Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Spirituality of the Lentern Period

We are now in the most distinct and holy period within the ecclesiastical year, according to the Orthodox Church. Lent is a period where the faithful fast not only bodily but also spiritual (as claimed during the first Presanctified Liturgy). However, there are a number of important points which we should all keep during this holy and great period of Lent.
Prayer plays a significant part in our lives during this period. Even Jesus Christ showed us how to pray, by giving us the ‘Our Father…’ also known as the Lord’s prayer. The Church of Christ has a number of set prayers and services. At the centre of the life of the Church is the Divine Liturgy. The number of unique services celebrated during this period enrich the ecclesiastical life of the Church and its faithful.

During this period the faithful fast and exercise (they do the askisis) in order to neutralise their passions, following what we read in Colossians 3:5, ‘therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.’ St. John Chrysostom distinguishes various types of neutralisation (of necrosis); the necrosis of the body, of the soul, of the Sacrament of Baptism and the necrosis of the passions.
Forgiveness, forbearance and tolerance to all. We constantly ask from God, through the Lord’s prayer, to forgive our debts, our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. In Matthews Gospel (6:15) we are reminded: ‘if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses.’ Forgiveness is a virtue we should all have not only during this period, but throughout our whole life
Being charitable and merciful. By fasting, by not eating as rich as we would normally, we are able to keep more money, which we could give to the poor and the needy. This period is a perfect time for us to think of others, to think of those who are not fortunate. However, this is not a virtue we should only have during the Lentern period. The world is currently going through a difficult financial epoch; therefore, we should be able –all year around- to be charitable and merciful to those less fortunate than us.

Lent is a perfect time for repentance. Repentance is a virtue we should all have during our whole life. Through repentance we are able to approach God. Repentance is a deep desire to return to the right path of God. It is a desire to enrich our lives with the love of God, to enter in his communion of love. Repentance allows us to become, truly, His children. 

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