“Almighty Lord, You have created all things in wisdom. In Your inexpressible providence and great goodness You have brought us to these saving days, for the cleansing of our souls and bodies, for control of our passions, in the hope of the Resurrection. After the forty days You delivered into the hands of Your servant Moses the tablets of the law in characters divinely traced. Enable us also, O benevolent One, to fight the good fight, to complete the course of the fast, to keep the faith inviolate, to crush underfoot the heads of unseen tempters, to emerge victors over sin and to come, without reproach, to the worship of Your Holy Resurrection. For blessed and glorified is Your most honorable and majestic name…” (Lenten Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts, Opisthambonos-Prayer)
The “forty days” of Lent will end this Friday, because the upcoming days of Holy/Great Week (Страстная неделя) do not “count” as part of the forty, standing in a class of their own. Just a fun fact, in case you didn’t know. :)
As the end of the forty days draws near, I’m particularly encouraged by one phrase in the above-quoted prayer: “the hope of the Resurrection.” This hope is what keeps us going, – not only through Lent, but also through our cross-carrying journeys in general. It is not a hope that remains entirely unfulfilled in our earthly lives. As St. Gregory Palamas teaches us, we experience “a foretaste of the bodily resurrection” as we participate in the divine energies of God’s grace in the here and now.
His grace is abundantly on offer today, not blocked off from me. So let me open up to Him in simple, heartfelt prayer, as Pascha draws near. O Lord, enable us also “to come, without reproach, to the worship of Your Holy Resurrection.” Amen!