Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Fifth Week of Lent: 'Summary and Fulfillment'

Dear Parish Faithful,

Beginning today, we have a very full series of lenten liturgical services in the church for the remainder of the week.  Here is the schedule with some explanatory words that may inspire you further to "take Lent seriously" and come to church to worship and pray:

Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.
Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

"The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is one of the great masterpieces of Orthodox piety and liturgical creativity. It reveals in its form and content the central Christian doctrine and experience, namely that our entire life must be spent in prayer and fasting in order that we might enter into communion with Christ who comes at the end as a 'thief in the night'.

"It tells us that all of our life, and not only the time of Great Lent, or one day of the Fast, is completed  with the Presence of the Victorious Christ who is risen from the dead. 

"It witnesses to the fact that Christ will come at the end of the ages to judge the living and the dead and to establish God's Kingdom 'of which there will be no end'. It tells us that we must be ready at His coming, found watching and serving, in order to be worthy to 'enter into the joy of the Lord'."

- Fr. Thomas Hopko

Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
The Canon of St. Andrew of Crete,
and The Life of St. Mary of Egypt

"If at the beginning of Lent this Canon was like a door leading us into repentance, now at the end of Lent it sounds like a 'summary' of repentance and its fulfillment.  If at the beginning we merely listened to it, now hopefully its words have become our words, our lamentation, our hope and repentance, and also an evaluation of our lenten effort:  how much of all of this has truly been made ours?  How far have we come along the path of this repentance?" 

- Fr. Alexander Schmemann

"The Life of St. Mary of  Egypt is read, so that the intellect and will of the believer may be detached from love of the world and, following in the footsteps of the saint, may be guided into the heart of the desert, into the heart of the mystery of repentance."

- Panagiotis Nellas

Friday at 7:00 p.m.
The Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos

"Theologically, poetically, and musically, one of the most profound and beautiful compositions bequeathed to us by Byzantium's sacred hymnographers is the Akathist Hymn to the Most Holy Theotokos. In this unparalleled  composition, Orthodox Christianity bears eloquent witness to its unshaken belief in the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God, and the Church's devotion to the 'Virgin who conceived and bore a Son'."

- Holy Transfiguration Monastery

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