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“Christians must carry the radiant image of Christ through the twilight of life in the modern world, proclaiming it to the world, which is lost in the wilds of self-love. And the Gospel speaks of love for God and for your neighbor. Perhaps it is the duty of every Christian to carry the radiant image of Christ, about which the venerable father speaks. And, of course, a believer need not proclaim Christ by standing with a megaphone in a large square or pestering his relatives—as we often do, demanding that they repent immediately of all their sins, start going to Church, etc. Such “preaching” does not usually bear fruit, because the best preaching is when a believer shines from within with love, leniency towards others, mercy, inner peace, prayer, grace and harmony. Of course, it is very difficult, because we do not always succeed in shining from within. But this is what the Church calls on us to do.” (Igumen Tikhon Borisov)

“The Lenten fast…is not our individual business, but rather the labor of the whole Body of Christ. Let us commit to a blessed fast for our brothers and sisters. To express this commitment, many of our parishes begin the fast by celebrating Forgiveness Vespers. This service discloses the mutual love that bonds us together during the fast, especially if we continue to live it thereafter.” (Dynamis 3/31/2021)

“Because it is so hard to forgive, we need spiritual disciplines like fasting to help us gain strength to reorient our hearts for fulfillment in God. Our first parents’ refusal to restrain their desire for food according to God’s command brought corruption to the world. By struggling to abstain from satisfying ourselves with rich food during Lent, we will come to see more clearly how addicted we are to self-centered desire. That should help us grow in patience and empathy for our neighbors, especially those who have treated us according to their passions. Fasting strengthens our ability to forgive by helping us gain humility. Pride makes forgiveness impossible by blinding us to the truth about our souls, but humility fuels forgiveness.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“This world is a crucible, and we are being refined like gold. So long as we live and breathe in this world we experience what St. Isaac calls “changeableness.” We are refined and purified so that we can more clearly radiate the Light of Christ, which is indeed the very clothing with which God clothes us.” (Fr. Michael Gillis) 

“May our Lenten labors be repentance and contrition. May the people whom we will meet—at work, on the train, in the subway or on the street—during Lent (this season will surely fly by quickly), people who are lost, who know nothing about the Church and faith—feel if only a little warmth and care from us may then see that there is another life, that “these people”, as they used to say about Christians in ancient times, are “special people: they live in a different way.” True, today we don't live the way the first Christians lived. But still, let the people we meet feel that there are other values and other goals in this life.” (Igumen Tikhon Borisov)

“In Lent, our focus must be set squarely on Christ and His living icons, not on us. The fundamental calling of the Christian life is to become like our Lord, Who offered Himself up for the salvation of the world purely out of love. If we want to approach Lent in a spiritually healthy way that will enable us to participate more fully in Him, then we too must offer up ourselves for our neighbors….The purpose of our Lenten journey is simply to become more beautiful living icons of our Lord, which means becoming more truly ourselves in His image and likeness.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“Orthodox fasting is personal but isolated. It is individual but never disconnected from the Body of Christ. How we observe the spiritual disciplines of Lent can either strengthen us and our fellow believers or it can weaken us—and them. So then we must be careful how we talk about prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Above all, we should not compare our observances with others as the Pharisee did in the Parable of the Publication and Pharisee. Instead of comparing our practices, we should share with one another the spirit of Lent, the spirit of repentance and turning to the God of mercy, the God who gives strength to the weak and grace to the penitent.” (Fr. Basil)

“In an inexplicable manner, holy humility elevates us about all created things and preserves the grace of God in our life. Let’s bear in mind, then, a wise warning that says: ‘the devil doesn’t eat or drink, so in theory he’s the greatest ascetic, but that doesn’t make him any the less evil… Humility’s the only weapon that defeats the devil, it’s the necessary requirement for salvation, the mystic divine force which enfolds all within itself. Wherever humility blossoms, there flows the glory of God, there the eye of the plant of the soul blooms into an unfading flower” (St. Isaac the Syrian).

“Abstinence from food is only a training for the real fasting we are to be doing which is fasting from harming others and fasting from all sin…demons perpetually fast since they are incorporeal beings and never need to eat. No demon will ever be accused of gluttony, wastefulness or drunkenness. Such complete and strict fasting does not help demons as they still don’t love God or others. We are to use fasting (something demons do constantly!) to learn how to love others (something demons never do). The goal is not the fasting, for fasting is but a tool to learn to consider the needs of others before thinking of one’s self and to avoid sin. Both of these are the necessary steps towards loving others. Even if we food fast perfectly, never overeating or overdrinking, never partaking of meat or dairy or eggs or alcohol, we will not be doing any more than demons do every day.” (St Gregory of Nyssa, Fr. Ted Bobosh) 

“…the Book of Isaiah warns about types of fasting displeasing and pleasing to God. Briefly, fasting that pleases God involves showing mercy to our brothers and sisters rather than parading our asceticism in public…charity to the poor outranks all of the ascetical denial…Christ Himself does not say that those who practiced strict self-denial will attain the kingdom, but those who provided for the needs of the least of Christ’s brothers and sisters. Important words for all Orthodox to consider as we enter into Great Lent. In terms of the Last Judgment, our charitable deeds are more important spiritually than our self-denying asceticism.” (Archpriest Steven John Belonick, Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“…the entire purpose of Great Lent is repentance, which is cleaning up our Christian life, and our church communities so that people will want to come and see more of Christ based on our witness of Him.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“In the coming fast we have the opportunity to awaken our hearts and minds to Christ, who calls us to undertake the regimen of fasting. However, He does not wish us to abstain in narrow, slavish obedience to a set of rules concerning the intake of food. Rather, the Lord Jesus asks us to direct our Lenten efforts to Him personally: “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, wailing, and with mourning; rend your heart” (Joel 3:12-13/Joel 4:12-13 LXX). Speaking of the Lord’s command to “sanctify a fast” (vs. 15), Saint Athanasios the Great remind us that “the boast of fasting did no good to the Pharisee, although he fasted twice in the week, only because he exalted himself.” (Dynamis, 3/3/2022)

“The Savior does not call us to try to impress Him by being extremely religious or doing good deeds. Instead, He calls us to embrace His healing to the point that we radiate His selfless love to the other people in whom He is present to us. The more our character conforms to His, the more we will spontaneously offer ourselves to build relationships of love with the neighbors in whom we encounter Him. Of course, there are false substitutes for uniting ourselves to Christ as we serve others as He has served us. It is possible to distort the fasting guidelines and other disciplines of Lent into legalistic acts we think will somehow satisfy God or make us look virtuous in the eyes of others. Doing so is simply a distraction from fulfilling the true purpose of the coming season. It is the vain effort of trying to serve ourselves instead of God and those who bear His image and likeness.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“If we are ever tempted to think that the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are antiquated niceties for those removed from the cares of daily life, we must think again. They are absolute necessities for us to live faithfully in our world of corruption. They are not practices focused on individual spiritual gratification, but how we find the strength to offer ourselves for the blessing of our neighbors and the salvation of the world. If we do not embrace them with integrity, then we risk becoming so enslaved to our passions that we will refuse to love and serve Christ in His living icons who are all around us every day of our lives. We may even degrade ourselves to the point that we think we are justified in hating and doing harm to those in whom we encounter our Savior.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“ ‘The True Nature of Fasting…Fasting is valueless or even harmful when not combined with prayer’. In the Gospel, the devil is cast out, not by fasting alone but by prayer and fasting (Matt. 17:31; Mark 9:29. And of early Christians it is said, not simply that they fasted but as an aid to more intense and living prayer, as a preparation for decisive action and for direct encounter with God.” (Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Fr. Basil)

“The Lenten fast, which will soon be upon us, is not our individual business, but rather the labor of the whole Body of Christ…Repentance is our supreme work during the Great Fast, enabling us to “praise the name of the Lord [our] God for what He has so wondrously done unto [us]” (vs. 26). Let us rend our hearts and turn to the compassionate Lord!” (Dynamis 2/21/2015, 2/14/2018)

“When people think of the word “Lent,” the word “fasting” is one of the first things that comes to mind. The cornerstone of Lent is not fasting, but repentance and growing in our faith. Lent is not a season of deprivation, nor should we “give up” something only to get it back once Lent is over. Lent is about repentance, and making small and permanent changes to bring us closer to the Lord, changes that will last long after Lent is over. This is the purpose of the Lenten journey.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“We learn early on in Scripture about how our thinking got distorted due to sin and that our first impulse is typically to run away from God or do opposite of what God would have us do even. Fasting is about gaining through giving. We voluntarily give up so that we may gain. Instead of being focused on the giving up of certain foods, we should see it as a step in growing toward something wonderful. Like an athlete or an artist, we give up our time for leisure and voluntarily choose to work because we want to get better at our craft. We see working hard and giving up leisure activities as necessary means to attain our goal.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

" ‘Open to me the doors of repentance, O Giver of Life…’ (Lenten Prayer, sung at Byzantine Sunday matins) “Repentance” (i.e. “metanoia,” a change of mind) is a transition, so it needs to be “entered,” like a door. While the “doors” of repentance are inside me, the power to open them, to open my heart, mind and body to the sometimes-scary prospect of change, is outside me, in the Giver of Life. So in the prayer quoted above, which we sing this weekend for the first time, and keep singing throughout Lent, we ask God to nudge us forward, toward the springtime of Lent.” (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“Many Christians, unaware of the great value of fasting, either keep the fast with difficulty or reject it altogether. We should not be afraid to fast but embrace it with joy.” (St. John Chrysostom)

“Lent is a time for those who are at the “curious” stage to explore the faith deeper. For those who are at the “desire” stage, it is a time to deepen the commitment. For those who are at the “convicted” stage, it is a time to give greater witness. For those out recruiting, it is time to double efforts and recruit even more people to “come and see” the power of God to transform lives.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“First and foremost, then, Lent is a time for interior struggle...Within our minds, we experience life as a constant flood of turbulent thoughts….Let us use the time of the fast to reorder our thoughts, laying down a new beginning and gaining the skills to contend for the faith…” (Dynamis 2/17/2015)

“Fortunately for us, the church recognized from its earliest days that we would need regular periods of reflection and renewed effort if we were to free ourselves from the relentless grip of worldly cares, to once again imitate the example of Christ and reflect it in our lives. It did so by developing the season of Lent, a season which invites us to renew our concentration on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving which lie at the very heart of Christian living.” (Father Andrew Demotses)

“Lent exists not to escape life, but to begin to live by escaping the many drugs with which we dull our spiritual sensibilities.” (Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ)

“Today let me let God open me up to the life-giving changes unfolding now, in the Lenten season. I need not be impatient or self-justifying in my “progress,” as the Pharisee was (Lk 18: 11-12), but rather open up to God’s life-giving mercy, as did the tax-collector (Lk 18: 13). Because it is God alone Who sees me as I am, and where I am, and it is His to “justify” my journey in His light, when I let Him be Who He is, the one source of Life and Justice." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“Lent is the time to get rid of our pride. A time for less of me and more of God and others; of putting God first; of loving as I want to be loved; Of beginning to see how much I am loved and blessed by God; of changing my heart, of softening my heart. All the things of Lent that we do, fasting, prayer, almsgiving, the prayers, the gestures, are not for, not themselves the goal, but they point to the goal of Lent. They are the means to the end, which is to open our hearts to God and one another.” (Father John Zeyack)

“Lent is a spiritual exercise, to cure us of spiritual laziness.” (Bishop Basil Losten)

“Lent is the time of awareness, restoration, forgiveness, renewal and transformation.” (Father John Zeyack)

"’s remarkable how quickly people sometimes excuse their own faults but nevertheless require the highest standards of behavior from those around them! Lent is especially a time when we should practice patience towards one another. A good test of our fasting is our behavior towards each other. If we find ourselves becoming more irritable and cross with one another, our fasting is doing us no good and we should look again, very clearly, at how we are keeping Lent.” (Bishop Basil Losten)

"Great Lent gives us the opportunity to renew practicing our faith through prayer, fasting, and alms-giving. While we sometimes see these as three separate goals, they really are more like points on a triangle.” (Marianne Sailus)

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