As we move into the month of March, we start to see hints here and there of spring. The days are getting longer, the sun seems to be stronger, we see more slush and puddles then ice. Matching this movement from winter to spring, is the Great Fast.
As our season moves from cold to warm, dark to light, the Church presents us with an opportunity to move from the passions of “sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk” to the virtues of “chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant” (the Lenten Pray of St. Ephraim).
Having just entered the Sundays of preparation for the Great Fast, the Church provides us with a chance to take account of our relationship with Jesus Christ before we can journey with Him to his saving passion, death and resurrection.
Do we seek forgiveness from God like the Tax Collector or our own vanity like the Pharisee (Lk. 18:10-14)? Do we in repent like the Prodigal son, and leave our poverty for the Fathers house, or are we resentful of mercy like the older brother (Lk 15:11-32)? Do we harden our hearts towards other, or do we respond to each with the opportunities and gifts we are given to help? (Mt. 25:31-46) And finally do we forgive as we have being forgiven (Mt. 6:14-21)?
The nature of these questions bring light to what we lack, what is missing, and what needs to be attended to in our spiritual life. And the Great Fast is the time in which we not only “deal” with these issues, but do so in a way that puts God into the equation, and not just ourselves. “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain”.(Ps 127:1). May the Lord strengthen us for this work.
As we get closer to the beginning of Lent, I will post some notes on events like the first week of the Great Fast with the Canon of St. Andrew, and the Liturgy of the Presanctified gifts, Sunday of Orthodoxy, The feast Annunciation, and the Winnipeg Orthodox Clergy Association’s Lenten Vespers series.
As always, Great Vespers on Saturday 5:30pm (Except Saturday March 16th) preceded by a moliben to St. Nicholas (4:30pm). Please submit the names of any persons who you would like to have prayed for. Confession can be made by appointment to either Father Bob or myself. Divine Liturgy Sunday mornings 9:30am.
May the Lord bless us all in this month.