Our Great Lent for the year 2006 started on Feb 27th, and Easter is fast approaching. Our Lord not only taught us the significance of Lent and fasting, but he also practiced it. His forty days of Lent were focused on receiving power in order to defeat Satan and his temptations. Our Lord also obtained spiritual strength to fulfill his ministry in this world. These two aspects are very important in our Christian life. We need to overcome our day to day temptations and also have to finish our regular duties with bold confidence. Lent and fasting are the spiritual medicine, for maintaining our mental balance to accomplish our goals and expectations. Modern research has revealed the benefits of fasting and lent, in order to maintain a healthy body. According to the Christian point of view, Lenten season is the time of self purification, and dedication.
There are various practices; we should follow, when we observe the Great Lent. The ultimate goal of Great Lent is our preparation for celebrating Easter. The Church insists that every believer should observe this holy lent for experiencing Christ’s resurrection in his/her personal life. Christ’s resurrection becomes meaningful and realistic when we liberate ourselves form death and evil.
According to the patristic* view, every confession is a form of resurrection. That’s why our people take part in confession and communion, frequently during the Lenten season. Devotion and prayer are other practices. If we need to sustain a close relationship with someone, we will maintain continuous communication with that person. According to the orthodox liturgical tradition, a believer should pray at least seven times a day. If we start to practice this especially in the Lenten season, we can follow this pattern all the way through our life. The key to continue our life in the presence of God are bible reading and meditation. Almsgiving is also very essential. Lent is not only for our individual sanctification but is also a spiritual observance for maintaining God’s grace in all His creation. Lenten season reminds us the need of sharing our possessions with our fellow human beings. If we are not ready to serve the needy and poor, there is no meaning in lent and fasting.
Great Lent is a valuable time to enter into strict discipline and its results are immeasurable. We are now nearing the final days of the Great Lent and entering the Passion Week. I hope most of you have observed this lent, took part in confession, and accepted the life-giving flesh and blood of our Lord who sacrificed himself on the cross for the redemption of you and me.
We all know the importance of the Passion Week in Christian life. The absolutely sinless Lord took upon himself our infirmities, carried our illness, and was wounded for our transgressions, so that with His stripes we can be healed. The revered passion and glorious resurrection constitute the final and definite blow against death and Satan. He redeemed us from being accursed by becoming Himself a curse, and suffering the most dishonorable death, in order to lead us again to the glorious life of Aden. The Lord accepted to be nailed upon a cross as a criminal and in this way He held the curse of sin and of death, marking the end of all our sin and death, with that final word on the cross “It is finished” God the Father willingly allowed his only begotten Son, who did not know sin from experience, to be condemned as a sinner for our sake so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God through our union with Him.
These are some of our basic thoughts for the Passion Week: come before the Cross; sit before the Cross; share the sorrows of our Lord and Savior. Each and everyone should find time to witness and recall the facts that son of God came down from heaven, became human, died on the cross to redeem us of our sins, and rose alive from death and tomb, and sits on the side of His Heavenly Father, to plead for our entry there.
By wearing the Holy garment of Lent, by cleansing ourselves through confessions and being a new person in Christ, let us celebrate the joyful feast of Easter for our own resurrection, a passage from sin and death, to secure a peaceful life, and follow a journey with Jesus Christ – our Lord and Savior.