Thursday, February 1, 2007

The Journey into Lent

Preparation for Pascha does not actually begin with the first day of Lent. It begins 3 Sundays before Lent begins! This three week period is a time of preparation of the soul; a time to prepare for the great fast. Lenten preparation is a time of repentance. During this time all Orthodox Christians should partake of the sacrament of confession. The Sunday readings all focus on the theme of repentance and expand on the theme in various ways. This past Sunday, this period began with the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. The parable that teaches us to cry, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" And thus, we began our journey into Great Lent. We begin with humility.

This upcoming Sunday is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son with the readings from Luke 15:11-32. This Sunday we are reminded to repent and recieve forgiveness. Our repentance is not in vain! For our God is compassionate and will welcome us back with joy.

For the little ones: This is cheesy, but something for the kids to enjoy. Plan a little celebration party! During prayer time prior to the meal, have each family member ask for forgiveness. Then, just as the father of the Prodigal Son welcomes back his son with love and dresses him in splendor and gives him a feast; do likewise to your children to show how good it is to ask for forgiveness. Have some balloons to bounce around and some cupcakes to top it all off! Let your little children dress up for the occasion. Yes, little girls, bring out those princess party dresses!

Oh! And one last note: Remember, this is the last week of meat!

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