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Lent

“…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)

"...it’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)


#FatherJohnZeyack #BishopBasilLosten #MarianneSailus #FrStavrosNAkrotirianakis #FatherAndrewDemotses #ArchimandriteRobertTaftSJ #SrDrVassaLarin #Dynamis #SacramentalLivingMinistries #StJohnChrysostom #Dynamis #FrPhilipLeMasters #MetropolitanKallistosWare #FrBasil

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