Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Tomorrow, Christmas Lent Begins

Silent Night

Viggo Johansen

1891

________________________

We’ve said much about the Lenten periods, yet, once one begins, we hear the same question:

What are we not supposed to do?

The brief answer to that is:

Food is in last place. It isn’t an end-all and be-all; it’s only a means.

The Lenten effort requires five things.

LEARN TO PRAY

Try to add something extra to your routine. If you don’t normally pray, make a brief but regular prayer. If you have a morning and evening rule, read the Psalms, or the daily Gospel reading. If you go to services only on Sunday, try to make it for one of the weekday services.

LEARN TO FIGHT SIN

Look at your repetitive sins… choose the smallest and try to overcome it. For example, do you complain about everything you see or hear? Do you talk about others behind their back? Do you hold an old grudge against a relative (boss, teacher, neighbour, etc)? Overcome this through daily prayer.

LEARN TO REPENT

Choose your most secret sin… the one most hidden from the eyes of others and one for which you’re particularly ashamed. Go to confession and ask how to fight it. Choose an experienced priest to help you with what you need.

LEARN TO DO GOOD

For I was hungered, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me.

Gospel according to St Matthew 25.35-36

At the end of each day, search your conscience and ask yourself, “What good deed did I do today? Who did I comfort, who did I help, and who did I devote time to?” If you didn’t do that, you wasted the day.

LEARN TO BE JOYFUL

Open up to the beauty of God’s world. Meditate on God’s gifts and on the talents that He endows us with. Show manifestations of love, compassion, and mercy, along with reflecting on logic, harmony, and truth. In short, focus on everything that brings us closer to God.

I wish you a salvific and joyful Christmas Lent, my friends!

24 November 2017

Archpriest Vladimir Vigilyansky

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