A Time of Healing

Words from Patriarch Kirill on Great Lent

Photo: Pravoslavie.Ru Photo: Pravoslavie.Ru
    

We are passing through the field of Great Lent to purify our souls, to sanctify ourselves by the grace of God, to root ourselves in the truth of God, and to learn how to withstand sin, evil, and unrighteousness, first of all in our own lives.

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Lent is a tool which man can use to truly affect the state of his soul, because through abstinence from food, entertainments, and various types of temptations, we train our will, and we elevate our senses.

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Fasting and prayer are great means of elevating the soul, overcoming sins, and transforming the inner state of a man. It especially belongs to us in Great Lent to use these means to help ourselves, to change our inner world, and to be closer to God.

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The days of Great Lent are given to us that we might think about our inner lives, analyze our thoughts and actions, and determine how far we are able to resist sinful temptations, and how far we are ready to build our lives according to God’s law.

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We devote Great Lent to analyzing our inner spiritual life, to rigorously examining our thoughts, feelings, willful ambitions, and actions.

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The Holy Quadragesima presents us with the special opportunity to go deeper into self-contemplation.

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Great Lent is a time of freedom from sicknesses, a time of healing. It is a spiritual sanatorium which we enter with hope for recovery, for the refreshing of our senses, for the renewal of our thoughts, and the strengthening of our faith.

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The constancy which we so often guard and which we consider comfortable and familiar for ourselves is actually a regression. If nothing occurs in the human soul which elevates that soul, then we lower the level of our spiritual lives. The purpose of Lent consists in disrupting our internal dormancy, a certain complacency, to place before ourselves very specific goals, the achievement of which is so necessary during Lent.

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The thousands of years of spiritual life, which began from the very dawn of human history, bear witness that abstinence from food sharpens the mind and human senses, mobilizing the will.

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Limiting our food helps to sharpen the senses and ability—rational, mental ability—to see the defects in our own lives.

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Great Lent is the time when, reflecting upon our inner life, testing our conscience, we must begin to heal ourselves, through the correction of our mind, through the training of our senses, and through the training of our will.

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The time of Great Lent is a time of battling with vice—with pride and envy.

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We are given the saving days of Great Lent to contemplate the mystery of salvation, which God opened to us in Christ, and contemplating salvation, of which each of us can become an inheritor, we try, relying on the help of God, to conquer our feeble but real attraction to sin, overcoming vice and renewing our connection with God, which is our sole means of attaining salvation.

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The whole point of Lent is to allow God into our lives, that the Lord would not be on the periphery of our lives, that we would remember Him not just once in a week as Sunday draws near, but to learn to walk before God, as did walk the Old Testament prophets, as did walk holy men, as did walk before God our holy, venerable, and God-bearing father Sergius, the igumen of Radonezh.

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The meaning of Lent, as the holy fathers say, consists in the changing of our mind and heart.

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Lent as limiting yourself in food is a very important indicator of human willingness and ability for inner spiritual growth.

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Our Lenten podvig arises to the Lord as a fragrant sacrifice, and the Lord answers us because He is never in debt to us. If for His sake we sacrifice our interests and limit ourselves, then the Lord repays this limitation with that which is more essential for man: a change of our inner state, and a change of our mind and heart.

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Be joyous and bright. Don’t say anything to others about how you’ve taken these burdens upon yourself and then the fast will become pleasing to God.

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If a person feels some fatigue, if irritability and conflicts accrue, then we must strengthen our prayer, and the main thing is that we must impress upon ourselves that any violation of inner peace and calm during Lent negates the entire point of the Great Lenten podvig.

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The very first step each one of us must take, including entering upon the arena of Great Lent, is the attempt to understand what within ourselves, within our life’s circumstances, dictates our sinful behavior.

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The holy Great Fast is given to us to ascend to virtues from strength to strength.

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The time of Great Lent gives us the chance to spiritually concentrate, to think of the most important thing: distinguishing sin from righteousness.

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The arena of the Holy Quadragesima is given to us to become spiritually strong, and for this the Church offers the most necessary, the easiest and the most effective means for man: prayer, abstinence, and repentance.

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The purpose of Lent consists in achieving an inner change.

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Lent must not become an occasion for us to fall into the most grievous sin—the sin of pride and vainglory.

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill
Translated by Jesse Dominick

Pravoslavie.ru

3/2/2017

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