...I was wondering if you could share with us a little about the meaning behind Ash Wednesday, and Lent. I know a lot of Christian denominations share in Advent during the Christmas holidays, but not so much with Lent. The Lord has been leading me to scripture lately on being "holy." And honestly, I feel the need to prepare my heart and observe this time of year differently some how this year. I always fast on Good Friday, but I feel the need to do something more...I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks - Tiffany Blessings on your day!
Interestingly enough, the Orthodox don't observe Ash Wednesday! In fact, Great Lent hasn't even begun for us! Our Easter (Pascha) isn't until the end of April. In addition, our Lenten practices are a bit different than those of other Christians.
Though it has taken me a long time to respond to your question, I have been thinking about it a lot. When I discussed it with one of my Roman Catholic friends, she suggested than rather than focusing on giving something up for Lent, you focus on working on a virtue you'd like to improve in yourself, increase the spiritual reading you do or even work on praying more. Lent is a great time to focus on drawing closer to God and all of those suggestions will help you work towards that!
Do any of my readers have other suggestions for Tiffany?
What do you do to remember the Passover and crucifixion of Christ, if there are church traditions to do so?
If I were Tiffany, I would definately attend the Way of the Cross. Most Catholic churches offer it every Friday during Lent, and it's a powerful, powerful thing to behold and participate it.
Tiffany could read the account in the New testament in all the different gospels and compare them. She might follow along as the days go on remembering what happened and what it has done for her especially.
I think many times we focus on what happened and not on the outcome it provides for us.
Emma, we would love for Father John to describe your beliefs for us too when he has time!
In my experience, the Orthodox fast creates feelings of physical unsatisfaction and hunger. And at those moments, those are little phsyical reminders of my spiritual hunger and that I need to pray. So, the end goal of the fast is more prayer.
Now... reality and ideal are not always the same :)
Thank you to everyone! I've actually already read through the gospels (not too long ago, when I had an 11 day stay in the hospital.) It's been a tradition in my family for years to observe a time of fasting and prayer on Good Friday. The church I grew up in does "The Walk of the Cross," every year. Men, women, youth and children participate, and we actually take turns helping to carrying a giant wooden cross-(except for the children of course!) I think it's about a 2 mile walk, and we sing hymns and praises along the way. We start at one church and end up at a sister church across town, where the men put the cross up between 2 other crosses and we have a quiet service right there. It's always been very emotional and moving for me and I've felt helped me really focus on what the day really means and remeber the magnitude of our Lord's sacrifice. However, I'm living half way across the United States right now. And I was just looking for some special, meaningful way to celebrate, not just holy week, but in the time leading up to it as well! But Thank you all again! Blessings on your day!
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