Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Mountain View Lenten Service Schedule

Sharing from: North Sharing from: North American ROCA: -Mountain View Lenten Service Schedule: <http://www.rocana.org> The Importance of Great Lent and Fasting

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Dan Everiss

<oregdan@hotmail.com>
Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 9:29 PM
Found on: http://www.rocana.org

March 15, 2016

See the schedule of services for the Holy Martyrs and Confessors of Russia Church at Mountainview here
(It would seem,...but that is not for sure at this point,...  that all of these Lenten  services listed here in this schedule in Russian,  will be in Slavonic, only,  unless there is some further clarification):

 
The Importance of Great Lent and Fasting
The Holy Feast of Pascha approaches, and with it also heralds the start of Great Lent, a time where Orthodox Christians put their earthly life on hold in order to live spiritually and re-establish their connection to God. Like all fasts throughout the year, Great Lent is an important part of Christian life and must be treated with reverence and humility. However, it has come to the point where Orthodox Christians don’t participate in the fast at all, and instead live day to day in earthly pleasure.
This is not how Orthodox Christians should react when it comes to the period of fasting. In one of his sermons, St. Philaret of New York states that fasting is ‘absolutely indispensable for man,’ highlighting the spiritual importance of fasting. He goes further to say that fasting is a ‘struggle of filial obedience to God,’ which at its core, is the foundation of fasting. In order to live a spiritual life with humility and righteousness, we have to first submit our whole selves to God, focusing on strengthening our spiritual selves while figuratively weakening our physical selves through abstaining from eating foods that our physical selves would enjoy on a day to day basis. However, fasting doesn’t just include refraining from eating; it also means removing oneself from any earthly distraction – television, music, going to places with friends and so forth. Of course, it is impossible in this day and age to be fully removed from these distractions, but it’s possible to decrease how much time you spend with these earthly pleasures. For example, I can’t escape the music that plays in shopping malls, but at home, I am able to refrain from listening to music.
Furthermore, in his sermon, St. Philaret quotes St. Seraphim of Sarov about people who do not partake in fasting: ‘One who does not observe the fasts is not a Christian, no matter what he considers or calls himself.’ When hearing this, I was immediately shocked and dumbfounded. This particular quote is so blatantly truthful, yet harsh at the same time, that I was surprised by it. What St. Seraphim said is true, because I have felt it on numerous occasions. Whenever I broke the fast – by watching television or eating meat and dairy products – I felt less of a Christian. I felt out of place and nauseous, as if gravity wasn’t working properly. It just felt wrong and now, after reading what St. Seraphim said, I understand why I felt this spiritual unsteadiness. Great Lent – as well as the other fasts – is such a significant component of Christian life, that not participating in it is unnatural to Orthodox Christians.
Great Lent is also important because it constantly reminds us that we must seek repentance for our sins, and the only way to do so is through prayer. The Sundays of Great Lent – and even the preparatory Sundays before Great Lent - do this through its commemoration of a special event or person. For example, the fifth Sunday of Great Lent commemorates the life of St Mary of Egypt, who personifies ‘true repentance and is a source of encouragement for people engaged in spiritual endeavours’, as Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy states in The Law of God. Through the commemoration of saints and events, we as Orthodox Christians are compelled to rethink the sins we have committed and thus, attempt to attain humility and spiritual grace.
Great Lent, and fasting in general, is one of the core elements of being an Orthodox Christian, and we mustn’t let earthly and materialistic things distract us from being who we are. Let us all strive to remove ourselves from the pleasures of earthly life and fully commit to the spiritual struggle that is fasting, and in so doing, attain a place in the paradisiacal gardens of Heaven.
Sophia Desiatov 

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