The Lenten Season is a Perfect Opportunity to ... special spiritual effort to rediscover their...
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GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA METROPOLIS OF NEW JERSEY
Message from Fr. Michael L. Pastrikos, ProtopresbyterMARCH/ª∞ƒ∆πO™ 2016
The Lenten Season is a Perfect Opportunity to Rediscover Our Relationship with Christ
CONTINUED ON PAGE 5
Let us begin the Lenten time with delight… let us fast from passions as we fast from food, taking pleasure in the good works of the Spirit, that we may be granted to see the Holy Passion of Christ our God and the Holy Pascha, spiritually rejoic- ing.
The season of great lent is the time of prepara- tion for the feast of the resurrection of Christ. During this period we are reminded to focus on fasting, prayer, meditation, almsgiving, and most of all on Jesus Christ and our spiritual journey with Him. It is also a time of reconciliation and repentance. It is a season of self examination and a time to take spiritual inventory of our inner life. Repentance is very important in the life of a Christian. In Math: 4:17 it says (Repent) were the first words of Christ when He began preaching. It is our repentance that God desires, not our re- morse. We sorrow for our sins, but we do so in the joy of God’s mercy.
All Orthodox Christians are called to make a special spiritual effort to rediscover their rela- tionship with Christ and get back to the narrow path that leads to salvation. A special word must be said about fasting during lent. Let’s not forget that (fasting) is an essential element of the Chris- tian Life. Christ fasted and taught men how to fast. So why does our society, try to dilute the words of Christ and His practice of fasting. In one of my previous newsletters, I wrote and I quote (Once you take that step to follow Christ then you must follow Him with all your heart and soul to the end of your life).
Christ said in John 14:23 –“If a man loves me, he must keep my words”. In this verse there is no competitive spirit, there is no personal interpre- tation it simply states, It’s either your (Hot) with Christ or you are (Cold) with Christ. Let’s not try to justify our sinful life if we are not following Christ in the right way. If the Church says we need to fast, then we need to fast. There is no getting around it. If you have a medical problem that would keep anyone from fasting then you do what your Doctor tells you. But if you’re healthy we
should all learn to fast, and pray, just like the as- cetic fathers did through their Spiritual journey to Christ.
The Orthodox rules for Lenten fasting are the monastic rules. No meat is allowed after Meat fare Sunday, and any eggs or dairy products after Cheese fare Sunday. I would also like to add that no source of entertainment should be allowed dur- ing the Lenten period. These rules exist not as a Pharisaic “burden to hard to bear” Luke 11:46 but as an ideal to be striven for, not as an end in them- selves, but as a means to spiritual perfection crowned in love. There is nothing wrong in teach- ing ourselves and our children the proper way to fast.
An athlete does not become an expert in his first exercise or practice. He or she needs to work on that constantly if you want to have good re- sults. Same with fasting, prayer, and meditation, it takes time to learn to adapt to what the church is asking from us to do. In the Monday Vespers of the first week of lent, it states- “Let us fast with a fast pleasing to the Lord. This is the true fast: the casting off of evil, the bridling of the tongue, the cutting off the anger, the cessation of lusts, evil talking, lies and cursing.
This is what we need to do in order to enjoy what the Great Lenten Period offers to all of us. Another thing to remember about fasting- we need not to boast or show pride from our fasting. We need not to judge others if they fast or don’t fast. We should fast in secret, so that God would see and bless us openly with a holy life. Another important thing for all Orthodox Christians to do is to prepare ourselves during the many Eucharis- tic services that we have during lent to receive as frequent as we can Holy Communion.
The special services during Lent are as follows. The Presanctified Liturgies which are celebrated throughout the Great Lent period and Holy Week. We have Holy Wednesday and Holy Thursday morning. We have Holy Saturday morning and of course the Holy Resurrection ser
2 K O I N ø N I ∞ MARCH 2016
MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRESIDENT
MHNYMA TOY ¶ƒO∂¢ƒOÀ ∆∏™ ∫Oπ¡O∆∏∆∞™
∞Á·ËÙÔ› ∂ÓÔÚ›ÙÂ˜, ∆ËÓ ∫˘ÚÈ·Î‹, 21 ºÂ‚ÚÔ˘·Ú›Ô˘, 2016, ÔÚÎ›ÛÙËÎÂ ÙÔ
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