‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
Dear brothers and sisters,
The time of repentance is at hand. Lent starts March 15th with clean Monday until we celebrate Pascha on May 2nd. The Holy Orthodox Church starts with this Sunday to prepare us to enter this Holy time of Lent by proclaiming to us the attitude we need to have to live lent. We are called to be like the publican and stand this time in front of God looking at our true selves as sinners. Fr. Tom Hopko writes :“Humility, in the Christian tradition, is called the mother of all virtues. It is the soil out of which grow faith, hope, love and all positive qualities of the spirit…St. John Climacus is more lyrical in his words about “thrice-holy humility.” He says that those who have obtained this virtue-the only one which the demons cannot fake-(tempt) “have won the whole fight.” (The Lenten Spring. Thrice Holy Humility).
During Lent we will have services as usual, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We will have “Soul Saturday on March 6th, please bring “boiled wheat”. All families can bring boiled wheat for the memorial at the end of Liturgy. Please, don’t email Father, bring the names with you if you are coming to attend the service.
Sunday March 14th, we will have “Forgiveness Vespers” immediately after Liturgy.
“Lent prepares us to follow our Lord to His cross and empty tomb. It is a penitential season that provides tremendous opportunities for the healing of our souls. But if we retain the spirit of the Pharisee, the disciplines of Lent will not bring us any closer to Christ; indeed, they will have the opposite effect. For it is possible to attend services and pray at home in a self-congratulatory way such that, like the Pharisee, we are really worshiping ourselves and not God. That is called idolatry…Thank God, then, that we have seasons of intensified spiritual struggle, such as Great Lent. For there is nothing like them to help us see the true state of our souls a bit more clearly. Periods of intensified prayer make us aware of how far we are from being fully present to God in the services of the Church or in our daily lives…The hard truth is that we will never grow in Christ unless we intentionally take steps that help us grow in humility, that help us embrace the truth about where we stand before the Lord…Our inflamed passions will tempt us to give up quickly when prayer, fasting, almsgiving and other disciplines are difficult…In other words, we must kill the Pharisee within us even as we cultivate the spiritual clarity of the tax collector if we want to follow Christ to His crucifixion and behold the brilliant light of the empty tomb.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters).
“for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Amen
Rev. Fr. Dr. George Dahdouh, Pastor
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church
9116 Bayview Ave.,
Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3M9
Office: 905/731-7210, Cell in case of Emergency: 416/937-6301