Bucharest, March 2, 2020
“No one can enter into fasting, as a spiritual struggle for the cleansing of sins and the lightening of the soul, without forgiveness,” His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania explained in his homily at the Chapel of St. Gregory the Enlightener in the Patriarchal residence in Bucharest on the Sunday of the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise.
In offering forgiveness, we better ourselves: “Forgiving others cultivates humility and the inner freedom of a man willing to live in the merciful love of God,” the Romanian primate preached, reports the Basilica News Agency.
Moreover, forgiveness means the crucifixion of our own selfishness, His Beatitude emphasized, and is a recognition that others ought not to be defined by their mistakes and bad deeds.
According to the Sunday Gospel, the Patriarch explained, man’s relationship with God is connected with his relationship with his fellow man. We forgive the mistakes of others in order to have peace and fellowship with them, but also to “resemble the merciful and forgiving God.”
And besides forgiveness, fasting is another way to draw nearer to God.
“Fasting is a giving of the self to God as gratitude for the gift of life and as a desire to sanctify life,” Pat. Daniel preached. We also fast as a manifestation of the fact that we love God “more than the material gifts we consume.”
And as the Holy Fathers teach, fasting is closely related to and supports prayer: “Fasting supports the prayer of the faithful man who considers his connection with God to be the center, light, and food of his soul.”
Following this, “he who fasts but does not pray, does not gather spiritual light in the soul, but performs only a biological and psychological exercise, hygienically or aesthetically motivated,” the Romanian primate explained.
And during Great Lent, we are especially called to acknowledge and confess our sins, “judging ourselves in the Mystery of Confession, to receive forgiveness of sins and to share in the holy, humble, and merciful love of Christ, given to us in the holy Eucharist.”