Lent, Travelling toward Easter

 

When a man leaves to go on a trip, he must know where he is going. It is thus with Lent. Before all else, Lent is a spiritual trip and its destination is Easter, the “Feast of feasts”. It is the preparation to “the fulfilment of the figurative Easter, the real revelation”.

Thus we must begin by trying to understand the relationship between Lent and Easter, since it reveals something that is very essential, crucial, concerning our faith and our Christian life. (…)

Easter is our yearly return to our own baptism, whereas Lent is our preparation to this return, the slow and sustained effort to finally accomplish our own “passage” or “easter” in the new life in Christ. (…)

A trip. A pilgrimage. And already, by undertaking it, already in the first step in the “radiant sadness” of Lent, we can see far off, very far away, its destination: the joy of Easter, which makes the sadness of Lent radiant and by our Lenten effort a “spiritual springtime”. The night can be somber and long but, all along the road, a mysterious and luminous dawn points to the horizon. “Do not deceive our expectation, o friend of man!”.

Alexandre Schmemann Taken from the book: Major Lent. (Series: Oriental Spirituality, nº 13, ed. Bellefontaine Abbey, 1974 pp. 9, 14-15)

 

Lenten Prayer by Saint Ephrem the Syrian


Lord and Master of my life, do not abandon me to the spirit of laziness, discouragement, domination, and useless gossip!

But grant me the grace, to me your servant, of the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and charity,

Yes, Lord-King, grant me to see my faults and not to condemn my brother, o You who are blessed in the centuries of centuries. Amen.
 

 

After each request we prostrate ourself: in the long and difficult effort of spiritual recovery, the Church does not separate the soul from the body. The whole man, in his fall, has turned away from God: the whole man must be restored. (…) The body is glorious, the body is holy, so holy that God Himself “became flesh”. (…) Christian asceticism is a battle, not against the body but for it. For this reason, the whole man, body and soul, repents. The body partakes of the prayer of the soul, just as the soul prays by and in the body.

 

Alexandre Schmemann Taken from the book: Major Lent (Series: Oriental Spirituality, nº 13, ed. Bellefontaine Abbey, 1974, p. 47.

 

Exhortation

 

If we fall into sin, do not give in to despair, do not become strangers to the philantropy of the Lord.

Possibly he indeed finds in this an occasion of proving his mercy because of our weakness.

In all cases, let us be careful not to move away from him, of not being cut off of his presence. Also, let us not hasten and let us not be dominated by discouragement, but without cease let us make ours this principle: “You have fallen? Immediately get up. You fall again? Once again, get up!”.

In all cases, stay close to the Doctor, without which your condemnation will be even heavier.

Do not leave him and he will cover you with his love, either by letting you return to him, or by such and such a trial, or any other way that flows from his providence and that you ignore.

Blessed Peter of Damascus

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