Well, hello there. It’s been a while. A year or two? Must be two. I recall spending last year remodeling a bathroom during Pascha. No major remodels in the works this year, and I have been blessed with time to be present in church a lot more this year.
And here we are – the beginning of Pascha again. Today is Cheesefare Sunday! And at midnight, Great Lent begins.
From this week’s bulletin:
“Last Sunday we took leave of meat as we began to prepare ourselves for the Lenten season of fasting and prayer. Today, Cheesefare Sunday, is the last day on which we eat dairy products of any kind until Holy Pascha (May 5). The Great Fast begins tonight at midnight. The tradition of our Church teaches us that during the weekdays of Great Lent we abstain completely from meat, eggs, milk and milk products, fish, wine (i.e. all alcoholic beverages), and (for those who keep the fast in its fullest measure) olive oil. On weekends wine and olive oil may be eaten. Shellfish (i.e. any aquatic creature without a backbone) may be eaten throughout the fast. In addition to abstaining from prohibited foods, it is also the teaching of the Church that during Lent we should eat less, abstaining from some meals entirely if we have the strength to do so, and regulating the amount when we do eat. A good basic guideline is that when we finish a meal we should always feel that we could have eaten more. Our Holy Fathers teach us that a moderate amount of hunger, when combined with humility and repentance, makes us more attentive to prayer and gives us strength to combat the passions. During Lent it is also expected within our Faith that we will commit ourselves more deeply to personal prayer, attend the special services that are offered in the parish, give generously to the work of the Church and to the poor, and make our Confession. May God grant us a spiritually fruitful fast that leads us to repentance, spiritual renewal and the joy of Christís Resurrection!”
I am always so excited at the beginning of Lent. I look forward to spending extra time in prayer and enjoy the increased awareness of all I have that fasting provides. I feel like every time I stop and choose very deliberately to abstain from eating or drinking what is, essentially, ALWAYS available to me (because really, almost everything is almost always available), I gain an opportunity to turn my awareness more closely toward God.
I was sorry to miss Forgiveness Vespers today – traveling home from the beach. I participated a few years ago – it’s really an amazing service. At the end, we say to each other, “forgive me, a sinner.” When you say it over and over and have others say it to you, it really hits home, how often we need forgiveness, and how alike we all are in this.
I found a great blog about Forgiveness Vespers,
And now, on to very practical matters – what to eat tomorrow!? I’ll have to get back to you on that one…