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