Monday, 11 March 2013
Just another fast...
I would like to wish you all a blessed and a zealous start to this holy fast, supported by the prayers of the Theotokos. I pray that we continue in whatever we wish to start on, whether it be an ascetic endeavor, a spiritual rule entrusted to us by our spiritual fathers, whatever it is... I pray that we are consistent and that we persist patiently through this fast awaiting the blessed feast. So preserve patiently, joyously, enduring all...it is definitely a blessed fast, a time for reflection, prayer, fasting -all means to the goal which is communion with God. It is a time of purification, repentance and confession, a time of crucifying our flesh so that we may live in Christ.
We might be fought with boredom and feel that it is difficult, but we are promised that God tests our patience to see where our intentions are and then will bless us abundantly. Call on him unceasingly this fast through the practice of the Jesus Prayer, He is in you! The Kingdom of God is not far from you, it is in you (Luke 17:21)! so don't despair. Try to participate in the Sacrament of Confession this fast, you might be ashamed, disgusted and hesitant but better to have these feelings now than later, and St. Theophan the Recluse tells us that they are helpful if they are not used to lead oneself to despair. Then approach the Divine Mysteries, join in the Lord's Supper which He offers you on the holy altar, try to remember the parable of the Prodigal Son. He will forgive you your sins and then he goes on to prepare for you a feast to offer you his own Body and Blood for you to partake, to live, to be enlightened by Christ - the True Light. Ask your spiritual father for guidance for this fast, penance and advice...Alright...I'll leave you with some guidance from St. Theophan the Recluse:
"...revive within yourself the desire for this Sacrament (Confession). Draw near to it, not as to a place of slaughter or immolation, but as to the fountain of every good. He who vividly imagines the fruit which is brought forth within us by confession cannot help longing and striving for it. A man goes there with all his wounds. From the soles of his feet even to his head, there is no wholeness; there is nothing sound in him, only bruises, welts, and raw wounds. But he returns from there healthy, active, and strong in all his parts, with the feeling of safety from future contagions. He goes there under a heavy burden. The totality of his past sins lies upon him; it torments him and deprives him of all peace. But there he returns lightened, having been relieved, and rejoicing in spirit that he has received the charter of forgiveness for all his sins."
A blessed fast to all! Don't despair this fast, if you're interested I will post more from the saints to guide you through this fast so as not to be discouraged.