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Our Lenten Journey towards God and His love     +Father Andrew Eugenis

            Great and Holy Lent can be a new beginning for each of us.  Lent will begin for us on Clean Monday February 19th.  I am often asked what type of fast is prescribed for Lent, or what can I eat or not eat during Lent?  I first would like to say; Lent with just fasting, is just a forty-day diet.  Fasting is only the beginning as it is just a discipline which helps us to control our lives during Lent.  The greatest accomplishments we can achieve during Lent, is growing closer to our Lord and Savior and learn to love Him as he loves us.  The best example of this love is the way a child loves his parents, unconditionally.

            A child once said, "I really love Jesus more than anything in the whole world."  In many ways children are more capable of loving God than adults, as they are more trusting and more receptive to God's love.  As adults, the secularism of our society along with our own failings, have robbed us of the precious qualities of childhood, making us more self-centered and self-reliant.  Unless we train and succeed in battling these forces, we will find the child-like love of God is no longer in our hearts.

            Lent affords us the opportunity to rekindle the love we had for God when we were children.  What is love?  True love is a gift from God; it is the fruit of the Spirit.  Without it, our spiritual progress is sluggish and stalled.  As adults, we once again must reacquire this love and cultivate it in our hearts.  Yet, how can we do this when we live in a secular society and all of its pressures?  We have many examples of individuals who have done just this.  The Saint’s time-and-time again prove to us how ordinary men, women, and children who in their secular settings and through their efforts to love God overcame the same self-centeredness and self-reliance which surrounds us today.

            We must pray and move towards God that He guide us to love Him, for God Himself is love and He bestows love as a gift of Himself.  We cannot manufacture love ourselves; we can only attract it through our efforts, i.e. prayer, fasting, and by participating in the sacraments of the church and reading scripture and other spiritual material.  If we love God above all, this and this alone will provide the energy and motivation necessary to progress on the path to salvation and follow the road which the Saints of our Church have laid for us.

            On Saturday February 24th our church will have a Lenten lecture beginning at 11:00am following the Third Saturday of the Souls Divine Liturgy.  Please make every effort to attend this retreat/lecture and allow the Great Lent help us to overcome the pressures of society and become child-like once again; as did the saints, and once again open our hearts in a simple and true way to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Take full advantage of this lecture and Great Lent through prayer and fasting and all the other avenues the Church has to offer and become child-like once again.

 

Guidelines for fasting for the forty Days of Lent

 

I offer the following guidelines to be considered prayerfully and in consideration of any medical condition or dietary requirements a person may have.

 

Strict Fast

No meat, Fish, Milk, Dairy Products, Olive Oil.

Palm Sunday

Fish, Oil & Wine are permitted.

Feast of the Annunciation/March 25th

Fish, Oil & Wine are permitted

Shellfish are permitted throughout Great Lent

Remember Lent is a time of discipline, the conditioning, for both our bodies and souls.  May we be strengthened and grow closer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ during this Lenten period, keeping in mind, a forty day fast without prayer, is only a forty day diet!