PHYSICAL & SPIRITUAL FASTING
“Come, O wretched soul, together with your body/flesh (σὺν τῇ σαρκί σου), and confess to the Creator of all (τῷ πάντων κτίστῃ ἐξομολογοῦ), so that henceforth, you shall abstain from the past foolishness/meaninglessness (τῆς πρὶν ἀλογίας) and offer tears of repentance to God.” (Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, Ode 1)
We “come” into the “repentance” (change of mind / change of focus) of the Lenten season not only with/in our “soul,” but also with/in our “flesh.” Hence all the dietary restrictions, the longer church-services and the great prostrations connected to Lenten prayer(s), which draw also our bodies into our communal effort to re-focus on “the Creator of all,” – the Creator of “all things, both visible and invisible.” By engaging our entire being, both physical and spiritual, in the Lenten “order” of things, our Tradition nudges us wholesomely toward “con-fessing” (“saying together with”) and “saying the same thing as” (homo-logein) the entire Church. And that “same thing” is the Truth about ourselves and our Creator.
As we prepare to go to “con-fession” this week, we align ourselves, as best we can, both with the physical and spiritual “order” of the Church’s Lent, that it may bring us out of our previous “disorder” or “meaninglessness” (ἀλογία), and help us re-discover God’s meaning and purpose for us. So let me embrace the changes Lent offers me, both to my physical and spiritual routines, as it opens my eyes to “another” reality, other than my “business as usual,” and other than my previous meaninglessness. “Yes, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother, since you are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen.” (Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem)