Right about now during your Great Lenten Journey, chances are you are feeling wary from the fasting, extra Church services, long prayers, and intense temptation that surrounds you daily. Right about now you are wondering, if it is even possible to live like the Church expects you to live. Are there any examples of people who got it right all the time?
I can always tell when it is Great Lent. It seems like a daily experience when I am faced with evaluating what I hear in society with what I hear in the Church. This is especially true during Great Lent, when because we are engaged in a spiritual war, we are what appears to be under a greater attack by the devil and his minions. It is this truly a greater attack, or are we somehow more sensitive to the war?
I am old enough to remember the Cold War. In fact, I came of age at its height in the late 80’s. I recall one evening in high school with my best friend, as we were discussing the end of the world due to nuclear war. I will admit, as foolish as it seems now, that there nights that I genuinely considered not completing my homework for school “just in case” there was a nuclear war that night and it wouldn’t be needed. Looking back on my teenage years, I laugh at how naïve I was, but in the moment, many of really did think the world would end at any moment.
PDF is a term most people recognize as a term for a document that has been prepared to share over the internet. Long before computers or even paper and pencil, Jesus Christ established the original PDF when He said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” He also said, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
When you think of Great Lent, you should think about your spiritual health. When we are not healthy, we call our doctor. After the doctor examines our condition, he offers his opinion on what we must do to get better. He may even write a prescription for our benefit. At that point, it is up to us whether or not we fulfill the prescription if we wish to get better.
Great Lent is almost half-way over, and by now you are “feeling the pain” of the Fast, even if only in your stomach. One of the blessings of Great Lent, any fast really, is that it helps us to learn an important lesson about struggle. No matter what we are struggling with, the struggle never lasts forever.
Take a moment and read (or re-read if you have already read it) today’s reading from Genesis.
If you are a parent, then you know the feeling of watching your children, wondering if they will need you to come to their rescue. Whether they are swimming for the first time, riding a bike for the second time, or just living life as a child, you know that at any moment, you children may need you to save them. You spend your life watching and waiting for that moment to come. It always comes.
It doesn’t matter what life throws your way, God is always looking out for us. At difficult times in our life, it may not be noticeable that God is watching over us, but indeed He is. Most often we realize this through the rearview mirror of life, when we realize that God had never left our side, even when we thought we were alone. Right about now, almost half-way through Great Lent, you might be wondering where God is, in all this Lenten temptation.
Yesterday was the Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos by the Archangel Gabriel. Being one of the Twelve Great Feasts, and a Feast of the Lord, Great Lent (sort of) took a day off yesterday. From the way we ate to the what Scriptures we read and how we celebrated Divine Liturgy, it was all different yesterday, with just a hint of Great Lent.
When Jesus sees the faith of four friends, who bring to Him their paralyzed friend, the Scriptures tell us “Seeing their faith,” that Jesus forgave sins and healed the man. Friends matter, and as The Church, we have the power to help each other, and to bring others to Christ for healing. We are all bound to each other. It is because of Church that we are able to help each other.