PAGE FOR LENT TIME
Great Lenten Prayer of St Ephraim
O Lord and
Master of my life, cast from me the spirit of sloth, despondency,
lust for power and idle talk.
But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility,
patience and love.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not
to judge my brothers and sisters. For Thou art blessed unto
ages of ages. Amen.
O God, cleanse Thou me a sinner (12 times, with as many bows,
and then again the whole prayer from the beginning throughout,
and after that one great prostration)
Prayer of Glory to Christ
What shall I give Thee, Lord, in return for all Thy kindness?
Glory to Thee for Thy love.
Glory to Thee for Thy mercy.
Glory to Thee for Thy patience.
Glory to Thee for forgiving us all our sins.
Glory to Thee for coming to save our souls.
Glory to Thee for Thine incarnation in the Virgin's womb.
Glory to Thee for Thy bonds.
Glory to Thee for receiving the cut of the lash.
Glory to Thee for accepting mockery.
Glory to Thee for Thy crucifixion.
Glory to Thee for Thy burial.
Glory to Thee for Thy resurrection.
Glory to Thee who were preached to men and women.
Glory to Thee in whom they believed.
Glory to Thee who were taken up into Heaven.
Glory to Thee who sit in great glory at the Father's right hand.
Glory to Thee whose will it is that the sinner should be saved
through Thy great mercy and compassion.
from St Ephraim on Intercessory Prayer
me, ye heirs of God, ye brethren of Christ; supplicate the Savior
earnestly for me, that I may be freed through Christ from him
that fights against me day by day."
(From 'The Fear at the End of Life')
victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake
of the God and Savior, ye who have boldness of speech toward
the Lord Himself, ye saints, intercede for us who are timid
and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may
come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us that so
we may love Him."
(From the Commentary on Mark)
Introduction to Great Lent by Father A. Schmemann
a man leaves on a journey, he must know where he is going. Thus
with Lent. Above all, Lent is a spiritual journey and its destination
is Easter, "the Feast of Feasts." It is the preparation
for the "fulfillment of Pascha, the true Revelation."
We must begin, therefore, by trying to understand this connection
between Lent and Easter, for it reveals something very essential,
very crucial about our Christian faith and life.
it necessary to explain that Easter is much more than one of
the feasts, more than a yearly commemoration of a past event?
Anyone who has, be it only once, taken part in that night which
is "brighter than the day," who has tasted of that
unique joy, knows it. [...] On Easter we celebrate Christ's
Resurrection as something that happened and still happens to
us. For each one of us received the gift of that new life and
the power to accept it and live by it. It is a gift which radically
alters our attitude toward everything in this world, including
death. It makes it possible for us to joyfully affirm: "Death
is no more!" Oh, death is still there, to be sure, and
we still face it and someday it will come and take us. But it
is our whole faith that by His own death Christ changed the
very nature of death, made it a passage — a "passover,"
a "Pascha" — into the Kingdom of God, transforming
the tragedy of tragedies into the ultimate victory. [...]
is that faith of the Church, affirmed and made evident by her
countless Saints. Is it not our daily experience, however, that
this faith is very seldom ours, that all the time we lose and
betray the "new life" which we received as a gift,
and that in fact we live as if Christ did not rise from the
dead, as if that unique event had no meaning whatsoever for
us? [...] We simply forget all this — so busy are we,
so immersed in our daily preoccupations — and because
we forget, we fail. And through this forgetfulness, failure,
and sin, our life becomes "old" again — petty,
dark, and ultimately meaningless — a meaningless journey
toward a meaningless end. [...] We may from time to time acknowledge
and confess our various "sins," yet we cease to refer
our life to that new life which Christ revealed and gave to
us. Indeed, we live as if He never came. This is the only real
sin, the sin of all sins, the bottomless sadness and tragedy
of our nominal Christianity.
we realize this, then we may understand what Easter is and why
it needs and presupposes Lent. For we may then understand that
the liturgical traditions of the Church, all its cycles and
services, exist, first of all, in order to help us recover the
vision and the taste of that new life which we so easily lose
and betray, so that we may repent and return to it. [...] And
yet the "old" life, that of sin and pettiness, is
not easily overcome and changed. The Gospel expects and requires
from man an effort of which, in his present state, he is virtually
incapable. [...] This is where Great Lent comes in. This is
the help extended to us by the Church, the school of repentance
which alone will make it possible to receive Easter not as mere
permission to eat, to drink, and to relax, but indeed as the
end of the "old" in us, as our entrance into the "new."
[...] For each year Lent and Easter are, once again, the rediscovery
and the recovery by us of what we were made through our own
baptismal death and resurrection.
journey, a pilgrimage! Yet, as we begin it, as we make the first
step into the "bright sadness" of Lent, we see —
far, far away — the destination. It is the joy of Easter,
it is the entrance into the glory of the Kingdom. And it is
this vision, the foretaste of Easter, that makes Lent's sadness
bright and our lenten effort a "spiritual spring."
The night may be dark and long, but all along the way a mysterious
and radiant dawn seems to shine on the horizon. "Do not
deprive us of our expectation, O Lover of man!"
mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me ; according to the multitude
of Thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly
from mine iniquity and cleanse me from my sin, for I acknowledge
my transgression, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee,
Thee only have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight, that
Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest and prevail when
Thou art judged. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquities and
in sin did my mother bear me. But behold, Thou desirest truth
in my innermost parts, and in my hidden parts Thou shalt make
me to understand wisdom.
me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be
whiter than the snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, that
the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice. Turn Thy face
from my sin and put out all mine iniquities far from me. Create
in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within
me. Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy
Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and
uphold me with Thy steadfast Spirit. Then shall I teach transgressors
Thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto Thee. Deliver
me from blood-guiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation, and
my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness. Open my lips,
and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.
shouldest Thou desire sacrifice, I would give it Thee; but Thou
delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifice of God is a
broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart -- these, O God,
shalt Thou not despise.
good in Thy good pleasure to Sion; buildest Thou up the walls
of Jerusalem. Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifice
of righteousness, with oblation and whole-burnt offerings. Then
shall they offer young bullocks upon Thine altar.
From Concerning the Statues, Excerpts from Homily III
speak not, indeed, of such a fast as most persons keep, but
of real fasting; not merely an abstinence from meats; but from
the nature of a fast is such, that it does not suffice to deliver
those who practice it, unless it be done according to a suitable
law. "For the wrestler," it is said, "is not
crowned unless he strive lawfully."
the end then, that when we have gone through the labor of fasting,
we forfeit not the crown of fasting, we should understand how,
and after what manner, it is necessary to conduct this business;
since that Pharisee also fasted, but afterwards when down empty,
and destitute of the fruit of fasting.
Publican fasted not; and yet he was accepted in preference to
him who had fasted; in order that thou mayest learn that fasting
is unprofitable, except all other duties follow with it.
Ninevites fasted, and won the favor of God.
Jews fasted too, and profited nothing, nay they departed with
then the danger in fasting is so great to those who do not know
how they ought to fast, we should learn the laws of this exercise,
in order that we may not "run uncertainly," nor "beat
the air," nor while we are fighting contend with a shadow.
is a medicine; but a medicine, though it be never so profitable,
becomes frequently useless owing to the unskillfulness of him
who employs it. For it is necessary to know, moreover, the time
when it should be applied, and the requisite quantity of it;
and the temperament of body that admits it; and the nature of
the country, and the season of the year; and the corresponding
diet; as well as various other particulars; any of which, if
one overlooks, he will mar all the rest that have been named.
if, when the body needs healing, such exactness is required
on our part, much more ought we, when our care is about the
soul, and we seek to heal the distempers of the mind, to look,
and to search into every particular with the utmost accuracy.
I have said these things, not that we may disparage fasting,
but that we may honor fasting; for the honor of fasting consists
not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing from sinful
practices; since he who limits his fasting only to an abstinence
from meats, is one who especially disparages it.
thou fast ? Give me proof of it by thy works !
it said by what kind of work ?
thou seest a poor man, take pity on him!
thou seest an enemy, be reconciled to him!
thou seest a friend gaining honor, envy him not !
thou seest a handsome woman, pass her by !
let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and ear, and
the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies.
the hands fast, by being pure from rapine and avarice.
the feet fast, but ceasing from running to the unlawful spectacles.
the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves rudely upon
handsome countenances, or to busy themselves with strange beauties.
looking is the food of the eyes, but if this be such as is unlawful
or forbidden, it mars the fast; and upsets the whole safety
of the soul; but if it be lawful and safe, it adorns fasting.
it would be among things the most absurd to abstain from lawful
food because of the fast, but with the eyes to touch even what
is forbidden. Dost thou not eat flesh? Feed not upon lasciviousness
by means of the eyes.
the ear fast also. The fasting of the ear consists in refusing
to receive evil speakings and calumnies. "Thou shalt not
receive a false report," it says.