Friday, March 27, 2015

Meditations for Pasca (Ancient Faith Publishing)

Meditations for Pascha is the fourth book in a series by Fr. Vassilios Papavassiliou. The previous three were Meditations for Advent, Meditations for Great Lent, and Meditations for Holy Week. The book begins by discussing the meaning of the week which follows Pascha, also known as Bright Week or Renewal Week. There are three themes for this week - water, light, and renewal. It is in this week that we celebrate all things being made new by Christ's Resurrection. We also begin to get hints of Pentecost, despite it still being more than a month away. The rest of the book dedicates individual chapters to the weeks that follow Pascha, like Thomas Week; Week of the Myrrh-Bearing Women, Week of the Blind Man, etc.

Thomas Sunday was an interesting read. For starters, it is also known as Antipascha, not because it is in opposition to Pascha, but "instead of Pascha." On the Sunday of Pascha, in the evening, there is a Vespers service called the "Agape Vespers." In this service, the Church hears about the first post-Resurrection appearance of Jesus. If people are unable to make it to this service, then the following Sunday, known as "Thomas Sunday," they can hear about Thomas seeing the Risen Lord. Therefore, some of the Church is like Thomas in that he wasn't present when all the others first saw Jesus after his Resurrection. Little things like this are what makes the Orthodox calendar so awesome.

Another section, I particularly liked is the Week of the Paralytic. We all know this Gospel story from John. There was a man who lay at the pool of Bethesda who was paralyzed for 38 years. An angel would go down and stir the waters, and the first person who went in the water was cured. However, for 38 years, someone always went into the water before him, so he never was healed until Jesus came and healed the man Himself. Instead of focusing on the paralytic, Fr. Papavassiliou focuses on those around the man and compares them to us. We are all suffering from some sort of spiritual illness or paralysis. We may try and do good for our neighbors and help them when it's convenient for us. But what about when it comes down to us or them? Will we choose them over us? We like to think so, but unfortunately we are usually selfish and think only of ourselves.

This was another superb book of meditations by Fr. Papavassiliou. I believe there is one more book coming out in this series on the Twelve Great Feasts. After that, I believe the series will be done. I'm not sure the ins and outs of publishing and what kind of response is needed to merit a new printing of a book, but if possible, I think combining all of these Meditations books in a nice leatherette edition would be a nice idea, especially if it is the same quality as The Ancient Faith Prayer Book.

This book was provided to me for free by Ancient Faith Publishing in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!