigger the victory. Let us participate in Divine Love, a life that attains victory by surviving suffering as Christ Our God survived suffering.