Saturday, July 1, 2017

“The feast is the Lord ever coming to us!”

Archimandrite Touma Bitar
         What is the meaning of a feast?
         Surely, we’ve got accustomed to the Liturgy, and year after year, one becomes delighted in the sound of the melodies, and exhilarated by the meanings of the words, but none of this makes the feast, this only gives a feeling of it! The feast could be, merely, some sort of emotional tickling, and in a day or two, the effect of this ticklingwill fade and the feast is forgotten until the following year.

         In fact, there is no feast except through the presence of a spiritual family, and a spiritual family doesn’t exist except through love, and there is no love except in "faith working through love(Ga 6:5), and there is no community unless each member of it holds the other in his own self, his heart, his love, and his being, and feels deeply that he belongs to this community, and realizes that this is the community where our God is pleased to dwell and He is pleased to tighten every member in it to the other.

         The community’s preoccupation in Christ, is greatly essential to feasts.Eventually, a feast is a face, not an occasion. The feast is not a liturgical service, although, liturgy is part of the feast, and an important one, but Liturgy, in itself, doesn’t make the feast. And all the celebrations that follow: the food, the drinks, the smiles, the wishesall has an ephemeral effect that lasts for a while and then fades. The real feast is to see Christ in the face of the other, and this requires training in order to behold the face of the Lord in everything, and every day, in every face, and on every occasion. As man reaches the phase where he begins to experience the saying of the elected apostle:” for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”(Ph 1:21), then life as a whole becomes Christ pulsating in everyone and in everything.  One should behold Christ in every rose, flower, plant, face, human being, event, and circumstance. When man’s preoccupation is to see God in everything, only then he truly enters the feast.  The purpose of feasts, celebrated in the Church of Christ, is for the believer to be trained on a daily basis, to exceed himself in order to behold the Lords face in everything. No Man lives for himself, nor dies for himself, if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for Him. Thus, the ultimate desire is the Master:Your face o Lord, I will seek”(Ps 26: 8).

Easter morning at Saint John the Baptist Monastery,
Holy Trinity church.
         Eventually, the face is love, and every feast which is not saturated with the Divine Love, that is in our midst, is an empty and fake feast. The true feast descends from above unto us, and is given to us as a gift, as a grace, and as a blessing, only if we are ready to receive it, as the dry land receives water every day. It is key to live, in every detail of our daily life, in order to behold the face of the master in all events. Only then we make the feast, or rather, the feast makes us, for the feast is the Lord ever coming to us, and once this is attained, the Lord dwells in our life, as an eternal life. Amen.