Archive for the ‘Great Lent:weekdays preceding’ Category

Cheesefare Week: “kind of” like being in Great Lent

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

"Serving Suggestion " for Wednesday night dinner.








Cheesefare week, the last full week before Great Lent begins, is an “in between” week liturgically in the Orthodox Church. Each day is “kind of like” Great Lent and “kind of like” outside of Great Lent. This is to provide a transition into Great Lent. Everything we do is better if we are prepared and in the proper state of mind. This week, if we read the readings and attend the services, gets us ready for Great Lent.

 

How is the week “kind of like” being in Great Lent?

·        We fast all week, but in the most unique way of the entire year, fasting from meat only, with all other foods being allowed. We are fasting every day, but only “partially” and we even eat cheese and other milk products on days we normally would not throughout the year, such as Wednesday and Friday.

·        We are using the Triodion in Vespers and Matins at all services, and its content definitely is Lenten in tone.

·        On Wednesday and Friday, we do not celebrate the Divine Liturgy, just as in Great Lent we do not celebrate it on most weekdays. The readings on Wednesday and Friday are of a Lenten character; we do not read the usual Epistle and Gospel, but instead read from the Old Testament (on Wednesday, all the selections are from Joel, and on Friday, from Zechariah). We follow the Lenten format of having a reading during the Sixth Hour and Vespers.

·        Daily Vespers on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday begin in a “non-Lenten” way just as during the rest of the year, but the end of Vespers is ”Lenten” with the usual prayers with bows after the Aposticha, and the prayer of St Ephrem.

·        Wednesday and Friday Vespers are Lenten in tone, with an Old Testament Reading, and the prayer of St Ephrem, but the ending is non-Lenten in tone.  

·        The quintessential prayer of Great Lent, the “Prayer of St Ephrem”, is said at every weekday Vespers beginning on Tuesday evening.   

 

How is the week “kind of like” being outside of Great Lent?

·        Sunday and Monday evening Vespers are just like in “regular time”, but there are selections from the Triodion for Vespers and Matins, which definitely point us toward Great Lent.

·        All days except Wednesday and Friday we can serve Divine Liturgy, with its usual Epistle and Gospel readings.

·        As noted above, we are “kind of” fasting, and “kind of” not fasting.

 

Another aspect of the week that makes it seem more “Lenten” is the content of the Gospel readings. They are all concerning the day of the Lord’s passion. We will return to these readings during Holy week. I always think of the weeks preceding Great Lent, and especially the last two weeks, as a foreboding of Holy Week and Pascha.

 

If you want to be ready for Great Lent, follow the fasting rules for this week (cheese pizza is allowed on Wednesday and Friday!) and attend the “kind of”  Lenten Vespers on Wednesday night.

 

 







 

 

From the Lenten Triodion – Tuesday of Cheesefare week


People, receive Lent with gladness!

 

The beginning of spiritual warfare arrives!

 

Forsake the indulgence of your flesh, that the gifts of the spirit may be increased in you!

 

Embrace your share of suffering, soldiers of Christ!

 

Prove yourselves to be children of God!

 

The Holy Spirit will take up his abode in you, // and your souls will be filled with his light!

 

 

Faithful, let us receive with joy the divinely-inspired announcements of lent!

 

Like Ninevites of old, like harlots and publicans who heard John preaching repentance,

let us prepare ourselves through fasting for the master’s communion in zion!

 

Let us wash ourselves with tears of purification; Let us pray to behold the fulfillment of pascha, the true revelation!

 

Let us prepare ourselves to adore the cross and resurrection of Christ our God!//

do not deprive us of our expectation, Lover of mankind!

 

(Selections from the Triodion from the “SSOC Daily Email Ministry-February 25

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cheesefare Week, Monday, Luke19:30-34 – "The Lord hath need of him"

Monday, March 3rd, 2008
Luke 19:30 Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. 31 And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. 32 And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. 33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? 34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him.




Our Lord’s instructions to the disciples show that He had made careful preparations for His final meal with them. He had not revealed all the details to anyone, but only told them what they needed to know.
He did not explain to his disciples why he needed the colt, but we know now that the animal not only served to convey him into Jerusalem on the day of Palms, but also to indicate mystically for us the bringing in of the Gentiles into the household of faith, since a colt is a yet wild and untamed animal.

And what are to make of the dialog concerning the colt of the unnamed man with the disciples?
We cannot understand the ways of God. So often, we are tempted to have our own judgments concerning people and events, not knowing the mind of God concerning such things.
How many times are we just as the Jews, who thought it preposterous that the Gentiles would share in the salvation promised to them, even though the Lord told innumerable parables concerning this, and there are numerous prophesies concerning the Gentiles in the Old Testament?

How many times do we dare to question the Lord, and say “Why do you loose Him”, that is, question our life’s circumstances and doubt His providence? Or perhaps we do not openly doubt our Lord, but our own prejudices and presuppositions and spiritual blindness have not allowed us to see the hand of God in our daily lives?

This colt is not only a symbol for us of the Gentiles, but also of our own ignorance concerning the mind of God, and how the Lord carefully prepares all things in our life for our salvation, but does not explain to us in intimate detail the reasons for each thing.
Why does the Lord tarry when we ask of Him something? Why does a loved one suffer? Why (on a local and current note), is it so difficult to build a new church for His glory? For every circumstance in our lives, good and bad, we should merely say: “The Lord hath “need” of (it)”, that is, in some way, the providence of God is leading us to better things, although we cannot understand how.
How powerful even the simple words of scripture are! Let us remember the next time that we are perplexed, or disheartened (and it will be today), that we cannot know why the Lord has need of the colt, only that it is part of a careful plan for our salvation.

Full Gospel reading for the Monday of Cheesfare:

Luke 19:29-40; 22:7-39 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, 30 Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. 31 And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. 32 And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. 33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? 34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him. 35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. 36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. 37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; 38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. 22:7 Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. 8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. 9 And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? 10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. 11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 12 And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. 14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. 21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! 23 And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. 24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. 25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. 28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. 35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. 36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. 37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. 38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough. 39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
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Week of the Prodigal Son – Tuesday – 1 John 3:11-20 – "that we should love one another"

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. (1 John 3:11)

What is the beginning? From the beginningless beginning, before all things, before all beginnings, the Holy Trinity was… and loved. The very nature of God teaches us to love one-another. God loves Himself perfectly, and as a perfect lover of Himself, He communicates with and submits to His own nature – each person equally loving and submitting to the other. Before all things, there was love.

And God made man, in his image and likeness he made him. (Gen 1:26) And from this beginning of man, the created loved the Creator, and the created loved all possessing his nature, as the Creator loved all three persons possessing His nature.

To be in the image of God is to love as God. From the beginning, man was created to love. Love, like a flame, can spread to others without itself being diminished. So God created and loved his creation, and His love for Himself was in no way diminished, and man, whose nature was created to love himself, loved himself (that is, all those with his nature), and loved God, and man’s love emulated God, whose love can fill all things and is in no way diminished. We love Him because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19) He loved us because He first loved Himself. Because of His love, He created us, and from the beginning, we were made to love.

“And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him” (1 John 3:19), and we shall be like him, because we love. It is our nature to love. Our nature compels us to breathe, and eat and drink, and in the same way to love. And what happens to us if we do not live according to our nature?

“He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:14-15)

To not love is to not be human. From the beginning, the FIRST PRINCIPLE of being human is to love, as God loves. Any abrogation of this principle leads to death.

God is love, and man is made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, to love is not a command, it is a principle of the existence of our nature. To “die the death” is to cease being what we were created for – to love, and therefore to cease being human. To have “eternal life abiding in him” man must love, and his love must be as the flame of God’s love – spreading to all things without discrimination, and in no way ever being diminished.

Man’s trek through this life is to learn to love as God loves, and in knowing love by loving, knowing God, who is love, and thus fulfilling his destiny: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3 )

The principle of love is simple, since God is simple, but the action of love is complex and varied. Hate is also simple; It is the absence of love, but the action of hate, is complex and varied. It is expressed as “disliking” someone, envy, calumny, thoughtlessness, greed, and violence against persons, and a thousand other thoughts and actions that bring darkness instead of light to the soul.

The first recorded action of hate was that of Cain, “who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous”. (1 John 3:12) The tyrant of envy, one of hate’s many children, possessed him, and Cain killed his brother, and in so doing, killed his own soul.

Brethren, we are at the very threshold of the Great Fast, a time when we should be changing to be more like God. Let us make it our goal to pass through Lent in such a way that we pass from our deep darkness into more of the light, closer to the life God created us for. Let this goal be fulfilled by our passing from hate into love, and in so doing, we will have “passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” (1 John 3:14)

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Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

1Jn 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

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1 John 3:11-20 11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

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