My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE 40 DAYS OF HOLY AND GREAT LENT
The two preceding Sundays, of the Last Judgment and of Forgiveness, together constitute -- albeit in reverse order -- a recapitulation of the whole range of Sacred History, from its beginning-point, Adam in Paradise, to its end-point, the Second Coming of Christ, when all time and history are taken up into eternity. During the Forty Days that now follow, although this wider perspective is never forgotten, there is an increasing concentration upon the central moment in Sacred History, upon the saving event of Christ's Passion and Resurrection, which makes possible man's return to Paradise and inaugurates the End. Holy Lent is, from this point of view, a journey with a precise direction; it is the journey to Pascha. The goal of our journey is concisely expressed in the closing prayer at the Liturgy of the Presanctified: '...may we come uncondemned to worship at the Holy Resurrection'. Throughout the Forty Days we are reminded that we are on the move, travelling on a path that leads straight to Golgotha and the Empty Tomb. So we say at the start of the first week:
'Let us set out with joy...Having sailed across the great sea of the Fast, May we reach the third-day Resurrection of Our Lord. Let us hasten to the Holy Resurrection on the third day...While our journey proceeds, as travelers we regularly call to mind how far we have progressed: As we begin the second day...Let us now set out with joy upon the second week of the Fast...As we start upon the third week of the Fast, O ye faithful, Let us glorify the Holy Trinity, And joyfully pass through the time that still remains...Weaving garlands for the queen of days -- the day, that is, of the Lord's Resurrection. So we continue; Now that we have passed beyond the middle point in the time of the Fast, Let us hasten eagerly towards our journey's end...So may we be counted worthy to venerate the Divine Passion of Christ Our God, And to attain His dread and Holy Resurrection.'
During each week of Holy Lent, Our faces set towards the objective of our journeying: the Savior's suffering and triumphant Passover.
The Forty days' journey of Holy Lent recalls in particular the forty years in which the Chosen People journeyed through the wilderness. For us, as for the children of Israel, Holy Lent is a time of pilgrimage. It is a time of liberation from the bondage of Egypt, from the domination by sinful passions; a time for progress by faith through a barren and waterless desert; a time for unexpected reassurance, when in our hunger we are fed with manna from heaven; a time when God speaks to us out of the darkness of Sinai; a time in which we draw near to the Promised Land, to our true home in Paradise whose door the crucified and Risen Christ has reopened for us. (Source: The Lenten Triodion)
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" - Saint John Chrysostomos
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God