February 10, 2018

Saturday before Cheesefare; the Holy Martyr Charalampius (193-211)

Romans 14:19-26; Galatians 5:22-6:2
Matthew 6:1-13; Matthew 11:27-30

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

With the season of Great Lent nearly upon us, the Church appoints this gospel passage to be read on the Saturday of Forgiveness (“Cheesefare”). It is a passage in which Our Lord calls us to humility and to a quiet and unobtrusive ascetical life always, but in particular during this season of ‘bright sadness’. For it is during Great Lent that we, in humility, discipline ourselves through fasting, prayer, and almsgiving conscious of our sinfulness and desirous of God’s infinite mercy. We should embark upon this self-denial, this spiritual discipline, in a spirit of joy recognizing that through an increased prayerfulness, spurred on by fasting and charity, we may come to know ourselves more fully. In coming to know ourselves more fully we then yearn even more for unity with Our Lord Jesus Christ, as we eagerly anticipate the celebration of His Glorious Resurrection. For the Resurrection is always the source of our joy, whether it be in a season of fasting or in feasting. During Great Lent we should keep Our Lord’s Resurrection in our hearts and minds and desire to understand more fully the forgiveness of sins and salvation that spring from it.

Our Lord calls us to pray to God the Father in the words of the Our Father. This is the prayer that He offers to us as a gift this Great Lent. How often have we said it? How often do we gloss over its words, His words, or rush through it in our daily prayer and in the Divine Liturgy? In this simple prayer we offer praise to God; we surrender to Him and place our trust in Him; we recognize that all good things, all our needs come from Him; we beg forgiveness from Him who is the source of great mercy; and, we call upon Him through the power of His Resurrection to deliver us from the powers of evil that seek to ensnare us and tear us from Him. Glory to God for these words! This Great Lent let us pray the Our Father more fervently and humbly and together with our other Lenten disciplines welcome God more fully into our hearts, minds, and bodies that we might be drawn ever more fully into the life of the Most Holy Trinity.

May God grant us all a blessed and holy fast.