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Entries in Triodion and Great Lent (5)


Using our Time, Talents and Treasures to God’s Glory

The time is not yours. At present you are strangers, and sojourners, and foreigners, and aliens; do not seek honors, do not seek glory, do not seek authority, nor revenge; bear all things, and in this way, ‘redeem the time’. Give up many things, anything they may require... only preserve the principal thing, I mean the Faith... Are we to give thanks for everything that befalls us? Yes, be it even disease, be it even penury (destitution). For if a certain wise man gave this advice in the Old Testament and said, ‘Whatsoever is brought upon you take it cheerfully, and be patient when you are changed to a low estate’ (Ecclus. 2:4); much more ought this to be the case in the New... Let us therefore give thanks not only for blessings which we see, but also for those which we do not see, and for those which we receive against our will.” —St. John Chrysostom (4th century)

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Sunday of the Last Judgment

“And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead.” —The Nicene Creed

“When we talk of the Day of Judgment, we add the epithet ‘Final,’ or ‘Last,’ because god’s judgment is happening even now.” —St. Augustine, The City of God

“Christian love is sometimes the opposite of ‘social activism’ with which one so often identifies Christianity today. To a ‘social activist’ the object of love is not ‘person’ but man, an abstract unit of a not less abstract ‘humanity.’” —Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

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Forgiveness Vespers

“Earthly life—this brief period—is given to man by the mercy of the Creator in order that man may use it for his salvation, that is, for the restoration of himself from death to life.” This is the saying of St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

The saint goes on to say that our life as a Christian on earth is a “chain of suffering,” that we have to do battle against our body, its passions, and the evil spirits. “Our hope lies in this fight. Our salvation is from God. Having put our reliance on Him, we must bear with patience the time of struggle.” Lent is that time of struggle for our healing.

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The Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian

O Lord and Master of my life, Take from me the spirit of sloth faint-heartedness, lust of power and idle talk. (prostration)
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to thy servant. (prostration)
Yea, O Lord and King grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; for Thou art blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen. (prostration)

The prayer is prayed the first time through with the prostrations, joining body and soul in the prayer for deification, and then 12 metanias are made with the words, "God, cleanse me (a) the sinner." Thereafter the whole prayer is said again, making one prostration at the end. The repetition is meant to help us get the prayer inside of us so that we can truly think it through and begin to make a start in applying it to our lives.

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Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican & Sunday of the Prodigal Son

“He who seeks forgiveness of his sins loves humility, but if he condemns another he seals his own wickedness. Just as water and fire cannot be combined, so self-justification and humility exclude one another.” —St. Mark the Ascetic (Philokalia)

“The culture in which we live constantly instills in us the sense of pride, of self-glorification, and of self- righteousness. It is built on the assumption that man can achieve anything by himself and it even pictures God as the One who all the time “gives credit for man’s achievements and good deeds...” —Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

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