How Lenten Disciplines Work Together

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Lent is always a challenge when it comes to observing the fast, getting to more church services, and increasing or improving upon the quality of one’s prayer life. These words from Peter Chrysologus on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are wonderful thoughts to live by. This excerpt is taken from the 4th Sunday of Lent after the Synaxarion on St. John the Ladder. You can read the entire short sermon by St. Peter in a book put out by Holy Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction in 1999. Please read that sermon or this excerpt I have included below. It is worth discussing these thoughts as a family.

St. Peter Chrysologus on Prayer, Fasting, and MercyFasting is the soul of prayer; mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. So, if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others you open God’s ear to yourself. …If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to receive, give. If you ask for yourself what you deny to others, your asking is a mockery…. Fasting bears no fruit unless it is watered by mercy. Fasting dries up when mercy dries up. Mercy is to fasting as rain is to the earth…. When you fast, if your mercy is thin your harvest will be thin; therefore, do not lose by saving, but rather gather in by scattering. Give to the poor, and you give to yourself. You will not be allowed to keep what you have refused to give to others.

Taken from the Synaxarion of the Lenten Triodion and PentecostarionHoly Dormition Monastery Press, 1999

The Lord’s blessing be upon you all as you continue your journey to Pascha.

With love in Christ,

Archbishop Paul

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