We will enter again this year into the purifying period of Great and Holy Lenten season. Monday, February 23rd begins our Lenten journey. This journey leads us from desolation, found in the corrupted nature of this world, to the beautiful gates of paradise, found in Christ’s resurrection. The Orthodox faithful are asked to engage these special holy days to make spiritual progress in their personal passage to salvation. The formula, given to us by the church, to accomplish this task is simple: prayer, fasting, forgiveness and charity.
An increase in corporate prayer is seen with the addition of the Presanctified Liturgy, the Salutations, Compline and Lenten Vespers. Here the Church lays out its program for your spiritual edification. By attending a number of these services each week, your spirit is led by the conscious of the Church. Likewise, in imitation of the Church, our own personal prayer life increases. As we pray at home, you will see your own prayer life blossom forth bearing fruit worthy of God’s incorruptible kingdom.
Fasting is self –sacrifice, a denial of the body to control carnal impulses. The body is more than food. It is spiritual and divine. We remember the words of the Saviour Himself when He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). By denying our flesh, as the Holy Fathers indicate, our spirit feasts on God’s commandments.