The Great Fast
Yay! My favorite time of year! Welcome, friends and family, to the Great Fast. We call today “Clean Monday” as we begin this period of abstaining from certain foods but also, hopefully, being cleansed of sins and attachments. In one of our hymns from Forgiveness Vespers last night, we sang “Let us sanctify our soul and purify our flesh. Let us not fast only from food; let us also abstain from every passion and cultivate spiritual virtues.”
I know it seems odd for someone to love the Great Fast as much as I do, but I’ll share one more line from the same hymn from last night. “Let us begin the time of this bright Fast, giving ourselves over to spiritual struggle.” We often, during this period, refer to this as the bright Fast, and our prayers talk about fasting with joy. Let us approach this Fast knowing it’s not an end in and of itself. It is the route to the cross, which is also not the end. We are traveling towards Pascha, being purified along the way. And that is from whence comes the brightness and our joy.
Today, for Clean Monday, I’ll be cleaning my cell (bedroom) and also cleaning my soul (going to confession). What kind of “cleaning” will you be doing to prepare yourself for the Fast? Whatever you choose to do, make sure you do it with joy!
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