Christ is Risen!
Here's the question we really should ask: Is the sense I had of being closer to God just something I experience during Holy Week and Pascha?
Here's the answer: No.
The scriptures are very clear: "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8). The reason we feel closer to God is because we are closer to God during Holy Week. All the preparation and special obligations that required us to put aside our normal routines had a purpose. That purpose was to get us to draw nearer to God so that He could draw nearer to us.
How do we maintain that? But increasing the discipline it takes to draw nearer to God. We can pray more, read our scriptures, take opportunity to serve others when they arise (or even seek them out) and so forth. Love your wife more. Love your husband more. Do good things (be patient, considerate, understanding) for your parents, children, and all other people that make your life what it is.
Most of all, remember the poor. Do good to them and God will do good to you.
It doesn't take the much to orient ourselves in the ways of God (not really) and even little things go a long way.
Sometimes people tell me they can't pray. So I tell them well, just start with two minutes here and there. Pray when it comes to your mind to pray, but really do it. Don't just put it on the to-do list (the one you carry in you mind). And if you don't know how to pray, then pray the Lord's Prayer. Do this and the difficulty of praying begins to abate and over time you end up learning how to pray and praying more. And when you pray more you draw nearer to God and He draws nearer to you.
A favorite verse of mine is, "Fear not little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom" (Luke 12:32). God desires to draw near us (incredible, no?) and desires to get to know us too. Sure, He knows all "about" us but knowing about someone is different than knowing him.
This is a simple way to retain the spirit of Pascha; that sense that we were closer to God and God to us.
Fr. Hans on Ancient Faith Radio
Fr. Hans is involved with a project for Ancient Faith Radio where we are designing a live, call-in internet radio program. Presently it runs every other week but we hope to make it weekly. It deals with contemporary topics like, atheism, demons and evil, same-sex marriage, and so forth.
Fr. Hans also was the guest on the inaugural program that dealt with the "New Atheists." It was a first effort but it went well. The program had a lot of callers and generated a lot of interest. You can find the days the program airs and the topics that will be discussed on the Ancient Faith Today website. The next program is this Sunday, May 6, at 8pm Eastern. The topic is "Demons, Exorcism, and the Paranormal."
Snowbirds: We Will Miss You!
We always know summer is coming when our snowbirds start saying good bye. The bright side of course is the reunions when they return in the fall and early winter. We are holding your seats and look forward to your return. Have a safe trip back and a safe summer and we will see you when you return!