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Power and Meaning of Holidays

[II Tim. 2:20–26; Luke 19:37–44] The peo­ple cry out: “ho­ san­na!” — while the Lord weeps. Does not some­thing sim­i­lar occur at our church cel­e­bra­tions? In those days, there was a solemn resem­ blance; but the Lord looked at what was in the souls invis­i­bly, and saw it to be wor­thy of weep­ing. For us also, the hol­i­day is always vis­i­bly fes­tive; but is every­one’s inner mood this way? One has no under­ stand­ing at all of the pow­er and mean­ing of hol­i­days; anoth­er grop­ ing­ly feels some­thing dark­ly, but sees noth­ing clear­ly; while anoth­er remains almost unno­ticed, but his feel­ing and mood are wor­thy of the fes­tive occa­sion. Our hol­i­days take many sac­ri­fices. But how many of them are intend­ed for the Lord and one’s broth­ers and sis­ters? Either none, or the most insignif­i­cant bit; one’s bel­ly and vain rush­ing around take almost all. This can­not be con­ cealed from the Lord, and it is not sur­pris­ing if, to speak in a human way, He weeps when we utter fes­ tive excla­ma­tions. These are those redeemed, jus­ti­fied, adopt­ed as sons!… They gave a promise, took on an oblig­a­tion to walk in the spir­ it and not com­mit flesh­ly lusts, while here what goes on among them? The sons of the King­dom are worse than the basest slaves!…

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse