Lenten Resources

For Christians to talk about their faith together, and build one another up.
Forum rules
For Christians to talk about their faith together, and build one another up. Non-Christians may post here but should respect the Christian emphasis of this section.

Lenten Resources

Postby Theophilus » February 22nd, 2009, 3:05 am

On Fasting

- St. John Chrysostom

Fasting is a medicine. But medicine, as beneficial as it is, becomes useless because of the inexperience of the user. He has to know the appropriate time that the medicine should be taken and the right amount of medicine and the condition of the body which is to take it, the weather conditions and the season of the year and the appropriate diet of the sick and many other things. If any of these things are overlooked, the medicine will do more harm than good. So, if one who is going to heal the body needs so much accuracy, when we care for the soul and are concerned about healing it from bad thoughts, it is necessary to examine and observe everything with every possible detail

Fasting is the change of every part of our life, because the sacrifice of the fast is not the abstinence but the distancing from sins. Therefore, whoever limits the fast to the deprivation of food, he is the one who, in reality, abhors and ridicules the fast. Are you fasting? Show me your fast with your works. Which works? If you see someone who is poor, show him mercy. If you see an enemy, reconcile with him. If you see a friend who is becoming successful, do not be jealous of him! If you see a beautiful woman on the street, pass her by.

In other words, not only should the mouth fast, but the eyes and the legs and the arms and all the other parts of the body should fast as well. Let the hands fast, remaining clean from stealing and greediness. Let the legs fast, avoiding roads which lead to sinful sights. Let the eyes fast by not fixing themselves on beautiful faces and by not observing the beauty of others. You are not eating meat, are you? You should not eat debauchery with your eyes as well. Let your hearing also fast. The fast of hearing is not to accept bad talk against others and sly defamations.

Let the mouth fast from disgraceful and abusive words, because, what gain is there when, on the one hand we avoid eating chicken and fish and, on the other, we chew-up and consume our brothers? He who condemns and blasphemes is as if he has eaten brotherly meat, as if he has bitten into the flesh of his fellow man. It is because of this that Paul frightened us, saying: "If you chew up and consume one another be careful that you do not annihilate yourselves."

You did not thrust your teeth into the flesh (of your neighbor) but you thrusted bad talk in his soul; you wounded it by spreading disfame, causing unestimatable damage both to yourself, to him, and to many others.

If you cannot go without eating all day because of an ailment of the body, beloved one, no logical man will be able to criticize you for that. Besides, we have a Lord who is meek and loving (philanthropic) and who does not ask for anything beyond our power. Because he neither requires the abstinence from foods, neither that the fast take place for the simple sake of fasting, neither is its aim that we remain with empty stomachs, but that we fast to offer our entire selves to the dedication of spiritual things, having distanced ourselves from secular things. If we regulated our life with a sober mind and directed all of our interest toward spiritual things, and if we ate as much as we needed to satisfy our necessary needs and offered our entire lives to good works, we would not have any need of the help rendered by the fast. But because human nature is indifferent and gives itself over mostly to comforts and gratifications, for this reason the philanthropic Lord, like a loving and caring father, devised the therapy of the fast for us, so that our gratifications would be completely stopped and that our worldly cares be transferred to spiritual works. So, if there are some who have gathered here and who are hindered by somatic ailments and cannot remain without food, I advise them to nullify the somatic ailment and not to deprive themselves from this spiritual teaching, but to care for it even more.

For there exist, there really exist, ways which are even more important than abstinence from food which can open the gates which lead to God with boldness. He, therefore, who eats and cannot fast, let him display richer almsgiving, let him pray more, let him have a more intense desire to hear divine words. In this, our somatic illness is not a hindrance. Let him become reconciled with his enemies, let him distance from his soul every resentment. If he wants to accomplish these things, then he has done the true fast, which is what the Lord asks of us more than anything else. It is for this reason that he asks us to abstain from food, in order to place the flesh in subjection to the fulfillment of his commandments, whereby curbing its impetuousness. But if we are not about to offer to ourselves the help rendered by the fast because of bodily illness and at the same time display greater indifference, we will see ourselves in an unusual exaggerated way. For if the fast does not help us when all the aforementioned accomplishments are missing so much is the case when we display greater indifference because we cannot even use the medicine of fasting. Since you have learned these things from us, I pardon you, those who can, fast and you yourselves increase your acuteness and praiseworthy desire as much as possible.

To the brothers, though, who cannot fast because of bodily illness, encourage them not to abandon this spiritual word, teaching them and passing on to them all the things we say here, showing them that he who eats and drinks with moderation is not unworthy to hear these things but he who is indifferent and slack. You should tell them the bold and daring saying that "he who eats for the glory of the Lord eats and he who does not eat for the glory of the Lord does not eat and pleases God." For he who fasts pleases God because he has the strength to endure the fatigue of the fast and he that eats also pleases God because nothing of this sort can harm the salvation of his soul, as long as he does not want it to. Because our philanthropic God showed us so many ways by which we can, if we desire, take part in God's power that it is impossible to mention them all.

We have said enough about those who are missing, being that we want to eliminate them from the excuse of shame. For they should not be ashamed because food does not bring on shame but the act of some wrongdoing. Sin is a great shame. If we commit it not only should we feel ashamed but we should cover ourselves exactly the same way those who are wounded do. Even then we should not forsake ourselves but rush to confession and thanksgiving. We have such a Lord who asks nothing of us but to confess our sins, after the commitment of a sin which was due to our indifference, and to stop at that point and not to fall into the same one again. If we eat with moderation we should never be ashamed, because the Creator gave us such a body which cannot be supported in any other way except by receiving food. Let us only stop excessive food because that attributes a great deal to the health and well-being of the body.

Let us therefore in every way cast off every destructive madness so that we may gain the goods which have been promised to us in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Amen.
It's later than you think!
User avatar
Theophilus
 
Posts: 2995
Joined: October 25th, 2007, 11:27 am
Blog: View Blog (4)

Re: Lenten Resources

Postby Theophilus » February 26th, 2009, 1:56 pm

Podcast on the Prodigal Son, a very relevant - even definitive - parable for the season of repentance:

Play as pop-up

Download

And for Greg, a transcript :grin: (edit: um. but there are few typos in there for some reason; sorry about that.)
It's later than you think!
User avatar
Theophilus
 
Posts: 2995
Joined: October 25th, 2007, 11:27 am
Blog: View Blog (4)

Re: Lenten Resources

Postby GregB » February 26th, 2009, 8:27 pm

Thanks, Theo - most thoughtful of you. A very interesting reflection; Hopko is always worth hearing/reading.

I think the only glaring typo was 'loose' instead of 'lose'... ;)
"To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child."
- Cicero
User avatar
GregB
 
Posts: 16040
Joined: October 25th, 2007, 11:23 am
Location: Barcelona, Spain

Re: Lenten Resources

Postby Theophilus » February 27th, 2009, 2:23 am

The Lenten prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian, added to most daily prayers during Lent:

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust for power and idle talk.
(Prostration)

But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.
(Prostration)

O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own faults and not to judge my brothers and sisters. For blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen.
(Prostration)

O God, cleanse me a sinner (12 times, with as many bows, and then again the whole prayer from the beginning throughout, and after that one prostration)

----

And the great Psalm of Repentance, Psalm 50 from the LXXX:

Have mercy on me, O God; 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.

Purge 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.

For 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.

Do 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
It's later than you think!
User avatar
Theophilus
 
Posts: 2995
Joined: October 25th, 2007, 11:27 am
Blog: View Blog (4)

Re: Lenten Resources

Postby Theophilus » February 27th, 2009, 2:26 am

An intoduction to Great Lent by Fr. Alexander Shmemann of blessed memory:

When 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.

http://www.monachos.net/content/lent/ma ... great-lent
It's later than you think!
User avatar
Theophilus
 
Posts: 2995
Joined: October 25th, 2007, 11:27 am
Blog: View Blog (4)

Re: Lenten Resources

Postby mpempa » February 27th, 2009, 8:38 am

Theo,

:wave:

Looking for an inspiring book to read during Lent? Try the Bible - the Orthodox way:

    Genesis and Proverbs - for those lonely evenings
    Isaiah - for the 6th Hour to commemorate the hour that Jesus was nailed to the cross! The Great prophetic book of Christ, the Gospel prefiguring the Gospels!
    Epistle to the Hebrews
    Gospel of Mark
Image Guide my heart, O Blessed Wisdom, and my tongue will also be guided.
User avatar
mpempa
 
Posts: 710
Joined: February 10th, 2009, 10:36 am
Location: Australia

Re: Lenten Resources

Postby Rosemary Hannah » March 1st, 2009, 11:28 pm

All good stuff, but I loved the John Chrysostom most.
Rosemary Hannah
 
Posts: 467
Joined: October 25th, 2007, 11:26 am

Lenten Resources for 2010

Postby Theophilus » January 28th, 2010, 7:43 pm

Lenten Period 2010

Sunday of the Publican of the Pharisee (Third Sunday before Lent)

Image

Let us flee the proud speaking of the Pharisee and learn the humility of the Publican, and with groaning let us cry unto the Savior: Be merciful to us, for Thou alone art ready to forgive.

The Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee is the first Sunday of a three-week period prior to the commencement of Great Lent. It marks the beginning of a time of preparation for the spiritual journey of Lent, a time for Christians to draw closer to God through worship, prayer, fasting, and acts of charity. It is also on this day that the Triodion is introduced, a liturgical book that contains the services from this Sunday, the tenth before Pascha (Easter), to Great and Holy Saturday.
Read More>>

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

- St. Luke's Gospel

Lenten reflection on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee


+
It's later than you think!
User avatar
Theophilus
 
Posts: 2995
Joined: October 25th, 2007, 11:27 am
Blog: View Blog (4)

Re: Lenten Resources

Postby mpempa » January 29th, 2010, 5:41 am

It is the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee that I shall be taking Communion ... thank you J for pointing out that I indeed think, act and speak as a Pharisee ... the only joy I can feel inside me is the knowledge of God's forgiveness of my sins in confession ... all else is a mystery to me because of my own pride.

I love you very much for this.
Image Guide my heart, O Blessed Wisdom, and my tongue will also be guided.
User avatar
mpempa
 
Posts: 710
Joined: February 10th, 2009, 10:36 am
Location: Australia

Re: Lenten Resources

Postby Sprocket » January 29th, 2010, 9:39 am

I'm certainly much more often in the company of publicans than of pharisees, so I must be very (hic!) holy.
Supercrappyfarcicalishbrexitisatrocious.
User avatar
Sprocket
 
Posts: 16257
Joined: October 25th, 2007, 11:21 am
Location: Hemel Hempstead, Herts.

Next

Return to The Christian bit

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron