Priest’s Corner—Spiritually Preparing for Lent
“Thy grace has shone forth, O Lord, and the illumination of our souls has taken place. Now is the acceptable time; the season of repentance is here. Let us cast aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light that we might pass through the tempest of the Fast and reach the celebration of the third-day Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, the Savior of our souls.”
—Vespers of Forgiveness (Cheesefare) Sunday
How blessed we are to have such a time as Great Lent to help cleanse our souls and bring ourselves closer to God. When Our Lord Jesus Christ healed a young man who was a lunatic, whom His apostles could not, He explained to them that “This kind [of demon] can only be expelled through prayer and fasting” (Mk. 9:29). Each of us is plagued by our own demons, so what better opportunity than this very time of the year to refocus our spiritual lives, expel these demons, and truly make a permanent change in our lives for the better. Great Lent is the time for introspection, spiritual self-examination, and prayer, all of which help to clarify our perspectives on life and properly reset our priorities.
Unfortunately, all too many of us misunderstand this opportunity and even see Lent as a burden. Even those who try to “do Lent” properly often forget everything they tried to achieve during this time on the very first day of Pascha, or very shortly thereafter. Worst of all is the fact that some celebrate Pascha not as a spiritual feast of the Lord’s Resurrection, but a celebration of the end of Lent. We all know that the Evil One never sleeps. During this most holy time of the year, when we are trying to improve our spiritual condition, the Evil One increases his efforts to push us off the path of salvation we are trying to follow. Be aware of this. Even more so, make every effort to celebrate the Feast of Feasts with spiritual joy and not unbridled “partying” and drunkenness, because the Evil One simply gathers such souls into his snares, negating virtually everything they had gained during Great Lent—and maybe even more.