Wednesday, March 2, 2022

First Wednesday of Great Lent- fasting, prayer, alms

Let my prayer ascend to You like incense, and the lifting up of my hands like an evening sacrifice.

o Lord, I have cried to You, now hear me; listen to my voice when I call to You.

o Lord, set a guard before my mouth, and set a seal on the door of my lips.

Let not my heart be inclined to evil, nor make excuse for the sins I commit. (Psalm 141:1-4)

Now the Powers of heaven are serving with us invisibly, for behold the King of Glory enters ; the perfect, mystical sacrifice is brought forth. Let us approach with faith and love, so as to become partakers of everlasting life. Alleluia.

o Almighty Lord , You have made all things in wisdom, and by Your ineffable Providence and great goodness You have brought us to these salutary days for the purification of our soul and body, for the control of our passions, and for the hope of our resurrection. During the period of forty days You have given to Your servant Moses the tablets of the Law, having inscribed them by Your own hands. Now also grant us, 0 Gracious One, that we be able to fight a good fight, to finish the course of Lent, to preserve our faith inviolable, to crush the heads of the invisible serpents, to become victorious over sin, and to blamelessly attain and worship at the holy Resurrection. For blessed and praiseworthy is Your most honorable and glorious name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever. Amen. (prayers of the PreSanctified Liturgy)

Monday, February 28, 2022

Great Lent begins... 2022

God is ready and willing to forgive sinners, but we sinners must be ready and willing to be forgiven. For the Lenten journey to be of any effect, we must be open to be forgiveness; if we cannot forgive others nor admit our faults and be forgiven by those we have offended, there is no room within us for God’s mercy. 

Father Alexander Schmemann writes in his book Great Lent: Journey to Pascha, “the triumph of sin, the main sign of its rule over the word, is division, opposition, separation, hatred. Therefore, the first break through this fortress of sin is forgiveness: the return to unity, solidarity, love. To forgive is to put between me and my “enemy” the radiant forgiveness of God Himself. . . . Forgiveness is truly a ‘breakthrough’ of the Kingdom into this sinful and fallen word.”  God’s forgiveness is given to us via others, not alone; thus it is through mutual forgiveness that we truly begin the journey to the Resurrection. from New Liturgical Movement 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Cheesefare Sunday and Forgiveness Vespers --- wishing all a holy beginning to Great Lent 2021

Brethren-  do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. 

So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.  One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.  

The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.  

Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. (Letter to Romans) 

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  

But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,  so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.   For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Gospel of Matthew) 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

What books should I read for Lent 2021?

There's something about C. S. Lewis' fiction- His Narnia books, I can re-read and I remember almost every word. I might experience Narnia differently, but I know the land very well. With Til We Have Faces and the Space Trilogy, it is as I have never read them. So I'll be re-reading them in 2021. It has been awhile in any case. I enjoyed Out of the Silent Planet last week- I think of it as a prose poem filled with hope and wisdom. 

This past week, I (re) read Rumer Godden's In This House Of Brede. This book explores the lives of Benedictine nuns a bit before the Vatican II Council. The nuns are human, but most of them are holy. I would say that it is a very realistic, sympathetic view of the lives of religious. I have been blessed to know holy women and I even lived for a year in a convent in Slovakia when I was teaching there! There is a lot of truth in this book. But I don't know what God is telling me. Twice I have read this book in preparation for a book club, but I have not been able to go to the meeting because of family obligations. Ah- the life of a non-celibate!

I am continuing my daily Bible reading. Tomorrow, I begin the Book of Deuteronomy. Salvation history is quite a ride! And for Great Lent, I will add two books that I have read in past years, but I need to re-visit them- Thirty Steps to Heaven and Lent and Easter- Wisdom from Fulton J Sheen- ,reading every morning after my Bible. I highly recommend both of them. This year, I am going to read with a pen in my hand so that I can mark up the books. Both of these books are truly ones that should be read multiple times. Lent is coming soon; my soul needs this season and it comes just in time every year!