Athanasius, Festal Letter 40 Fragment

For Monday of Lent Week 4

“You are they that have continued with Me in My temptations; and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Father has appointed unto Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom.” Being called, then, to the great and heavenly Supper, in that upper room which has been swept, let us “cleanse ourselves,” as the Apostle exhorted, “from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” [2 Cor 7:1]; that so, being spotless within and without—without, clothing ourselves with temperance and justice; within, by the Spirit, rightly dividing the word of truth—we may hear, “Enter into the joy of your Lord.” [Matt 25:21]

Athanasius, Festal Letter 29 Fragment

For Friday of Lent Week 3

The Lord proved the disciples, when He was asleep on the pillow, at which time a miracle was wrought, which is especially calculated to put even the wicked to shame. For when He arose, and rebuked the sea, and silenced the storm, He plainly showed two things; that the storm of the sea was not from the winds, but from fear of its Lord Who walked upon it, and that the Lord Who rebuked it was not a creature, but rather its Creator, since a creature is not obedient to another creature. For although the Red Sea was divided before by Moses [Exodus 14:21], yet it was not Moses who did it, for it came to pass, not because he spoke, but because God commanded. And if the sun stood still in Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon [Joshua 10:12], yet this was the work, not of the son of Nun, but of the Lord, Who heard his prayer He it was Who both rebuked the sea, and on the cross caused the sun to be darkened [Matthew 27:45].

Another Fragment
And whereas what is human comes to an end, what is divine does not. For which reason also when we are dead, and when our nature is tired out, he raises us up, and leads us up [though] born of earth to heaven.

Athanasius, Festal Letter 28 Fragment

For Thursday of Lent Week 3

. . . In order that while He might become a sacrifice for us all, we, nourished up in the words of truth, and partaking of His living doctrine, might be able with the saints to receive also the joy of Heaven. For there, as He called the disciples to the upper chamber, so does the Word call us with them to the divine and incorruptible banquet; having suffered for us here, but there, preparing the heavenly tabernacles for those who most readily hearken to the summons, and unceasingly, and [gazing] at the goal, pursue the prize of their high calling; where for them who come to the banquet, and strive with those who hinder them, there is laid up both a crown, and incorruptible joy. For even though, humanly speaking, the labour of such a journey is great, yet the Saviour Himself has rendered even it light and kindly.

Athanasius, Festal Letter 27 Fragment

For Wednesday of Lent Week 3

For who is our joy and boast, but our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who suffered for us, and by Himself made known to us the Father? For He is no other than He Who of old time spoke by the Prophets; but now He says to every man, “I Who speak am near.” [John 4:26] Right well is this word spoken, for He does not at one time speak, at another keep silence; but continually and at all times, from the beginning without ceasing, He raises up every man, and speaks to every man in his heart.

Athanasius, Festal Letters 22 & 24 Fragments

For Tuesday of Lent Week 3

Fragment of Festal Letter 22 (for AD 350)

Where our Lord Jesus Christ, who took upon Him to die for all, stretched forth His hands, not somewhere on the earth beneath, but in the air itself, in order that the Salvation effected by the Cross might be shown to be for all men everywhere: destroying the devil who was working in the air: and that He might consecrate our road up to Heaven, and make it free.

Fragment of Festal Letter 24 (for AD 352)

And at that time when they went forth and crossed over Egypt, their enemies were the sport of the sea; but now, when we pass over from earth to Heaven, Satan himself henceforth falls like lightning from Heaven.

Selections from Athanasius, Festal Letter 20

For Monday of Lent Week 3

1 Let us now keep the feast, my brethren, for as our Lord then gave notice to His disciples, so He now tells us beforehand, that “after some days is the Passover,” in which the Jews indeed betrayed the Lord, but we celebrate His death as a feast, rejoicing because we then obtained rest from our afflictions. We are diligent in assembling ourselves together, for we were scattered in time past and were lost, and are found. We were far off, and are brought near, we were strangers, and have become His, Who suffered for us, and was nailed on the cross, Who bore our sins, as the prophet says, and was afflicted for us, that He might put away from all of us grief, and sorrow, and sighing. When we thirst, He satisfies us on the feast-day itself; standing and crying, “If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink.” For such is the love of the saints at all times, that they never once leave off, but offer the uninterrupted, constant sacrifice to the Lord, and continually thirst, and ask of Him to drink; as David sang, “My God, my God, early will I seek You, my soul thirsts for You; many times my heart and flesh longs for You in a barren land, without a path, and without water. Thus was I seen by You in the sanctuary.” And Isaiah the prophet says, “From the night my spirit seeks You early, O God, because Your commandments are light.” And another says, “My soul faints for the longing it has for Your judgments at all times.” And again he says, “For Your judgments I have hoped, and Your law will I keep at all times.” Another boldly cries out, saying, “My eye is ever towards the Lord.” And with him one says, “The meditation of my heart is before You at all times.” And Paul further advises, “At all times give thanks; pray without ceasing.” Those who are thus continually engaged, are waiting entirely on the Lord, and say, “Let us follow on to know the Lord: we shall find Him ready as the morning, and He will come to us as the early and the latter rain for the earth.” For not only does He satisfy them in the morning; neither does He give them only as much to drink as they ask; but He gives them abundantly according to the multitude of His lovingkindness, vouchsafing to them at all times the grace of the Spirit. And what it is they thirst for He immediately adds, saying, “He that believes in Me.” For, “as cold waters are pleasant to those who are thirsty,” according to the proverb, so to those who believe in the Lord, the coming of the Spirit is better than all refreshment and delight.

2 It becomes us then in these days of the Passover, to rise early with the saints, and approach the Lord with all our soul, with purity of body, with confession and godly faith in Him; so that when we have here first drunk, and are filled with these divine waters which [flow] from Him, we may be able to sit at table with the saints in heaven, and may share in the one voice of gladness which is there.

Selections from Athanasius, Festal Letter 19

For Thursday of Lent Week 2

6 . . . But the disciples since they were wise, and therefore remained with the Lord, although the sea was agitated, and the ship covered with the waves, for there was a storm, and the wind was contrary, yet fell not away. For they awoke the Word, Who was sailing with them , and immediately the sea became smooth at the command of its Lord, and they were saved. They became preachers and teachers at the same time; relating the miracles of our Saviour, and teaching us also to imitate their example. These things were written on our account and for our profit, so that through these signs we may acknowledge the Lord Who wrought them.

7 Let us, therefore, in the faith of the disciples, hold frequent converse with our Master. For the world is like the sea to us, my brethren, of which it is written, “This is the great and wide sea, there go the ships; the Leviathan, which You have created to play therein.” We float on this sea, as with the wind, through our own free-will, for every one directs his course according to his will, and either, under the pilotage of the Word, he enters into rest, or, laid hold on by pleasure, he suffers shipwreck, and is in peril by storm. For as in the ocean there are storms and waves, so in the world there are many afflictions and trials. The unbelieving therefore “when affliction or persecution arises is offended,” [Mark 4:17] as the Lord said. For not being confirmed in the faith, and having his regard towards temporal things, he cannot resist the difficulties which arise from afflictions. But like that house, built on the sand by the foolish man, so he, being without understanding [Luke 6:49], falls before the assault of temptations, as it were by the winds. But the saints, having their senses exercised in self-possession [Hebrews 5:14], and being strong in faith, and understanding the word, do not faint under trials; but although, from time to time, circumstances of greater trial are set against them, yet they continue faithful, and awaking the Lord Who is with them, they are delivered. So, passing through water and fire, they find relief and duly keep the feast, offering up prayers with thanksgiving to God Who has redeemed them. For either being tempted they are known, like Abraham, or suffering they are approved, like Job, or being oppressed and deceitfully treated, like Joseph, they patiently endure it, or being persecuted, they are not overtaken; but as it is written, through God they “leap over the wall” of wickedness, which divides and separates between brethren, and turns them from the truth. In this manner the blessed Paul, when he took pleasure in infirmities, in reproach, in necessities, in persecutions, and in distresses for Christ, rejoiced, and wished all of us to rejoice saying, “Rejoice always; in everything give thanks.” [1 Thessalonians 5:18]

8 For what is so fitting for the feast, a turning from wickedness, and a pure conversation, and prayer offered without ceasing to God, with thanksgiving? Therefore let us, my brethren, looking forward to celebrate the eternal joy in heaven, keep the feast here also, rejoicing at all times, praying incessantly, and in everything giving thanks to the Lord. I give thanks to God, for those other wonders He has done, and for the various helps that have now been granted us, in that though He has chastened us sore, He did not deliver us over to death, but brought us from a distance even as from the ends of the earth, and has united us again with you. I have been mindful while I keep the feast, to give you also notice of the great feast of Easter, that so we may go up together, as it were, to Jerusalem, and eat the Passover, not separately but as in one house; let us not as sodden in water, water down the word of God; neither let us, as having broken its bones, destroy the commands of the Gospel. But as roasted with fire, with bitterness, being fervent in spirit, in fastings and watchings, with lying on the ground, let us keep it with penitence and thanksgiving.

Selections from Athanasius, Festal Letter 14

For Wednesday of Lent Week 2

1 The gladness of our feast, my brethren, is always near at hand, and never fails those who wish to celebrate it. For the Word is near, Who is all things on our behalf, even our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, having promised that His habitation with us should be perpetual, in virtue thereof cried, saying, “Lo, I am with you all the days of the world.” [Matt 28:20] For as He is the Shepherd, and the High Priest, and the Way and the Door, and everything at once to us, so again, He is shown to us as the Feast, and the Holy day, according to the blessed Apostle; “Our Passover, Christ, is sacrificed” [1 Cor 5:7] He it was who was expected, He caused a light to shine at the prayer of the Psalmist, who said, “My Joy, deliver me from those who surround me;” this being indeed true rejoicing, this being a true feast, even deliverance from wickedness, whereto a man attains by thoroughly adopting an upright conversation, and being approved in his mind of godly submission towards God. For thus the saints all their lives long were like men rejoicing at a feast. One found rest in prayer to God, as blessed David, who rose in the night, not once but seven times. Another gave glory in songs of praise, as great Moses, who sang a song of praise for the victory over Pharaoh, and those task-masters. Others performed worship with unceasing diligence, like great Samuel and blessed Elijah; who have ceased from their course, and now keep the feast in heaven, and rejoice in what they formerly learned through shadows, and from the types recognise the truth.

2 But what sprinklings shall we now employ, while we celebrate the feast? Who will be our guide, as we haste to this festival? None can do this, my beloved, but Him Whom you will name with me, even our Lord Jesus Christ Who said, “I am the Way. “For it is He Who, according to the blessed John, “takes away the sin of the world.” He purifies our souls, as Jeremiah the prophet says in a certain place, “Stand in the ways and see, and enquire, and look which is the good path, and you shall find in it cleansing for your souls” [Jer 6:16] Of old time, the blood of he-goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkled upon those who were unclean, were fit only to purify the flesh [Heb 9:13]; but now, through the grace of God the Word, every man is thoroughly cleansed. Following Him, we may, even here, as on the threshold of the Jerusalem which is above, meditate beforehand on the feast which is eternal, as also the blessed Apostles, together following the Saviour Who was their Leader, have now become teachers of a like grace, saying, “Behold, we have left all, and followed You” [Mark 10:28] For the following of the Lord, and the feast which is of the Lord, is not accomplished by words only, but by deeds, every enactment of laws and every command involving a distinct performance. . . .

3 But now, which is above all things most necessary, I wish to remind you, and myself with you, how that the command would have us come to the Paschal feast not profanely and without preparation, but with sacramental and doctrinal rites, and prescribed observances, as indeed we learn from the historical account, “A man who is of another nation, or bought with money, or uncircumcised, shall not eat the Passover.” Neither should it be eaten in “any” house, but He commands it to be done in haste; inasmuch as before we groaned and were made sad by the bondage to Pharaoh, and the commands of the task-masters. For when in former time the children of Israel acted in this way, they were counted worthy to receive the type, which existed for the sake of this feast, nor is the feast now introduced on account of the type. As also the Word of God, when desirous of this, said to His disciples, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you” [Luke 22:15] Now that is a wonderful account, for a man might have seen them at that time girded as for a procession or a dance, and going out with staves, and sandals, and unleavened bread. These things, which took place before in shadows, were typical. But now the Truth is near unto us, “the Image of the invisible God” [Colossians 1:15] our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Light, Who instead of a staff, is our sceptre, instead of unleavened bread, is the bread which came down from heaven, Who, instead of sandals, has furnished us with the preparation of the Gospel [Eph 6:15], and Who, to speak briefly, by all these has guided us to His Father. And if enemies afflict us and persecute us, He again, instead of Moses, will encourage us with better words, saying, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the wicked one.” And if after we have passed over the Red Sea heat should again vex us or some bitterness of the waters befall us, even thence again the Lord will appear to us, imparting to us of His sweetness, and His life-giving fountain, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink.”

4 Why therefore do we tarry, and why do we delay, and not come with all eagerness and diligence to the feast, trusting that it is Jesus who calls us? Who is all things for us, and was laden in ten thousand ways for our salvation; Who hungered and thirsted for us, though He gives us food and drink in His saving gifts. For this is His glory, this the miracle of His divinity, that He changed our sufferings for His happiness. For, being life, He died that He might make us alive, being the Word, He became flesh, that He might instruct the flesh in the Word, and being the fountain of life, He thirsted our thirst, that thereby He might urge us to the feast, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink” [John 7:37] . . .

5 Therefore let us also, when we come to the feast, no longer come as to old shadows, for they are accomplished, neither as to common feasts, but let us hasten as to the Lord, Who is Himself the feast, not looking upon it as an indulgence and delight of the belly, but as a manifestation of virtue. For the feasts of the heathen are full of greediness, and utter indolence, since they consider they celebrate a feast when they are idle; and they work the works of perdition when they feast. But our feasts consist in the exercise of virtue and the practice of temperance; as the prophetic word testifies in a certain place, saying, “The fast of the fourth, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth [month], shall be to the house of Judah for gladness, and rejoicing, and for pleasant feasts” [Zech 8:19] Since therefore this occasion for exercise is set before us, and such a day as this has come, and the prophetic voice has gone forth that the feast shall be celebrated, let us give all diligence to this good proclamation, and like those who contend on the race course, let us vie with each other in observing the purity of the fast. [1 Cor 9:24–27], by watchfulness in prayers, by study of the Scriptures, by distributing to the poor, and let us be at peace with our enemies. Let us bind up those who are scattered abroad, banish pride, and return to lowliness of mind, being at peace with all men, and urging the brethren unto love. Thus also the blessed Paul was often engaged in fastings and watchings, and was willing to be accursed for his brethren. Blessed David again, having humbled himself by fastings, used boldness, saying, “O Lord my God, if I have done this, if there is any iniquity in my hands, if I have repaid those who dealt evil with me, then may I fall from my enemies as a vain man.” If we do these things, we shall conquer death; and receive an earnest of the kingdom of heaven. . . .

Selections from Athanasius, Festal Letter 13

For Tuesday of Lent Week 2

1 Again, my beloved brethren, I am ready to notify to you the saving feast , which will take place according to annual custom. For although the opponents of Christ have oppressed you together with us with afflictions and sorrows; yet, God having comforted us by our mutual faith, behold, I write to you even from Rome. Keeping the feast here with the brethren, still I keep it with you also in will and in spirit, for we send up prayers in common to God, “Who has granted us not only to believe in Him, but also now to suffer for His sake.” [Phil 1:29] For troubled as we are, because we are so far from you, He moves us to write, that by a letter we might comfort ourselves, and provoke one another to good. For, indeed, numerous afflictions and bitter persecutions directed against the Church have been against us. For heretics, corrupt in their mind, untried in the faith, rising against the truth, violently persecute the Church, and of the brethren, some are scourged and others torn with stripes, and hardest of all, their insults reach even to the Bishops. Nevertheless, it is not becoming, on this account, that we should neglect the feast. But we should especially remember it, and not at all forget its commemoration from time to time. . . .

2 . . . Now the blessed Paul, when troubled by afflictions, and persecutions, and hunger and thirst, “in everything was a conqueror, through Jesus Christ, Who loved us Romans” [8:37] Through suffering he was weak indeed in body, yet, believing and hoping, he was made strong in spirit, and his strength was made perfect in weakness. [2 Corinthians 12:9]

3 The other saints also, who had a like confidence in God, accepted a like probation with gladness, as Job said, “Blessed be the name of the Lord” [Job 1:21] But the Psalmist, “Search me, O Lord, and try me: prove my reins and my heart.” For since, when the strength is proved, it convinces the foolish, they perceiving the cleansing and the advantage resulting from the divine fire, were not discouraged in trials like these, but they rather delighted in them, suffering no injury at all from the things which happened, but being seen to shine more brightly, like gold from the fire, as he said, who was tried in such a school of discipline as this; “You have tried my heart, You have visited me in the night-season; You have proved me, and hast not found iniquity in me, so that my mouth shall not speak of the works of men.” But those whose actions are not restrained by law, who know of nothing beyond eating and drinking and dying, account trials as danger. They soon stumble at them, so that, being untried in the faith, they are given over to a reprobate mind, and do those things which are not seemly. [Romans 1:28] Therefore the blessed Paul, when urging us to such exercises as these, and having before measured himself by them, says, “Therefore I take pleasure in afflictions, in infirmities.” And again, “Exercise yourself unto godliness.” For since he knew the persecutions that befell those who chose to live in godliness, he wished his disciples to meditate beforehand on the difficulties connected with godliness; that when trials should come, and affliction arise, they might be able to bear them easily, as having been exercised in these things. For in those things wherewith a man has been conversant in mind, he ordinarily experiences a hidden joy. In this way, the blessed martyrs, becoming at first conversant with difficulties, were quickly perfected in Christ, regarding as nought the injury of the body, while they contemplated the expected rest.

4 . . . For though all these things should proceed from the enemies, stripes, insults, reproaches, yet shall they avail nothing against the multitude of God’s tender mercies; for we shall quickly recover from them since they are merely temporal, but God is always gracious, pouring out His tender mercies on those who please [Him]. Therefore, my beloved brethren, we should not look at these temporal things, but fix our attention on those which are eternal. Though affliction may come, it will have an end, though insult and persecution, yet are they nothing to the hope which is set [before us]. For all present matters are trifling compared with those which are future; the sufferings of this present time not being worthy to be compared with the hope that is to come. For what can be compared with the kingdom? Or what is there in comparison with life eternal? Or what is all we could give here, to that which we shall inherit yonder? For we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ Romans” [8:17] Therefore it is not right, my beloved, to consider afflictions and persecutions, but the hopes which are laid up for us because of persecutions. . . .

6 Now what does this mean, my beloved, but that we also, when the enemies are arrayed against us, should glory in afflictions [Romans 5:3], and that when we are persecuted, we should not be discouraged, but should the rather press after the crown of the high calling in Christ Jesus our Lord? And that being insulted, we should not be disturbed, but should give our cheek to the smiter, and bow the shoulder? For the lovers of pleasure and the lovers of enmity are tried, as says the blessed Apostle James, “when they are drawn away by their own lusts and enticed.” [James 1:14] But let us, knowing that we suffer for the truth, and that those who deny the Lord smite and persecute us, “count it all joy, my brethren,” according to the words of James, “when we fall into trials of various temptations, knowing that the trial of our faith works patience.” Let us rejoice as we keep the feast, my brethren, knowing that our salvation is ordered in the time of affliction. For our Saviour did not redeem us by inactivity, but by suffering for us He abolished death. And respecting this, He intimidated to us before, saying, “In the world you shall have tribulation John” [16:33] But He did not say this to every man, but to those who diligently and faithfully perform good service to Him, knowing beforehand, that they should be persecuted who would live godly toward Him.

7 . . . “For the Lord your God tries you, that He may know whether you will love the Lord your God with all your heart. [Deuteronomy 13:1-3] So we, when we are tried by these things, will not separate ourselves from the love of God. But let us now keep the feast, my beloved, not as introducing a day of suffering, but of joy in Christ, by Whom we are fed every day. Let us be mindful of Him Who was sacrificed in the days of the Passover; for we celebrate this, because Christ the Passover was sacrificed. [1 Corinthians 5:7] He Who once brought His people out of Egypt, and has now abolished death, and him that had the power of death, that is the devil [Hebrews 2:14], will likewise now turn him to shame, and again grant aid to those who are troubled, and cry unto God day and night. [Luke 18:7] . . .

Selections from Athanasius, Festal Letter 11

For Monday of Lent Week 2

7 And whereas, not only in action, but also in the thoughts of the mind, men are moved to deeds of virtue, he afterwards adds, saying, “My eyes prevent the dawn, that I might meditate on Your words.” [Ps 119:148] For it is meet that the spiritual meditations of those who are whole should precede their bodily actions. And does not our Saviour, when intending to teach this very thing begin with the thoughts of the mind? Saying, ‘Whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her, has already committed adultery:’ and, ‘Whosoever shall be angry with his brother, is guilty of murder.’ For where there is no wrath, murder is prevented; and where lust is first removed, there can be no accusation of adultery. Hence meditation on the law is necessary, my beloved, and uninterrupted converse with virtue, “that the saint may lack nothing, but be perfect to every good work.” [2 Tim 3:17] For by these things is the promise of eternal life, as Paul wrote to Timothy, calling constant meditation exercise, and saying, “Exercise yourself unto godliness; for bodily exercise profits little; but godliness is profitable for all things, since it has the promise of the present life, and of that which is eternal.” [1 Tim 4:7–8] . . .

9 For faith and godliness are allied to each other, and sisters; and he who believes in Him is godly, and he also who is godly, believes the more. He therefore who is in a state of wickedness, undoubtedly also wanders from the faith; and he who falls from godliness, falls from the true faith. . . . And as when brother is helped by brother, they become as a wall to each other; so faith and godliness, being of like growth, hang together, and he who is practised in the one, of necessity is strengthened by the other. Therefore, wishing the disciple to be exercised in godliness unto the end, and to contend for the faith, he counsels them, saying, “Fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life.” [1 Tim 4:7] For if a man first put away the wickedness of idols, and rightly confesses Him Who is truly God, he next fights by faith with those who war against Him.

10 For of these two things we speak of — faith and godliness — the hope is the same, even everlasting life; for he says, “Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life.” And, “exercise yourself unto godliness, for it has the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” [1 Tim 4:7–8] . . . But as then against the adherents of Philetus and Hymenæus, so now the Apostle forewarns all men against ungodliness like theirs, saying, ‘The foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows them that are His; and, Let every one that names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” [2 Tim 2:19] For it is well that a man should depart from wickedness and deeds of iniquity, that he may be able properly to celebrate the feast; for he who is defiled with the pollutions of the wicked is not able to sacrifice the Passover to the Lord our God. Hence, the people who were then in Egypt said, “We cannot sacrifice the Passover in Egypt to the Lord our God.” [Exodus 8:26] For God, Who is over all, willed that they should go far away from the servants of Pharaoh, and from the furnace of iron; so that being set free from wickedness, and having carefully put away from them all strange notions, they might receive the knowledge of God and of virtuous actions. For He says, “Go far from them: depart from the midst of them, and touch not the unclean things.” [2 Cor 6:17] For a man will not otherwise depart from sin, and lay hold on virtuous deeds, than by meditation on his acts; and when he has been practised by exercise in godliness, he will lay hold on the confession of faith , which also Paul, after he had fought the fight, possessed, namely, the crown of righteousness which was laid up; which the righteous Judge will give, not to him alone, but to all who are like him.

11 For such meditation and exercise in godliness, being at all times the habit of the saints, is urgent on us at the present time, when the divine word desires us to keep the feast with them if we are in this disposition. For what else is the feast, but the constant worship of God, and the recognition of godliness, and unceasing prayers from the whole heart with agreement? So Paul wishing us to be ever in this disposition, commands, saying, “Rejoice evermore; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks.” Not therefore separately, but unitedly and collectively, let us all keep the feast together, as the prophet exhorts, saying, “O come, let us rejoice in the Lord; let us make a joyful noise unto God our Saviour.” Who then is so negligent, or who so disobedient to the divine voice, as not to leave everything, and run to the general and common assembly of the feast? Which is not in one place only, for not one place alone keeps the feast; but “into all the earth their song has gone forth, and to the ends of the world their words.” And the sacrifice is not offered in one place, but “in every nation, incense and a pure sacrifice is offered unto God.” So when in like manner from all in every place, praise and prayer shall ascend to the gracious and good Father, when the whole Catholic Church which is in every place, with gladness and rejoicing, celebrates together the same worship to God, when all men in common send up a song of praise and say, Amen; how blessed will it not be, my brethren! Who will not, at that time, be engaged, praying rightly? For the walls of every adverse power, yea even of Jericho especially, falling down, and the gift of the Holy Spirit being then richly poured upon all men, every man perceiving the coming of the Spirit shall say, “We are all filled in the morning with Your favour, and we rejoice and are made glad in our days.” . . .

13 Let us therefore keep the feast, my brethren, celebrating it not at all as an occasion of distress and mourning, neither let us mingle with heretics through temporal trials brought upon us by godliness. But if anything that would promote joy and gladness should offer, let us attend to it; so that our heart may not be sad, like that of Cain; but that, like faithful and good servants of the Lord, we may hear the words, “Enter into the joy of your Lord” [Matt 25:21] For we do not institute days of mourning and sorrow, as some may consider these of Easter to be, but we keep the feast, being filled with joy and gladness. . . .

14 For the Lord of death would abolish death, and being Lord, what He would was accomplished; for we have all passed from death unto life. . . . Hence, when our Saviour was led to death, He restrained the women who followed Him weeping, saying, “Weep not for Me” [Luke 23:28]; meaning to show that the Lord’s death is an event, not of sorrow but of joy, and that He Who dies for us is alive. For He does not derive His being from those things which are not, but from the Father. It is truly a subject of joy, that we can see the signs of victory against death, even our own incorruptibility, through the body of the Lord. For since He rose gloriously, it is clear that the resurrection of all of us will take place; and since His body remained without corruption, there can be no doubt regarding our incorruption. For as by one man, as says Paul (and it is the truth), sin passed upon all men, so by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall all rise. “For,” he says, “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” [1 Cor 15:53] Now this came to pass in the time of the Passion, in which our Lord died for us, for “our Passover, Christ, is sacrificed.” Therefore, because He was sacrificed, let each of us feed upon Him, and with alacrity and diligence partake of His sustenance; since He is given to all without grudging, and is in every one “a well of water flowing to everlasting life.” [John 4:14]