March Message From Fr. Peter
Brothers and Sisters, Isn’t it interesting that the Church uses the adjective “Great” when it refers to the fasting season in preparation for the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord? As we know this season is
referred to as either Great Lent or the Great Fast.
From a human standpoint, we might legitimately ask what is so great about Lent? After all it is a time of deprivation and negative. What is so great about giving up some of the things we love so much: meat, dairy, sweets, and other pleasures and entertainments? What is so great about having to fit our busy weekday schedules attendance at the Wednesday and Friday Presanctified Liturgy and Paraklis Services? And what is so great about giving up more of our already stretched budgets in giving alms to the poor?
For many the season of Lent might seem to be a dreaded time, one that is sad, and heavy, focused on repentance, and confession and discovering our own weakness and sinfulness.
As your priest, as your spiritual father, guide and cheerleader, if you will, I want to assure you that this type of thinking, although understandable, is not helpful, and is not the vision the Church has for us. The Church calls this season Great, because it gives us an opportunity to experience great joy, great peace and the love of God. The Church counsels us to bear the weapons of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, so that we can overcome the stranglehold of sin, temptation and darkness, that prevents us from being fully human, and fully Christ-like.
During the first week of the fast, we had a visitor from New York worship with us at the Presanctified Liturgy. At the end of the service, she had a beautiful smile on her face and a very calm and peaceful demeanor. She told me that she enjoyed the service very much, because it was so prayerful, and that it gave her much peace. She was having a difficult day, and this service,
changed her whole attitude, and helped her feel closer to God.
This is my prayer for all of us as we journey together this Lent, towards the radiant and joy filled day of the Resurrection that we experience the peace of God that passes all understanding and the grace and healing that comes through our willingly taking part in the rigors of the fasting season.
What is so Great about Lent? In truth, everything!
With Love and Prayers Always,