Friday, 22 March 2013
As we head into the final week of lent, it is probably a good time to have a few minutes to think about the Great Lent of 2013. Traditionally our forefathers would devote these seven weeks of Lent to a period of strictly disciplined life style and prayers. They would have achieved this by sticking to a vegan diet and many other practices that help to strengthen the will. The days would be spent in prayer and meditation with an emphasis on kneeling often during each prayer. Lent commemorates the 40 days that Jesus spent in prayer when he was constantly tested by the devil. It attempts to give a feel and taste of what it means to be tempted, resist the temptation and eventually develop a strong will power with the help of prayer and belief.
Of course, our generation may not follow the Lenten practices as strictly as our forefathers, but many of you might have 'set' some personal goals and 'defined' self-discipline in some manner. Many of you would have successfully achieved what you wished to attain by way of self-discipline/sacrifice and some of you are probably feeling very critical of 'failing' in your promises/goals. Either way you must be thankful for being able to use the opportunity to test and curb your temptation. If you were able to observe a disciplined and prayerful lent, you are truly blessed and the enriching experience will surely hold you in good stead in the coming months. If you feel like you could have done better - do not despair! This is a gentle reminder that you are only human. By being true to yourself you now have the possibility of exploring prayer and yourselves. And then there may be the few for whom the last six weeks would have been no different from the weeks before.
Whatever your particular case, for all of us the week to come has a lot in store. Our community's worship and practices present a great opportunity to try and live the life of Jesus - the son of God who was born a man. Back home, this is a time when the community physically spends a lot more time at church. It is a period with elaborate prayers and rituals - all designed and intended to give us a chance to relive that period of pain and sacrifice. Let us put our hearts and souls and leap into the depths of the coming week beginning with Palm Sunday on the 24th March and culminating with the Easter services on the 31st March. If it is not possible to actively participate in communal worship let us relive the fond memories of our younger days or get our elders to speak about their experiences from their younger days. Every exercise is some exercise.
Together, let us complete a successful Great Lent of 2013 and try to be reborn as spiritually, emotionally and physically enriched souls when Easter brings spring, sunshine and good times with it. Pope Francis rightly said so in his inaugural speech that we must remember that God created man to protect and nourish the world - the nature around us, other creatures that we share this earth with and continuing in that same spirit; we must love and serve our less fortunate brethren.
Posted by Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Student Movement UK Region at Friday, March 22, 2013