Clean Wednesday: Spiritual Fast

My dish for the first Lenten potluck of 2015 is marinating in the fridge, but as much as I’m looking forward to the potluck, the thing that’s making me really happy is thinking about hearing Let My Prayer Arise for the first time. And the noise of everyone shuffling around in the chapel trying to find a spot to make prostrations during the Prayer of St. Ephraim. We also have some great stichera that teach us about the true meaning of the fast – that’s the great thing about Orthodox liturgical music, it has real meaning and you can learn so much from it. If you attend all the services for one year and pay attention to the music, you will learn everything the Church believes.

Here are a few stichera to get us through these last few hours before Presanctified Liturgy. I hope you all get to enjoy breaking the fast afterwards (to some degree) with your church family like I will! *Not the fast, the Clean Week/Eucharistic fast 🙂

While fasting physically, brethren, let us also fast spiritually. Let us loose every knot of iniquity. Let us tear up every unrighteous bond. Let us distribute bread to the hungry, and welcome into our homes those who have no roof over their heads, so that we may receive the Great Mercy from Christ our God.

Elias was enlightened through fasting. He mounted the chariot of good works and was taken up to the heights of heaven. Emulate him, O humble soul. Abstain from every evil and jealousy, from every fleeting pleasure, so that ye might be cleansed of corrupting disease, the fires of Gehenna, crying to Christ: O Lord, glory to Thee.

O divine apostles, fervent intercessors for the world, defenders of the Orthodox. Ye possess the authority to entreat Christ our God with boldness. We entreat ye to pray for us, O honorable ones, that we might spend the good time of fasting in joyousness and receive the grace of the consubstantial Trinity. Pray for our souls, O great and glorious preachers.

Clean Wednesday – Prayer of Saint Ephraim the Syrian

St. Ephraim the Syrian
O Lord and Master of my life
Take from me the spirit of sloth, meddling, lust of power, and idle talk

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own sins and not to judge my brother
For Thou art holy unto ages of ages

Clean Tuesday

2014 Good Fight
From All Saints Greek Orthodox Monastery on facebook.

One more day to go until our first Presanctified Liturgy of Great Lent.

“O godly apostles, fervent intercessors of the world and defenders of the Orthodox, ye who have the power to draw near with boldness unto Christ our God. O all revered ones
we beg you: pray on our behalf that unhindered we may keep the holy season of the fast and recieve the grace of the consubstantial Trinity. O great and glorious preachers worthy of all honor, pray for us.”
Stichera for the 1st Wednesday in Great Lent, Tone 5, verse 5

Greek Wild Tea/Mountain Tea

Today I remembered something I stashed away at work. My brother likes to go shopping at the nearby Middle Eastern market whenever he’s home, and buy really random things that he doesn’t have time to finish. And so we get to enjoy whatever is leftover!

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The roads didn’t seem too bad when I woke up this morning, and I didn’t check my email to see Matins was canceled. So…

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about halfway to church the snow really started coming down. I tried to stay calm as half the people around me started driving like old ladies (no offense to the elderly, but) and the other half sped around them. I wanted to speed around them, too, but I am trying to be more patient.

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It sure was cold out, though. When I got to the empty church, of course the first thing I did was turn on the space heater in my office.

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The second thing I did was make some Wild Tea imported from Athens, Greece. I don’t how to describe the flavor…just a nice, mild tea. Nothing fancy. But a couple steps up from my usual plain hot water. Thanks, bro!

Clean Tuesday

“Sometimes in the affliction of your soul you wish to die. It is easy to die, and does not take long; but are you prepared for death? Remember that after death the judgment of your whole life will follow. You are not prepared for death, and if it were to come to you, you would shudder all over. Therefore do not waste words in vain. Do not say: ‘It is better for me to die,’ but rather, ‘How can I prepare for death in a Christian manner?’ By means of faith, by means of good works, and by bravely bearing the miseries and sorrows that happen to you, so as to be able to meet death fearlessly, peacefully, and without shame, not as a rigorous law of nature, but as a fatherly call of the eternal, heavenly, holy, and blessed Father unto the everlasting Kingdom. Remember the old man who, being weary of his heavy burden, called for death. When it came he did not wish to die, and preferred to go on carrying his heavy burden.”

– St. John of Kronstadt