“This Is a Very Special Season for Your Soul!”

Fr. Sergius Nezhbort

The Great Lent is near. One always feels anxious approaching this point because it isn’t easy. It isn’t easy not just because you have to give up something but also because it is a very special season for your soul. I hope that we all will benefit from this time of year.

Fruit of our fasting is mixed with darnel at times. I wish this Lent to be a period we spend praying more diligently and nudging ourselves to achieve spiritual fruit. We know the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering… Imagine how we come here at the end of the Lent glowing with that fruit of the Holy Spirit! If only it were that way! If only it didn’t remain just a nice theory. More often than not, we talk about something and it doesn’t go beyond mere words, while in reality things work differently. That is why I would like to wish you all and myself to make a step forward during this Lent instead of staying put or, worse still, going backwards.

We do a whole lot of wrong things in the course of our lives. We hurt other people or, in turn, are offended and harbour resentment against the offender. The Lent provides us with an opportunity to fight that resentment. Even if the resentment isn’t reciprocal, at least we should do everything we can to make peace with those who hurt us. It costs a lot to waste your life on resentment and revenge. It is exhausting. We need to apply our power elsewhere, i.e., to live with God and to help people around us. So let’s try and take this little step. Let’s not be afraid or scared. Let’s not back off. When we are together, we are strong.

Frankly speaking, it is difficult to stand upright during the entire service in the First Week of the Lent but due to the fact that all priests in the sanctuary are standing, all nuns and all faithful are standing, it’s easier. It gets even harder to stand during the services of the Second Week, when there’s just a handful of people in church. We must keep in mind that our unity is extremely powerful. It is vital that our unity isn’t merely formal and outward (just standing shoulder to shoulder in one place at the same time) but remains internal. If we really acknowledge that there is a Christ-loving heart beating in each one of our neighbours – in each sister and each brother – it will be easier for us to understand and forgive them, to make a step towards each other.

May the Lord help all of us.

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