Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Fourth Day: The Meaning of Our Existence

Dear Parish Faithful,

O Lord, Thou hast appointed repentance for me a sinner, wishing in Thy boundless mercy to save me though unworthy. I fall down before Thee and I pray: humble my soul through fasting, for I flee to Thee for refuge, who alone art rich in mercy.
(Thursday Matins of the First Week of Lent)

The wonderful First Week of Great Lent – so unique and refreshing - is slipping away! Only one evening remaining for St. Andrew’s Canon of Repentance! If you can somehow break your weekly domestic pattern of existence, make the trip, and enter the grace-filled atmosphere of the church, you will perhaps leave the dreary flow of time and “break on through the other side!” into the sanctified time of the Church which is a foretaste of the Kingdom of God.

Yesterday evening, we heard some Christological troparia from the Fourth Ode of the Canon that allowed us to anticipate Holy Week and remind us of the true purpose and destination of our Lenten journey:

You offered Your Body and Blood for all, O crucified Word, that I might be renewed and washed. Your surrendered Your Spirit to the Father that I might be brought to Him.

Accepting voluntarily to be nailed to a Tree, You accomplished salvation in the center of the earth, O Creator. Eden, which was closed to us is open again, and all of creation, both in heaven and on earth, is saved and worships You. Let the blood and water which flowed from Your side be a fountain of living water and deliverance from captivity to sin. May they cleanse, refresh and anoint me as do Your living words, O Word.

All of the prayers, hymns, rites, and practices of the Church find their raison d’etre in Christ. Yet, with only a bit of reflection, we realize as Christians that the very meaning of our existence is found in Christ crucified – our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctification. This is why every day we may be “surprised by joy” and enter the “new creation” promised by God.

in Christ,
Fr. Steven

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