"However, this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:21).
Great Lent is understood to be the holiest fast as our Lord Jesus Christ Himself fasted it for us. Therefore, during Great Lent we must strive to follow the example set by our Lord Jesus Christ, who had fasted on our behalf for forty days and forty nights, which we read in Matthew chapter 4. During Great Lent, the Church in her wisdom teaches us how to receive Him by using the great means of repentance along with prayer and fasting. But many are fooled by what the true meaning of fasting is; fasting does not mean to just abstain from certain foods and drinks. Fasting without prayer is essentially nothing less than a bodily act. Fasting provides us with an opportunity for prayer because when a person fasts, their soul is occupied with internal work with God and so when the body is humbled by hunger, the soul also is humbled. We must train ourselves while fasting to not let a change of food be the only thing different we do in this fast, but rather let the fast be striving for change toward a better spiritual life. We must struggle to remove defects and weaknesses that we may feel exist not only within ourselves, but with our relationship with God, and our brothers and sisters through Christ. However, as we fast we must not try to make our fast visible to anyone except our Father in Heaven who sees everything in secret. And as we journey through this most sacred time of the year we must examine ourselves, our salvation, our repentance, and our spiritual life. Sit down not only with yourself but your spiritual father, seek the guidance that us all sinners are in desperate need of as we grow daily in the knowledge of God.
+ May God help us all to see the importance of prayer and to lift up our hearts and thoughts to Him alone and may He grant us to have a blessed and holy fast as we seek for repentance +
“I will praise you, O Lord, for your mercies are forever. From generation to generation, my mouth shall declare Your truth.”
- First Doxology of the Sunday Readings during the Great and Holy Lent
A lady came to me complaining from her son who entered the day care center. "For the last few days," she told me, "I have been patiently scolding him for doing something wrong, saying, “Don't do that.” But he kept answering me, “No, I will do it.”
"I would tell him gently, 'Honey, that's wrong.'
"But he insisted, "I will do this. I will do it."
I was surprised to hear this because I know this kid to be a
A true friend is there for you when you need him. A true friend will sacrifice for you without wanting anything back. Out of his great love for you, he will want what is best for you and will want you to love him back as much as you can and will constantly think, “How can I show this person I love him and want him to love me too?” Such is the love God has for us: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). He loves us to the point of offering Himself as a sacrifice for our sins that we may turn back to Him and abide in Him and love Him back with all our hearts.
In the journey of Great Lent, we must always, our brothers and sisters, give thanks to the Lord for all blessings He has bestowed upon us,
Since birth, we were all taught to “seek first the Kingdom of God.” But in seeking the Kingdom of God we must challenge ourselves and give up our own desires. We often think that by striving for holiness, we will no longer be happy or by striving for righteousness, everything else in our lives will falter. Sadly, we put so much faith in our own abilities and forget the power of God. We forget how much He has given us, we forget how much He suffered for us, we forget that even our trusted abilities were given to us by Him, and the most unfortunate of all, we forget that ALL things are possible to Him.
When we put so much focus on our academic, career, social, or physical goals yet forget our spiritual goals, our hearts and minds begin to accumulate many impurities because of their lack of nourishment. However, we must be careful what we place into our hearts and where we place our hearts, “For where [our] treasure is, there [our] heart will be also.”(Matthew 6: 21). If our focus is on the Kingdom of God, only things leading to the Kingdom of God will be in our hearts and therefore leaving our lips; because, let us not forget that “out of the treasure of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34).
During Preparation week of Great Lent, we should set our eyes on heaven. We must prepare ourselves to place God first in our hearts and lives for He put us first before the creation of the world and set everything under our feet. He promises never to leave us in need of anything as we are more of value to Him than the birds of the air, which He also provides for, according to Matthew 6: 26-27. He promised to love us forever and fulfilled His promise by sending His Son to purchase us by His blood. He promised to always fill us; however, we have to open our hearts and allow Him entrance. So let us all open our hearts before God and allow Him to lead us to Him in purity and righteousness as King David in the Psalms said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139: 23-24)
Author: Marina Abdelsayed