Orthodox America

  Pascha – Ransom from Sorrow

 St. Gregory of Nyssa 

    This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad! O glorious state, O sweet invitation! Who tarries in accepting this invitation? Joy is the task, jubilation the injunction, through which the judgment growing out of sin is suspended and sorrow is turned into happiness.

    Every memory of our condemnation is totally wiped out. Formerly birth was with pain but now without. Formerly we were born as sons of men but now as children of God. Formerly we were sent down from heaven to earth but now the Heavenly One has made us heavenly. Formerly death ruled through the power of sin but now through life justice has got the upper hand. One person opened the portal of death; Another Person led life back. We lost life through death in former times, but now death has been conquered by life. We hid under the fig tree of shame, but now in glory we approach the Tree of Life. We were driven out of paradise for our disobedience, but now by faith we gain paradise. Again the fruit is offered us for our enjoyment at will. Once more the fountain of paradise parted four-fold by the streams of the Gospel, gives drink to the whole Church—so that the Church may cause the furrows of our soul to overflow, those furrows ploughed by the teaching of Him Who sowed the word--and that the fruits of virtue may multiply. What, then, shall we do? What, indeed, but imitate the skipping of the mountain s and hills in the Prophet? For the mountains, he says, skipped like rams and the hills like young lambs (Ps. 114:4, 6).

    Come, then, and let us rejoice in the Lord Who has broken the power of the enemy and has raised the sign of victory of the Cross through the overthrow of the adversary. Let us raise a battle cry. But a battle-cry is a shout of victory. Because now the battle line of the enemy has been cast down, he who has power over the evil hosts of demons has vanished and, being uprooted, has sunk back into nullity.

    Let us proclaim that it is God, the great Lord and great King of all the earth , Who has blessed the crown of His Acceptable Year and has gathered us to this spiritual congregation in the Lord Christ Jesus, to Whom be the honor to the ages of ages.