I feel this great anticipation in my soul. There is this sort of nervousness but excitement that is hard to put into words. The Pacha Fast will begin soon and the church in her wisdom has paved a way for me to follow that I might enter into the fast prepared to walk the road with Christ.
I’ve had this strong desire to be at church more. To experience His presence more. To be in His sanctuary. I feel like it’s a training I’m desiring for a battle. Who desires rigorous training? The one who wants to win.
First we were reminded of humility and how this will play a role in our preparation and our forty day journey. We read the parable from Luke 18:10-14. “God be merciful to me a sinner”. How have I sinned against God? Where do I need mercy? Where have I exalted myself and need to be humbled? This was a stark reminder that we are in need of a change of heart.
Then we were brought to the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). We have all been there if we are not there now. There is a place in each of our lives where we have run from God and have run to world. But we see compassion poured out when we realize we were wrong, “I will rise up and go. . .”. Repentance is the key. Patience and love are shown to us and we return to our Father.
Humility, repentance, mercy lead us here. . .
Yesterday, we were brought to Judgement. Matthew 25:31-46 tells the story of His coming again. We read of the “criteria” for lack of a better word to enter into His Kingdom “I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.” But some are confused and wonder when did they do these things to Him? “inasmuch as you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me”. There will be tears . . . some of joy and some of sorrow.
All of these readings, prayers, services, are preparing me for the journey.
“When a man leaves on a journey, he must know where he is going” Alexander Schmemann
It is as if I am following a map that I know will lead me to a great treasure. It is no ordinary treasure. In fact, to those who watch from a distance it is no treasure at all but a burden. But to those who partake of this journey (the services, alms giving, prayers) we will take part in a night that is “brighter than the day”. It is our recovery to our baptismal death and resurrection. A death to the old and a welcome of spring.
So as it begins, may the grace of our Lord and the prayers of the Saints be manifest in us as we pack our bags and leave behind the day to day to set off on this great and glorious journey.
A great way to prepare from the Orthodox Mom Blog; 10 Ways to prepare for our Lenten Journey.
If I can pray for you during Lent this year please message me or leave a message here.