A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU
The Lenten Spring is Here!
“The Lenten spring shines forth, the flower of repentance!
Let us cleanse ourselves from all evil,
crying out to the Giver of Light: ‘Glory to You,
O Lover of man!’”
(Cheesefare Lenten Vespers)
Great Lent begins this year on Clean Monday, March 3. All too often we look at this period of the fast negatively. That, however is far from the intent. Listen to the words of Fr. Thomas Hopko from his book, The Lenten Spring:
“The Church welcomes the Lenten spring with a spirit of exaltation. She greets the time of repentance with the expectancy and enthusiasm of a child entering into a new and exciting experience. The tone of the church services is one of brightness and light. The words are a clarion call to a spiritual contest, the invitation to a spiritual adventure, the summons to a spiritual feat…
The Lenten spirit of the church is one of splendor and delight. It breathes with the exhilaration of those girding up to ‘fight the good fight’ for the One who loves them and has given Himself for the sake of their salvation…The Lenten spring is welcomed by Christians in the church not as a time for self-inflicted agony or self-improving therapy. It is greeted as the sanctified season consecrated to the correction, purification and enlightenment of the total person through the fulfillment of the commandments of the crucified God. It is received as the time for batting with evil spirits and blossoming with the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22). It is accepted as ‘the great and saving forty days’ set apart for complete and total dedication to the things of God. It is the ‘tithe of the year’ which tells us that all times and seasons belong to the Lord who has created and redeemed the world.” (pg. 9 and 11)
As I reflect back on the many Great Lents that I have participated in – most of them as a clergyman – they’ve each proved to be incredible and growing experiences for me. Of course the period brings with it challenges with the fasting, services, confessions, visitations etc. that add to my daily routine. But what I have discovered is that above all, it is a time of renewal, excitement, resurrection in the Love of our Compassionate God. Each lent brings something new to my consciousness – a new inner light dawns from the Light of Salvation, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As we enter into the sacred time again this year, let us enter with a ‘spirit of exaltation,’ with ‘the enthusiasm of a child entering into a new and exciting experience.’ It is a spiritual adventure connecting us by the Cross to a Resurrected life in the eternal Love of our Compassionate Lord.
Have a great Great Lent!
With our Lord’s blessings,