…Great Lent is our calling back from the enslavement of our passions…our wants…our desires. It is about purging ALL of those things that lead us to forget WHO we are…WHAT we were meant to do…and WHERE we are called to be…
One of the most wonderful parts of Great Lent (besides the incredible worship services) is the systematic destruction of the “mine mentality”. The Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, calls for us to spend 40+ days rooting out all of those things in our lives that cause us to turn our back on the Fatherly Embrace of God. During Lent, we deny ourselves worldly pleasures (MY entertainment). We limit the types and amounts of food that we eat (MY cravings). We increase the amount of prayers and services that we attend (MY time). We do all of these things so that we as God’s children can remember the reliance that we once had on our Father. The more devotion we have to this Holy Period, the more we stop learning to say “Mine”…and start remembering that we are “His”.
One of the reasons that all Orthodox Christians love Great Lent, is because of the simple beauty of the worship. Often, the services are done in the dark. The choir is singing incredible hymns that are only sung during this period, with some of the most ancient and beautiful melodies that were ever written. You can literally see the incense rising in the candle light, like our prayers that are rising to heaven. All of these things are incredibly moving and peaceful! But while all of these things are helpful and good for our souls…there is still so much more that is needed!
For Human Beings, being filled with desires is how we all live our lives. Where we often run into trouble, is where that desire points to, because we often yearn only for the things that we can see with our eyes! We desire certain foods, more money, more possessions, other human beings (which can be both a good and a bad thing). We tend to want only the things that we can touch, taste, smell, hear, or feel, which makes desiring to be with God often difficult to do.