CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD
DESTROYING DEATH BY DEATH
AND UPON THOSE IN THE TOMB
The Great and Holy Pascha has come and gone. But, the journey with Christ does not end! The “Birthday of the Christian Church,” Pentecost is less than 50 days away. After the final, fast-free day of the week (Remembrance Saturday), it is back to the normal Wednesday and Friday fast commemorating the betrayal and crucifixion of our Lord and Savior. Thus, even without the great milestone of remembering the day the Holy Spirit came into the world to spread the Gospel to the world, I would still have a way of life (prayer, fasting, and almsgiving) that I should still continue in. Plus, the next few Sundays contain hymns reminding us of everyone from St. Thomas, the Myrrh Bearing Women, Paralytic, Samaritan Woman, and the Blind Man. Our Lord’s Ascension is on Thursday, June 13th.
One thing about major milestones is that there are some significant milestones to be reached and revered before getting to that big one. A person with plenty of time on his hands going from Washington DC to Virginia Beach would do well to take in the history of Fredericksburg, Richmond, and Williamsburg. What tour guide doesn’t recommend a stop or two en route to one’s main destination? These are great learning opportunities and chances to check one’s bearings and supplies.
So as the spiritual journey now points to Pentecost, I am going to stop at these other points to check myself and the things that are around me. One thing I will definitely check up on is my eating habits. I ate way too much meat and cheese on Sunday and paid the painful price with a gout attack. It just so happens (God has a way of giving us help when we need it most) that podcaster and dietitian Rita Madden posted her last edition for a while entitled Eastern Orthodox Healthy Eating and Living Toolbox. Her very first, and most profound, point is that we have to like having a new wellness lifestyle. She supports this point with a quote from St. John Chrysostom, “Every work that does not have love as it’s beginning and root is nothing.” So, in order for healthy eating to work for me, I must enjoy it and seek communion with God as I do it.
Today, I started at dinner. I fixed a vegetarian chilli with garlic bread (okay, I love butter and cheese) and took about one minute between bites. My goal is to get better at eating slowly and not being quite as much of a carnivore, even on non-fast days. When I get a little better with those, I will work on reducing my portion size to “eat just enough to stave off hunger” (St. John Chrysostom). By Pentecost, I want to feast a lot better than I did on Pascha. I was far too much a glutton. I wish not to make that mistake again. If I take care to take one milestone at a time, I will get to where the Lord is leading me.