Yes, beloved family and friends of Holy Annunciation, the Great Fast is at our doorstep. During Forgiveness Sunday Vespers on February 26, we will begin our journey of repentance which will lead us to the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Savor Jesus Christ. So, as we sing:
Let us begin the fast with joy!
Let us prepare ourselves for spiritual efforts!
Let us cleanse our soul and cleanse our flesh!
Let us abstain from every passion as we abstain from food!
Let us rejoice in virtues of the Spirit and fulfill them in love,
that we all may see the Passion of Christ our God,//
and rejoice in spirit at the holy Pascha! (Forgiveness Sunday Vespers)
As we learn from this hymn, the fast is to be approached with joy, the physical fast is to be accompanied by a spiritual fast, and the practice of virtue is to be escorted by love. This year, Archbishop Mark encourages us to observe the fast as fully as possible while keeping in mind that the goal of fasting, increased prayer, and almsgiving is to abstain from sin and develop virtues. As a united fast, let us fast from television, all forms of entertainment, and wasted time on the internet and instead choose to nurture ourselves on the prayers of the Church, and on Holy Scriptures and Fathers of the Church. Remember when giving up one thing, we do so to receive or cultivate something greater. May God bless our spiritual exercise.
My love in Christ,
Forgiveness Sunday Vespers Feb. 26 at 6pm
Monday Feb. 27 Great Canon of St. Andrew along with the first reading of the Life of St. Mary of Egypt 7pm
Tuesday Feb. 28 Great Canon of St. Andrew along with the second reading of the Life of St. Mary of Egypt 7pm
Wednesday March 1 Presanctified Liturgy 9:30 am