Tags

The Fifth Monday of Great Lent: How to Strengthen Your Lenten Prayer Life

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, February 9, 2018  The traditional acts of asceticism associated with Great Lent (and the whole of the Christian life) are prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and repentance. In my experience, Orthodox faithful tend to concentrate on fasting and perhaps making a good confession. If we have weaknesses, they are found in our prayers and almsgiving. These two belong together. Christ said: And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that

The Fourth Friday of Great Lent: The Ladder of Divine Ascent and Moral Improvement

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 4, 2019  The Fourth Sunday of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church, is dedicated to St. John Climacus, the author of the ancient work, The Ladder of Divine Ascent. It is a classic work describing “steps” within the life of the struggling ascetic. There is an icon associated with this work, picturing monastics climbing the rungs of a ladder to heaven, battling demons who are trying to pull them off. However,

The Fourth Thursday of Great Lent: Salvation

More than acquittal and justification By Abbot Tryphon, December 12, 2019 Salvation cannot be explained in legalistic terms of acquittal and justification, for salvation is much more than simply being forgiven and getting into heaven. The close tie between faith and works, when it comes to the Orthodox view of salvation, is not about being “saved” by our works, for this is impossible. Works do not save us, but when placed in the context of

The Fourth Wednesday of Great Lent: Ten Suggestions for Lent

By His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America Meditate on the History of Salvation Think of the Lenten period as a time of meditating on the history of salvation.  Think about the creation of the universe and of Adam and Eve as the beginning of human life on earth.  Think about the fall of Adam and the entrance of sin in humanity.  We see in the hymnology of the liturgical book of Lent, the Triodion,

The Fourth Tuesday of Great Lent. The Lenten Struggle. Putting Off the Old Self.

The Lenten Struggle Lent is the perfect time to struggle with the ego By Abbot Tryphon, March 26, 2019 Modern psychology has told us we must feel good about ourselves and instructed us to reject the idea of guilt and sin. Sin is seen as religion’s instrument for keeping people in line, making them dependent on an institution that should be relegated to the Dark Ages. In an age where man is elevated to being

The Fourth Monday of Great Lent: As Lent Moves On – The Greatest Fast Awaits

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, April 9, 2019  As Great Lent has passed its mid-point, attention begins to move towards Holy Week itself and its very intense focus. It has been an unusual time for me, having traveled on two successive weekends to lead retreats. Travel is always disruptive, and absence from your own community creates a break in the normal continuity of the Fast. I have great sympathies for those whose jobs involve frequent travel.

The Third Friday of Great Lent: Before Thy Cross

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 26, 2011  Sunday, the third in Lent, is set aside to honor the Venerable and Life-Giving Cross. I offer these thoughts: In a short work, The Beginning of the Day, (I believe it was a special printing and is not generally available), Met. Kallistos Ware notes this about the Cross and its connection with the whole of creation: …[The] created order in its entirety participated in the Savior’s Passion: the earth shook,

The Third Thursday of Great Lent. The Great and Holy Lenten Fast.

Modern science sees the value of the Church’s tradition of fasting By Abbot Tryphon, March 16, 2019 From Old Testament times, the people of God prepared for holy occasions with fasting and prayer, and the New Testament continued with this holy tradition. The Lord Himself fasted for forty days before beginning His earthly ministry, demonstrating the importance of fasting before starting any spiritual task. Christ even went so far as saying “When you fast” (Matt.

The Third Tuesday of Great Lent: Keeping the Fast

Keeping the fast for all the right reasons By Abbot Tryphon, March 6, 2020 The Lord condemned the Pharisee, not because he fasted, but because his motivation was based on pride. The Pharisee wished to be seen by men, and he had no fear of God. He dared to stand before the Lord in pride and arrogance, while the Publican stood afar off, beating his breast, begging for the Lord’s mercy. Whereas the Publican saw

The Third Monday of Great Lent: At the Heart of Lent

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, March 2, 2018  Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You! (Ps. 119:11) Years ago, I heard a statement from an American monk: “The contemplative need go no further than his own heart to find the source of all violence in the world.” It struck me as true then and has only seemed more so as the years have passed. At the time (not