The three-fold apparatus that empowers the Christian to navigate the complexities of the Great Fast, and arrive eager and prepared at the Resurrection, consists of prayer, fasting, and alms-giving (Matthew 6).
Prayer reflects the Christian’s vision of the Beauty of God, true self-awareness of a failure to live according to the invitation of this Beauty, and a request that the Beautiful One heal the blemishes that are causing this disparity.
Alms-giving acknowledges the human tendency of this awareness to enable a self-absorption that deceives the Christian into forgetting that he progresses with the community around him, and goes astray without them.
Fasting allows the Christian’s body to accompany his mind and soul in the awareness of this needed growth by aligning the pleas and anticipation of his prayer with the yearning and tempering of his appetite.
In other words, during the Great Fast, our prayer reflects our need for God, and so our bodies and our relationships should fall in sync with our prayer. If we alter our conversation with Our Lord (Presanctified Divine Liturgy, prostrations, prayer of St. Ephrem etc.) but not our relationship with others or our appetites, we will experience a wrenching and imbalance in our spiritual lives.
Blessed Cheesefare Week! Byzantine Catholics traditionally ease into the fast this week by beginning to pray, give and eat differently this week so that the first week of the Great Fast (next week!) doesn’t catch us off guard. -Fr. Michael
Saturday, February 6 –