March 2020 - Message from Fr. Timothy - "Thinking of Lent"
Lent begins on Monday, 2nd of March, I thought the following could serve as a meditation to help us focus on this Holy Season.
The Forty Days is a season of grace to help prepare our hearts to celebrate the Feast of the Christian Passover (Pascha or Easter). It is our annual retreat in preparation of the Feast of the Resurrection. Forty days is one tenth of a year, a tithe of our year given over to the Lord. The Forty Days is a time for remembering what Christ did for us by his death and resurrection. Like the ancient Hebrews on their pilgrimage to the promised land, we, too, are pilgrims on our way to the promised land--the life of the age to come.
During our retreat, we set aside other pursuits in order to seek the Lord more earnestly, in repentance, humility, and a sincere desire to be more fully conformed to the will of Christ in every area of our lives. The Old Testament readings remind us of who we are – our history – our relationship to God. Our hymns and prayers call us to take the high-road to repentance. We hear this message especially at the Monday evening Compline, the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy on Wednesday and the Akathist Hymn on Friday. The first high-road to repentance is the humble acknowledgment of our sins before God. To acknowledge sin helps us to stop sinning. Receiving the Sacrament of Confession worthily is an important part of our Lenten journey.
The second high-road is to forgive those who trespass against us, to forget the wrongs done to us, and to refrain from unrighteous anger. The third high-road is to pray with fervent and diligent prayer, knowing that God will surely hear those who seek him diligently. The fourth high-road to repentance is almsgiving. Freely God has given to us. He calls us to give freely to others, especially to those who lack basic necessities, for the measure we give will be the measure we receive.
Another road to repentance is fasting – self-denial – discipline about what and when we eat. Self-control becomes a key for correcting faults and avoiding sin. Are we ready to seek the Lord in this season, with humility, with fasting, with fervent prayer, and with almsgiving? Ask God to lead us in this time of retreat, to free us from distractions, and to strengthen us in reforming your life.
"Lord Jesus Christ, help me to set aside distractions and unnecessary pursuits that I may seek you diligently in this season of the Forty Days. Help me to examine my life in the light of your truth and grace, that I may conform my life more fully to your will. May all that I do be pleasing to you."
Blessings, Fr +Timothy
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