A prayer is a promise. From the Great Canon

?Spotless Mother of God, only all-hymned Virgin, pray intensely that we may be saved.? (Great Canon, Ode 2, Clean Wed, Theotokion)

When chanting this verse from the Great Canon tonight, which shows the confidence we have in the intercession of the Mother of God, I trembled a little. When a reasonable person asks for something, they know there is an obligation placed upon them. If we ask the all pure one to pray intensely, we must also attempt in our feeble way to pray intensely.

Do not make friends because of evil & Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Week of the Last Judgment: Thursday

The week before Great Lent begins, we visit the Passion of the Lord; we will of course look at it in great detail Holy Week. The account of the passion is so full and rich that we learn something new from it every time we read it. Today we look at the friendship of Herod and Pilate – it has much to teach us about our friendships. We also look at Jesus’ last great teaching by example: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

Cheesefare Wednesday Feb 9/22 2012 Joel 2.12-16; Joel 3.12-21

The time of Great Lent should be a period or repentance and change. This reading from Joel sums it up quite well: “Now therefore saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. 13 And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil.” (Vs 12,13)

This explains the purpose of fasting ? to be converted. Fasting helps us to “turn to the Lord God”, for various physical and spiritual reasons. Of course, fasting must be coupled with prayer and repentance, or else the faster will only be hungry. Try fasting with seriousness and vigor, and you will understand….

This explains the purpose of fasting ? to be converted. Fasting helps us to ?turn to the Lord ? God?, for various physical and spiritual reasons. Of course, fasting must be coupled with prayer and repentance, or else the faster will only be hungry. Try fasting with seriousness and vigor, and you will understand….

Sunday of the Last Judgment (Meatfare Sunday). Our Father will come to us in our repentance, and He will question us about our changes.

The Sunday of the Last Judgment gives the 3rd piece of important information to us in our preparation for Great Lent. We have learned that to be saved one must not judge others, and feel the weight of personal sins and ask God for mercy. We have seen the process of repentance, from the onset of sin, its destructive affects, self-realization of sin, and the importance process to "arise and go" to our Father, and the critical detail, without which we would never complete our repentance and be saved – our Father will go to us, as we are trying to change, and comfort us and empower us to complete the good work we have started. Today’s Gospel about the last judgment shows the end result of true repentance, and also the "flip side" – the outcome for those who do not repent. It is a frightening spectacle, and not a pleasant one to meditate upon, but absolute necessary for us to remember. Lets us talk about how Jesus Christ came the first time, how His second coming will be, and what we must do to hear the blessed words: " Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world".

“Meat commendeth us not to God” exegesis of epistle reading for Meatfare Sunday.

Perhaps one of the best remembered scriptures among those who do not fast and do not read the scripture much is the well known phrase of Saint Paul: “But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.” We look at the context of this true statement, and its application to our day. The entire passage is about sensitivity to our brother’s weakness, and how the phrase “when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ” is quite similar to the one in today’ Gospel: ” ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” We also discuss why we fast – it is a natural requirement of our human nature, and is an easy and readily available way to train ourselves in self-control. Without self-control, we cannot make any progress in the spiritual life.