Clean Monday

Let us set out with joy upon the season of the fast,
and prepare ourselves for spiritual combat.
Let us purify our soul and cleanse our flesh;
and as we fast from food, let us also abstain from every passion.
Rejoicing in the virtues of the Spirit may we persevere with love,
and so be counted worthy to see the solemn Passion of Christ our God,
and with great spiritual gladness to behold His holy Passover.

Stichera of Forgiveness Vespers

Once again we come to the “season of the fast”. Just as the seasons of the earth have their rotation through each year, we too, rotate through our annual liturgical life all with the great hope of edging and moving, ever so slowly, towards our Savior, the resurrected Christ.

We are to set out with joy!

Thy grace hath shone forth, O Lord:
the grace which illumines our soul.
This is the acceptable time.
This is the time of repentance.
Let us lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light,
that passing through the Fast as through a great sea
we may reach the Resurrection on the third day
of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of our souls.

Aposticha of Forgiveness Vespers

Another of my favorites to sing and take in. It really says it all. After our endeavors, may we reach the Resurrection on the third day…with joy in our hearts.

It is easy to end this fast on Pascha with great joy! That feeling is what inspired, and continues to inspire, this blog. The joy on the third day! What sweetness!

But, how about the 47 (give or take) days between now and then. Do we go through the entire of Great Lent with joy?

Or do we grumble because we miss our favorite foods? Or because we are tired from all the services?

St. John Chrysostom says “Let the mouth fast from disgraceful and abusive words, because, what gain is there when, on the one hand we avoid eating chicken and fish and, on the other, we chew-up and consume our brothers? He who condemns and blasphemes is as if he has eaten brotherly meat, as if he has bitten into the flesh of his fellow man.”

In the midst of the fast, may God give us strength and wisdom to be mindful of the needs of our body and soul. May He give us strength to sail through the sea of the fast with great joy!

May you be blessed as we work our way towards the “third day”!

As we begin this Great fast I ask forgiveness, dear friends, for anything I may have said or done to offend.

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