NB: Just one resolution for Great Lent. Fasting and prayer

Many people make some sort of resolution when they enter Great Lent. Usually it is something we have not done before, or perhaps done poorly. The one who has fasted poorly in the past may decide to keep the fast better – to not eat any meat or animal products, and some may even be zealous to keep the fast from oil and wine and fish. The one who keeps the fasts may be zealous to not eat anything at all for the first three days of Great Lent, or eat only one meal a day, which, according to the strict typikon, is “after the ninth hour” (about 3 in the afternoon).

In my pastoral experience, most people make some sort of fasting related resolution. I applaud their intentions, but sometimes their emphasis on fasting obscures for them the real purpose of the fast (it is not fasting!) …

NB:The barren desert will bear many children.

The great power of the holy services of the church and especially the deeply theological and devotional content of matins is that it presents the important dogmas of our faith in startling and understandable ways. In every matins service, there is something that is too beautiful for words, and yet, the words being sung warm the soul and comfort it.

This sticheron above contains such words. A dogma of our faith is that Christ came so that human nature could change, be renewed, become holy. We know this (or should know this – many Christians do not understand this dogma), but in order for it to be completely active in us, we must experience it.

Here, the bearing of many children is used …

NB:The Dayspring from on high – a little about the Nativity Troparion

“Dayspring” means a rising of light from the East.

The Persian wise men were astrologers. The star of Bethlehem (actually an angel) arose in the East and was seen by them in the West, in Persia (modern day Iran). They had been awaiting the fulfillment of Baalam’s prophesy: …

Includes a nice icon of the adoration of the Magi

NB: Interpreting the Nativity Icon.

Ikons are not only “Windows to Heaven” – they also tell a story, if one understands the symbolism. A few things about the Nativity Ikon: …

“NB” is shorthand for “nota bene” ,which is Latin for “Note well”. These shorter posts are meant to be “noted well” more often because they are briefer than the usual blog posts. I have “noted well” that many of my flock does do not read the longer posts. I have a lot of stuff to tell you, so there will still be longer posts, but I also plan to post shorter “snippets” which will have “NB:” in the title.