Saturday, April 19, 2014

Met. Georges Khodr: Who Shall I Be at Pascha?

Arabic original here. My translation is rather inadequate to the beauty of this piece.

Who Shall I Be at Pascha?

How should I conduct myself at Pascha? If the word means passing over, then there's nothing left for me except to leave everything to meet Christ. There is nothing in the feast except for Christ. There is nothing in Christianity except Christ. Everything else is just a way to talk about Him. It is an expression of Him. Once I was asked what I would keep from this world if I was stranded on a desert island. I answered, "The Sermon on the Mount from Matthew and the Gospel of John." You know, Lord, that we Orthodox read the entire Gospel in our homes during Holy Week because the Gospel is You.

How should I conduct myself at Pascha? I try to become the Gospel, to become the word so that people may read me and live. Christianity is faces that are illumined in order to give light. This is the living Pascha. It is what causes me to pass through people to the Father's face. How should I live? "I do not live, it is Christ who lives in me." Christianity is not a religious system. It is love-- that is, clinging to Christ such that you forget your own face in order to see His face and the whole world in His face. If we are people of Pascha, then we are in a state of constantly going beyond ourselves and the world in order to become Him and for Him to become us. It is not a matter of systems and it is not a matter of theoretical principles. Everything is His face, until all faces pass away or we read Him traced upon them.

How should I conduct myself? I should forget myself until I see Him and Him alone in me, until I see myself overlooking all existence. How should I conduct myself? I should place Him before my eyes and see Him as the existence that makes everything else superfluous for me. I do not converse with Him-- I encounter Him. Your face, O Lord, Your face is my desire until the moon passes away.

I am passing, Lord, until I meet You. Do not let me be distracted: "Let Your face shine upon your servant" so  that I may be of Your light. Take me to You so that I may know You. Do not leave me to the desolation of this world. Do not leave me as prey for the beasts. Come, and in your coming I will come into being. If you come to me, I will complete my path to your face, O Lord. If I see you, Your face will become the world. Nothing is of use to me except for Your face. It itself is Pascha. Let no face distract me from You. Fix my eyes upon You. Every day I desire Your face, Lord. I am content with it as life for me. Train me to see You as everything in this age and in the age to come, and I will understand that You are existence. Teach me to leave everything so that I may see You. If I reach You, then You guide me. I become a person of Pascha in You. If I arrive at You, then my way has ended.

There is nothing after Christ and nothing other than Christ. If you are not an extension of Him or an expression of Him, then you are nothing. At Pascha, I become Him or I am nothing. If I have loved Him, then I grow through Him and I  grow in Him. I do not want anything in His place because He is everything. All the saints are in Him and unto Him and if you look at their faces, do not look for them.  Search for the face of Jesus traced upon them.

How should I conduct myself at Pascha? My only affair with my soul is to bring it to the Lord. With Him it comes into existence. The Father is the beginning and the end and in Him the Christ of history pours forth. I am nothing if I do not become a person of Pascha, one who looks to the Father, the end point.

I am nothing if the Lord has not brought me to the face of His Father and this will not happen unless I have become the place of Pascha, the point of passing from myself to the Father through Christ Jesus.

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