Day 7/50 of Eastertide (Holy Fifty Days) – Hope of the Resurrection – St. Cyril of Jerusalem

The root of all good works is the hope of the Resurrection; for the expectation of the recompense nerves the soul to good works. For every labourer is ready to endure the toils, if he sees their reward in prospect; but when men weary themselves for nought, their heart soon sinks as well as their body. A soldier who expects a prize is ready for war, but no one is forward to die for a king who is indifferent about those who serve under him, and bestows no honours on their toils. In like manner every soul believing in a Resurrection is naturally careful of itself; but, disbelieving it, abandons itself to perdition. He who believes that his body shall remain to rise again, is careful of his robe, and defiles it not with fornication; but he who disbelieves the Resurrection, gives himself to fornication, and misuses his own body, as though it were not his own. Faith therefore in the Resurrection of the dead, is a great commandment and doctrine of the Holy Catholic (Universal) Church great and most necessary, though gainsaid by many, yet surely warranted by the truth. Greeks contradict it, Samaritans disbelieve it, heretics mutilate it; the contradiction is manifold, but the truth is uniform.

[St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetichal Lectures, 18]

+Lord thank you for your great love, and the hope of the Resurrection and happiness you have prepared for us. Help us to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12)+

Day 6/50 of Eastertide (Holy Fifty Days) – a transition from falsehood to truth – Pope Shenouda III

The resurrection is transition from the world of falsehood to the life of truth. From the world of evanescence to the world of immortality. From a world in which everything will be abolished after a time to an everlasting world in which there is no falsehood but well fixed truth. It is a world free from sin where men live with each other in association very pure, clear and everlasting. What else about the resurrection?

The Resurrection Is A Multi-Faceted Miracle: Here appears the miraculous power of God. How will the bodies be gathered once more after they changed into dust!? Isn’t it He who created and formed them from dust; from nothingness? Dust had been a nonentity before it existed. He who looks attentively at the resurrection from this side can consider the limitless power of God, our creator. It is enough for Him to wish and everything will be accomplished according to His will, even without an utterance. It is His will which is in root and essence an effective order, capable of doing everything. We consider the resurrection a miracle not owing to its difficulty but because our mind is unable to perceive how it takes l place!! But though the mind fails to comprehend that matter, yet faith can easily understand it. Thus, the resurrection is the creed of the believers.

[H. H. Pope Shenouda III of Thrice-Blessed Memory, Contemplations on the Resurrection]

Day 5/50 of Eastertide (Holy Fifty Days) – Let us remember the Resurrection to come – St. Cyril of Jerusalem

We shall be raised therefore, all with our bodies eternal, but not all with bodies alike: for if a man is righteous, he will receive a heavenly body, that he may be able worthily to hold converse with Angels; but if a man is a sinner, he shall receive an eternal body, fitted to endure the penalties of sins, that he may burn eternally in fire, nor ever be consumed. And righteously will God assign this portion to either company; for we do nothing without the body. We blaspheme with the mouth, and with the mouth we pray. With the body we commit fornication, and with the body we keep chastity. With the hand we rob, and by the hand we bestow alms; and the rest in like manner. Since then the body has been our minister in all things, it shall also share with us in the future the fruits of the past.

Therefore, brethren, let us be careful of our bodies, nor misuse them as though not our own. Let us not say like the heretics, that this vesture of the body belongs not to us, but let us be careful of it as our own; for we must give account to the Lord of all things done through the body. Say not, none sees me; think not, that there is no witness of the deed. Human witness oftentimes there is not; but He who fashioned us, an unerring witness, abides faithful in heaven , and beholds what you do. And the stains of sin also remain in the body; for as when a wound has gone deep into the body, even if there has been a healing, the scar remains, so sin wounds soul and body, and the marks of its scars remain in all; and they are removed only from those who receive the washing of Baptism. The past wounds therefore of soul and body God heals by Baptism; against future ones let us one and all jointly guard ourselves, that we may keep this vestment of the body pure, and may not for practising fornication and sensual indulgence or any other sin for a short season, lose the salvation of heaven, but may inherit the eternal kingdom of God; of which may God, of His own grace, deem all of you worthy.

[St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetichal Lectures, 18]

+Lord help us to control our bodies and overcome the lusts of the flesh by dwelling within You. We don’t have the power to fight, but by remembering that we are members of Your Body, we know that you have the power to fight for us, and we have only to ask and You will fight for us. Let us remember the coming Judgement and Resurrection; “Nail Your fear to my flesh, for I have feared Your judgements” (Ps 119:120), Your Holy Fear that we remember how worthless earthly lusts are, and how costly they are.+