|Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes - Spiritual Nourishment for the Soul - February 2007|
Entering Into Great Lent With Christian Love
The Eastern Orthodox Church enters Great Lent this year on February 19, and the celebration of Holy Pascha - our Lord's Glorious Holy Resurrection is on April 8.
The question for us all is how will we enter Holy Great Lent? We can enter this period of time with great Christian love, and considering spiritually how we can advance in our struggles, and live up to the Christian beliefs that our Lord Jesus Christ taught us.
Our Christian faith and experience is rooted in the covenant that God established with His people as detailed in the Old Testament. Through this relationship "God both reveals what He is like and obliges Himself to a particular course of action." His loyalty to the covenant often leads Him to acts of Grace and mercy i.e. leading His people out of Egypt in the Old Testament, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, expelling demons, raising the dead, resurrecting on the third day for the remission of sins.
As God is quick to act for our salvation, we are unfortunately equally quick to turn away from our obligations and responsibilities as His people. Our common and individual histories are filled with times that we have been unfaithful to His covenant. At what cost are we not so humbly so faithful, is it not at the cost of our salvation?
As we continue onward into Great Lent or rather Holy Great Lent, and it can be holy when we make it holy, we should consider it is a time for each of us to examine our faithfulness to His covenant. It is our time to recommit one another to our relationship with Christ. Let it be a time of prayer, going to Church, reading the Holy Scriptures, and the lives of the saints, fasting, loving our neighbor, and alms giving, to the Glory of His name! Above all it is a time for prayer! Pray!
On Cheese Fare Sunday the day before the fast,, and at the evening the celebration of Vespers we have the service of Forgiveness, asking one another for forgiveness. We now begin the "Covenant": a spiritual exercise for the faithful of our beloved Orthodox Church. Our active participation during this service is the first step in reconciling ourselves with all of His Creation. With forgiveness and love for one another!
So now how do we advance spiritually during Holy Great Lent? With love for God and His Church!
May the Author of the Covenant give us strength to proceed into Great Lent ever mindful of our penitential obligations and Christian responsibilities, we begin to find and behold God in our lives.
With love for God and His Church let us humbly enter Great Lent!
A blessed spiritually rewarding holy & Great Lent!
Humbly In Christ Our Lord,+Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
Who prays for you and with you!
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(c) Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes