February 2017 Message From Father Peter
Open to me the gates of repentance, O Giver of Life,
For my spirit rises early to pray towards thy holy temple.
Bearing the temple of my body all defiled;
But in Thy compassion, purify me by the loving kindness
of Thy mercy.
Lead me on the paths of salvation, O Mother of God,
For I have profaned my soul with shameful sins,
and have wasted my life in laziness.
But by your intercessions, deliver me from all impurity.
Hymn From Matins, Pre-Lenten Sundays.
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Glory To Jesus Christ! Glory Forever
What an incredible few weeks it has been since the Great Feast of Theophany! I have very much enjoyed travelling to nearly every home in the parish. The custom of blessing homes is a very beautiful opportunity for me to extend the blessing of the Jordan River to your home, and spend some quality time in fellowship with you. During our visits we have shared our hopes and dreams for a happy, holy and blessed New Year and have prayed that God grant us many more years together, serving God as he gives us the ability and strength.
Beginning this first Sunday in February, we have begun a journey towards another spiritually amazing season: that of Great Lent. As the hymn above, which makes its debut each year on the first Pre-Lenten Sunday, suggests, the gate that leads to the Holy Season of Great Lent has just been opened. We are invited by the Church to prepare over the next three weeks for our Lenten Journey to the Resurrection of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Yes the Church has sounded the warning bell to give us time to prayerfully prepare ourselves for the rigorous journey that awaits us. We all know the drill: Lent is a time for increased spiritual activity. We are asked to intensify our personal prayer life at home and make time to attend the various special Lenten services. We are asked to plan out our Lenten fasting regiment – that is what increased effort we will make this year to deny ourselves and follow the Church’s prescription of fasting from meat and dairy products. And finally, now is the time to formulate an action plan as to how we will step up the charitable giving of our time, talents and treasures to those in need.
My dear spiritual children, I know we can do it! We have received the Grace of God through the feasts of the Nativity and Theophany. We have been strengthened by partaking of the newly sanctified Jordan water, which has been used as well to restore our homes to spiritual soundness. We have the strength to compete in the spiritual marathon known as the Great Fast. The Church has opened the gates of repentance and we clearly see the arsenal of spiritual weaponry at our disposal that will help us to be victorious over sin and become spiritually, physically and emotionally stronger in the process. This journey will lead us to the awesome, holy and magnificent celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ! Let us prepare ourselves to take up the armor of faith and embark with a positive, joyful and humble spirit on our Lenten Journey.
Wishing you God’s strength and blessing as we anticipate the commencement of The Great Fast, I remain,