Monday, March 19, 2012

Half-Way There

Dear Parish Faithful & Friends in Christ,

Now that we have come, my Christ, to the middle of the time of abstinence, and have reached the veneration of Thy lifegiving Cross, falling down before it we call upon Thee: Mighty art Thou, who lovest mankind, and mighty are Thy works, for Thou hast made manifest Thy precious Cross. In fear we venerate it as we cry: Glory to Thy boundless compassion.
(Matins, Monday of the Fourth Week)

I would like to encourage everyone as we enter the second half of the sacred forty day period of Great Lent. May the Lord continue to bless your efforts as well as provide us all with patience and perseverance, as we now begin to focus on the Cross, on which the Lord of Glory was crucified for our sakes. It was Fr. Alexander Schmemann who insightfully wrote in his book Great Lent, that we concentrate on our ascetical efforts and on overcoming our desires and passions for the first half of Great Lent; but then shift our focus toward the Cross, which is the one reality that brings meaning and purpose to the Lenten journey in the first place. On Golgotha our redemption was worked out “in the midst of the earth,” and the empty tomb revealed the meaning of the victory of crucified love. This balance between the Cross and Resurrection is perfectly expressed in the hymn that accompanies our prostrations before the life-giving Cross of the Lord:

Before Thy Cross, we bow down in worship, O Master,and Thy holy Resurrection, we glorify!

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