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Clergy Reflection: Thursday Of The First Week

Thursday of the First Week

The Great Lent in the Orthodox Church is unique not only among Christians but even in comparison to other faiths that do not require their adherents to fast so severely or for such a long period of time. In fact, many Christians in America do not fast at all or, if they do, consider it mostly symbolic.

Beyond that, the frequency of worship services, the expectation that charitable works will be per- formed, that we will go to Confession with our spiri- tual father, and that personal prayer will increase in frequency also may intimidate us or help us to con- vince ourselves that all of these things are unneces- sary for spiritual growth.

My best advice is to not fall into this temptation. Set a high standard for yourself this year but not so high that it is unattainable. If, for some reason, you cannot observe the fast or attend services on a par- ticular day, get back on schedule the next day. The best strategy is to literally book your responsibilities into your calendar. Call your priest and ask for him to see you for Holy Confession. Get a few faithful people together and make some sandwiches for the local food pantry. Make a difference in the lives of others and you will surely make a difference in your own life also.

Fr. Christopher Stamas