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:: Thursday, March 13, 2003 ::

Lenten Thoughts: "What are You Giving Up?"

"A goal concerning Lent is to teach it, not so much as a
"religious" exercise, but as being a time in which we are given the
opportunity to concentrate on what is really real and what is really
human. "Orthodoxy," I once heard a speaker say, "is not a 'religion' but
the Truth." And I think the same idea is true with Lent: Lent is a time
to concentrate on life, on being human.

Thus my struggle - with myself and my children - is to keep Lent from degenerating into something silly
and petty - such as simply giving up candy or movies. The struggle is to
cultivate and understand the revelation that there is something deeply
wrong and sad about human life; that there is evil in the world and that
this evil, subtle as it is, often enters into our hearts and minds; that
we sin and are disobedient to God, and really lack the emptiness of self
and humility before God that is the very foundation of Christian life.

To love God, just to learn to love Him and understand and rejoice in His
Word; to stand before Him with humility - like the Publican in the
Temple; to be tenderhearted and sensitive toward others and their
sufferings; to understand that life is meaningless without Christ: this
I think is part of the essence of Lent and what I strive to instill in
my children."

---From an article written by Matushka Nadia Koblosh

I like Matushka Nadia's thoughts here....every Lent, it seems, I get into conversations with friends and family where I am trying to explain why the Orthodox "don't give up" anything for Lent, even though we (usually) are following the Church's fasting canons. It isn't about giving up *things*--it is about giving up our self-will and sinfulness. The only thing we should focus on "giving up" in Lent is sin! Having a rule of prayer, fasting from certain passion-arousing foods, attending extra services, partaking of the sacraments--all of these activities are to point us in one direction. And that is toward God and away from ourselves.

:: Karl :: 12:02:00 PM [Link] ::

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