Great Lent, Holy Week & Pascha Help Us to Ponder our Purpose

Dearest Spiritual ‘Ohana,

Amidst Great Lent and the impending approach of Holy Week and Pascha, we set aside this Moveable Season of the year to ponder upon what our purpose is as human beings, created in God’s Image and Likeness.  Ultimately, our purpose is to ever pursue to know God.  This is something we ought to do everyday of our lives!  However, with the busyness of life, there are so many cares weighing on us, that our focus is so often out of tune, similar to a vehicle’s idle being too low or too high.  When our vehicle’s idle is too low, the engine could suddenly stop running.  When our vehicle’s idle is too high, it will lunge forward or reverse too suddenly, once it is put into  a moving gear.  When we face our vehicle’s idle being off balance, it is time for a tune up!  Our very lives constantly need to be “tuned up as well!”

Imagine the analogy of God being our gasoline/fuel/electricity, and we being the vehicles that require the gasoline/fuel/electricity to run!  We need His Presence for our sustenance and fulfillment.  Without Him, we are empty and have no real purpose!

I found some real gems and pearls of wisdom from the Saints about our purpose.  I would like to share some of these with you:

  1. Falsehood - and only falsehood - separates us from God ... False thoughts, false words, false feelings, false desires - Behold the aggregate of lies that leads us to non-being, illusion, and rejection of God.” (St. Nicholas of Serbia, Thoughts on Good and Evil)
  2. “The Lord does not show Himself to a proud soul. The proud soul, no matter how many books it reads, will never know God, since by its pride it does not give place for the grace of the Holy Spirit, while God is known only by the humble soul.” (St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, III.11)
  3. “Each of us can discuss God inasmuch as he has known the grace of the Holy Spirit; for how can we think of or discuss what we haven't seen, or haven't head of, or don't know? The saints say that they have seen God, but there are people who say that there is no God. Clearly, they say this because they haven't known God, but this does not at all mean that He is not. The saints speak of that which they have truly seen and know.” (St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, VIII.9)

“Pride does not allow the soul to set out on the path of faith. Here is my advice to the unbeliever: let him say, "Lord, if you exist, then illumine me, and I will serve you with all my heart and soul." And for this humble thought and readiness to serve God, the Lord will immediately illumine him... And then your soul will sense the Lord; she will sense that the Lord has forgiven her, and loves her, and you will know this from experience, and the grace of the Holy Spirit will be a witness in your soul of your salvation, and you will want to cry out to the whole world

  1. "The Lord loves us so much!" (St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, III.6)
  2. “Only one who guards himself from all sin can have sincere and fervent faith. Faith is only preserved in the presence of good morals.” (St. Nikon of Optina)

Great Lent has given us many tools to for us to find and discover and rediscover our purpose in life, which is to ever seek to know God and to be in communion with Him throughout our lives and into eternity.  We have tools such as fasting, which our Lord gave us, when He took on our human flesh, to help us be in control of the passions of the flesh; for us to rule over them, rather than to let the passions rule over us.  We have Repentance and Confession so that we turn back to God whenever we turn away from Him through sin (missing the target/mark), and amend, repair and restore our relationship with Him and our fellow human beings.  Schedule a time for this with your priest!  We have prayer to turn to God and converse/communicate with Him, forming a vital relationship with Him.  We need to pray to Him, as He in no need of our prayers, but we need Him!  There are various services throughout Great Lent.  By this, I am not only speaking of Sunday Services, but services of Presanctified Liturgies on Wednesdays and five Fridays of the Salutations and Akathist Hymn, and Saturday Great Vespers.

We have also Holy Week coming upon us towards the end of April, beginning with Saturday of Lazarus, then Palm Sunday, the Bridegroom Services, Holy Unction, the Mystical Supper, the Passion of Christ, His Death, His Descent into Hades, continuing with His Glorious Resurrection.  Try your best to attend as many services as possible, if not all, for Holy Week and Holy Pascha.  Do not see these services as mere rituals, but  may you become personal and active eyewitnesses to our Lord’s Love, Mercy, Extreme Humility and Glory.  For this is the purpose of our journey through Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha, which is to be able say, in truth and realization that “Christ is in our midst!”

Have a Blessed Continuation of Great Lent and Journey through Holy Week, in anticipation of the Celebration of Glorious Resurrection of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ!

With Love in Christ,

+Fr. Alexander