My dear youth,
As one week of Lent has quickly passed, I just wanted to know how you are doing?
Many of us receive the news of the Great Lent with mixed feeling, some with grief of refusing hearty meals and enjoyable activities while others welcome it as a means to show off their ability to fast and pray in competition with others. Both ways are not in line with the Lord’s intent of Lent itself.
The Holy Church prescribes fasting as a spiritual exercise to learn humility, discipline, and dependence. It is a time to kneel at the feet of the Heavenly Father, physically and spiritually, acknowledging His supremacy and absolute necessity in a mortal life. It becomes a period of purification by reconciling with our self, with others and with God.
Just as an athlete would prepare his body for an upcoming marathon through concentration, physical endurance, diet adjustment; the Christian must prepare to receive his Savior through prayerful vigilance, purposeful meditation, prostrations, and physical controlling.
Let me encourage you to observe the Lent in a meaningful manner, and, in a way that is pleasing to God. As St. John Chrysostom states, “It is folly to abstain all day long from food, if you fail to abstain from sin and selfishness.” Also in the Morning Prayer for Monday of Lent, we are reminded that, “Though the Fasting is great, if it is not observed with love, it is futile. If love does not enable its wings, it cannot rise to the presence of the Most High”. Hence, may reconciliation and mutual love be the guiding principles of your fasting this year.
As part of the observance of Fasting this year we recommend you to raise some fund to support the brothers and sisters of our Holy Church in the Middle East – especially in Syria – who are suffering with no food, gas or electricity and live in a dreadful and violent situation. Whatever amount we gather, will be sent to His Holiness the Patriarch directly for that purpose.
As we stand at our one week mile marker, we have an opportunity to evaluate ourselves. Try to spend more time in prayer, reading the Holy Scripture and on meditation. Get ready for a true Confession to unload our burden and to proceed the journey in a spirit-filled manner.
Wishing you all success and looking forward to greet you at the Finish Line.
May God bless you,
Your Theethose Thirumeni