The pre-Easter period we are going through generates or should generate some special feelings within us. The beautiful and solemn hymnography of this period, the many opportunities of worshiping and the fasting, want to bring us together. Let us bend in ourselves, reflect, and have self-control for sincere repentance.
Many people ignore or do not want to approach the meaning of these days, and continue their monotonous life.
While they say that life is tiring, they do not make a single step for a substantial change.
They are on strict diets, but they cannot fast.
They go to the psychologist, they spend hours watching TV, but they do not go to the confessor, nor to the church.
Today man does not want to give anything, he only wants to take, without any labor and personal sacrifices. He is afraid of looking at himself in the eye. He systematically avoids him. He is in agony in his internal void.
Lent works like an X-ray machine, like a camera, like a mirror. In some ways we consider it repugnant, because it will reveal our hidden reality.
The spirit of consumption, ease and unhimiliated conscience does not let man get rid of the many unnecessary things he has filled his life with.
Lent is a deviation and an opportunity for transformation. A prayer of Ephraim of Syros, that is said five hundred times in the litourgies of this period, says to leave the spirit of idleness, curiosity, love of power and laziness, and gain wisdom, humility, patience and love.
This beautiful and meaningful prayer ends by asking God: “Bless me to look at my misconducts, instead of dealing with my brother’s.” That is, let us stop gossiping, observing the other, constantly making harsh criticism, and turn within us, to correct our mistakes.
Lent wants us to be concentrated and helps us in treating ourselves from mental illnesses that darken our mind, make it difficult for us and make us worry about our lives.
If we achieve a degree of self-awareness and repentance, then Lent will not be a sour and sterile period, but a station that will not be full of duty obligations, a softening of our stone heart that will lead us to love our brothers and sisters and God.
Over-rationalism of the difficult times alienates us from all mysticism, hesychasm, a sacred, supernatural and metaphysical mystery.
The effects of this alienation have become apparent. Melancholy and despair prevail, distressing a lot of people. The time is ripe for a deep acceptance of apostasy and for our return to the cradle of crucified love.
During the Great Lent many temptations, ordeals, scandals and falls arise.
They make us more mature, help us to balance and bring us back to sense. The life of Christians, let’s never forget it, is that of crucifixion. Without crucifixion there is no resurrection.
Lent is a nice and good preparation, a half-lit up corridor leading to a bright living room. Lent’s feet are prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting without humility and love have no fruit. Fasting and prayer want to allay our selfishness.
Let’s not miss the opportunity of this Lent as it approaches its set. Within the Church the problems find a solution. The cold winter brings in the spring.
Triodion is followed by the Pentecostarion. Cloudiness is never permanent. After cloudiness, sunshine is nicer. Now, as a wonderful chant says, it is “a time of repentance and prayer”.
+ Monk Moses, Athonite
*The article was originally published in Greek in ikivotos.gr