February 14, 2021
As human beings, we go to great lengths to take care of our bodies. But what about our spirit-being? We all too often neglect it resulting in spiritual hunger, poverty and ill-health.
Millions of people all over the world, especially those following the Christian faith, observe the coming seven weeks as a time to deliberately focus on renewing and restoring the vitality of their spiritual life.
This season is known as the season of the Great Lent.
We are excited to let you know that we have a wonderful resource for you to help you in your Lenten Journey. ‘Lenten Meditations’ are 50 thoughts, one for each day of this season.
Drawn from over half a century of being a leader, mentor and spiritual guide, and the immense practical wisdom garnered from helping millions in their daily life, His Holiness Moran Mor Athanasius Yohan l Metropolitan, shares these spiritual insights with us each day.
We know that this resource will indeed revitalize your spirits! Happy Lent!
1. An invitation:
The Season of Great Lent is your personal invitation from the Lord Jesus – to repentance, silence, meditation and contemplation; to become strong on the inside through shedding the leaves of human power and strength, so that we can partake of His divine nature.
2. Together in this journey:
Any journey alone is hard. During this Lenten season, please know that you are part of millions of the faithful, in this daily walk. Focus on the need of your soul to grow through the reading of God’s Word and prayer.
3. Lenten Disciplines:
Unless a seed dies, it will not sprout and become the plant or tree that it should be. Denying self, fasting and doing good to others – these spiritual disciplines help us to stay connected to God.
4. Strength through Prayer:
Set apart 50 minutes this day for meditation and prayer. Read St. Matthew 4:1-11 and Psalm 51. Discouragement and forgetfulness of the disciplines of the Lenten season is normal. But don’t give up! Prayer will give you strength.
During this Lenten season, we are told to examine ourselves to see our hidden sins, thoughts, desires, pretenses that keep us from forgiving and loving others – which should be the result of our walk with Christ during this season.
Leaving is a principle to follow if we are to reach another destination – like a ship that must pull the anchor and sail from one shore to reach another. Abraham had to leave Ur of the Chaldeans to get to the promise land. So it is with us. The Lenten season is a time we choose to give up, leave certain things (besetting sins and bad habits) to attain the pearl of great prize – the life of God in and through our mortal flesh.
7. The Epicenter:
The Holy Church is the epicenter of the universe and the Eucharist is the epicenter of the worship of the Holy Church. Lent – it is the journey of the people of God, deeper in love with the Holy Church.
Any spiritual exercise will have its opposition from the enemy of our soul. Doubts, negative thoughts, fears and worries, listening to gossip, looking for approval from others and laziness are only a few of the struggles we will face. Knowing the problem is important for us to stay alert and focused during this season of Lent.
9. The Deadly Habit:
Habits die very hard. One of the deadliest habits that destroy all that is good in us is gossiping or evil talk and listening to gossip. Untold millions of lives and families are destroyed by evil reports that are spread and read by people. Just as secondary smoke causes cancer, living on social media and indulging in negative reports about others will destroy your inner life. You will be polluted beyond recovery. Let this season of Lent be the time you overcome this deadly habit by not reading and listening to any form of negative talk and words. Pray for yourself and your family to be spared from this snare. Fasting also means giving up certain habits for healing. Fast from gossip. Do it.
10. True Peace:
True peace which comes from silence and solitude, comes to you when you choose not to allow others to control and manipulate your thoughts. Be aware of this during this Lenten season and it will help you to form new healthy habits.
11. Brain Trash:
Decide not to listen to anything you don’t need to know. A lot of conversations have a negative bend. Don’t let the devil’s arrow kill your spiritual growth during this spiritual season of getting closer to God. Treat all negative talks as ‘brain trash’ and it is.
12. A Prayer for today:
May the Lord bless you and Give you inner strength. May you overcome temptations By His compelling love May you be renewed with hope And be assured of His grace May you be transformed inside and out By His overwhelming mercy. In the name of the Holy Trinity Amen.+
13. True Power:
Learn from this Lenten season that power is weakness and true power comes from humility and servanthood. Choose humility over control and power.
14. Your Inner World:
Focus on the inner world, deep within your soul. Listen in silence and be bold and honest with yourself. The outer world is made of the tangible; the desirable things that your mind wants to hold on to. In this Lenten season, let go and be wanting nothing – nothing but God and Him alone.
15. Fix what’s broken:
If you see something in your life that is broken, fix it. But you can’t do it alone. Pray in humility for God’s mercy to help you repair it. When you fix it with God’s help, peace will be yours without guilt and pride.
16. The Invisible One:
The journey continues – not alone, but with the invisible One; the One who is more real to your soul and spirit than the people and things around you. Feelings of being deserted and so alone are part of this Lenten season. They help you to become real and partake of His divine nature.
17. Be Proactive:
Meditation, prayer, and doing kind deeds for those near and far, are our duties for God to give us His grace that brings meaning and change in our lives. Be proactive during this season of Great Lent.
18. A reminder:
Make sure you spend time alone – at least 50 minutes a day, for contemplation, deep mediation, soul searching and confession. Don’t let the normal busy-ness of life rob you from maintaining this discipline. The transforming glimmer of light, the life of God, shines on your soul in silence.
19. He knows all:
Believe it or not – God knows all things about you and me, in such detail that every hair on our head is known to Him. And, His thoughts towards us are all for good, not for evil. There is no reason to hide or pretend before Him. His love is unchanging regardless of our good or bad behavior. Read and meditate on Psalms 139: 1-10.
20. The Coach:
Have you ever thought about it? The job of a coach in any sports team, is to make the players do what they do not like to do naturally. So, it is with this God-given Lenten season. The Holy Church is your coach. Listen, obey and you will succeed.
21. The Holy Eucharist:
Partaking of the Holy Eucharist is most important in our journey on earth – to experience the life of God in our earthly life and partake of His divine nature. Never neglect this Blessed Sacrament. It is the real body and blood of Christ – the living invisible Christ, offering Himself to us.
Fasting is usually thought of as abstinence from food and drink. But there are things that we must fast or abstain from that are a million times more important than giving up bodily needs. Think about saying no to anger, bitterness, envy, jealousy, unkindness, unforgiveness, pride, boasting, selfishness, ungratefulness, fear, worry, lust, love of money, gossip, curiosity to hear about others and even giving up all social media for this season. Act on these.
23. Like a child:
The season of Great Lent becomes more meaningful when we can delight in the simple things of life. Our delight should lead us to be like a child, a little lamb, not a wolf. To live as God likes on earth, is to be like an innocent child. Aim for it. Do not worry about what others think!
24. The mystical door:
The deliberate focus on the inner life and godliness should not end with this Lenten season. This is a mystical door through which you can enter to journey with the invisible God and experience Him, instead of selfish ambitions ruining your spiritual life. Keep walking. Believe that every step you take is guided by His loving hand.
Suffering- a word we don’t like to experience or hear about. The Cross of Christ stands out as a mountain peak; a silent voice heard forever; the God of love suffered and died for us. He embraced suffering, so that He can enter into our suffering, and restore us by redeeming us and bringing us back home to Himself.
26. A changed life:
A changed life is seen in the visible actions of love and kindness and it must begin at home. Harsh words, demands, anger and selfishness must be replaced with gentleness, kindness and love. Read St Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians Ch. 13.
27. Don’t be alone:
Is there someone with you on this Lenten journey? If so, the two of you comprise a single person. When you pray and fast, think of the other who is doing the same for you. No one can be alone in this journey; for knowing God is touching and experiencing love. You are not alone.
28. The how and why of giving:
Doing good deeds to the needy is part of this Lenten journey. But what you give, whether by words or deeds, is not as important as to ‘how’ and ‘why’ you give. Let love be your motive.
29. Inside out:
Authentic change is inside out; not just external pretense. Being alone with God, meditating on the Holy Scriptures and regular partaking of the Holy Eucharist will help you to experience the living, active energy of Christ’s life that has the power to change you into His nature. Focus on your inner life reality.
30. Deeper roots:
One of the signs that your spiritual roots are going deeper, is seen in your quietness, silence and humility. Have you noticed the change taking place in your behavior and attitude, the impact of being on this journey of Lent? It must make you glad on the inside. Thank God for what He is doing in you and for you. Be thankful.
Confession is one of the most important sacraments of the holy Church. Learn about it. Confessing your failures and sins to a priest and hearing, “Your sins are forgiven” is important for your spiritual healing. Even Mother Teresa had a priest she confessed to, until the very end of her life. Read the words of Christ in St. John 20:21-23.
32. For parents to remember:
All will go away; you too. But you never die, you live on, through your children. The quality of your life – the godliness in your attitude and actions, are the only things that can live on after you are gone. Therefore, focus on your inner life character, which this Lenten season invites you to consider and walk in. Lent is a window for us to see our inner world.
33. The impact of Lent:
One of the most powerful impacts of Lent, is to receive the gift of love from God and give that gift to others around us. The most essential glue of any relationship, especially with our family and even others, is to turn a blind eye to the sins and faults of others. When we compare our wicked hearts in God’s light, we become more merciful and less judgmental toward others, knowing how weak and sinful we are.
34. Forgive yourself:
Basic human nature is to never admit when we are wrong or have sinned. We always shift blame on others for all our failures, while being totally blind to our own sins. Learn to resist the urge to blame others and be willing to take responsibility for your sins of omission and commission. Learn to ask forgiveness from others and from God. Forgive yourself; for God has forgiven you.
For better understanding, another word we can use for Lent is wilderness. And wilderness is silence. Christ and silence were inseparable during His forty days of prayer and fasting in the wilderness. Noise and restlessness keep us from silence, without which we cannot experience God. The billions of stars and galaxies move in deep silence, yet the breathtaking beauty of it all overwhelms us.
36. The reason for the season:
We are told to change ourselves to be like little children – guileless, vulnerable, open and honest without pretense. Innocence is the hallmark of little children. God wants us to be like little children in and out. Prayer, fasting, repentance, praying the Jesus prayer and doing good deeds for the helpless, are all means for us to change from the inside out. Don’t miss the reason for this beautiful season.
37. Becoming nothing:
A lit candle kept in pitch darkness becomes the star and focus of attention. But when the same candle is placed before the burning sun, it is no more seen or noticed. This season of Lent should help us to become ‘nothing’, in the light of His glory and grace. The Jesus Prayer makes sense.
38. The chief of sinners:
When we become aware during this Lenten journey that we are, in the words of St. Paul, ‘the chief of sinners’, and that we are always in need of God’s mercy and grace, we will no more be judgmental or irritated by others’ sins and failures.
39. Consider others better:
Our attitude to others’ failures, sins, weaknesses, and inabilities, tells of our inner life godliness and our true humility more than anything else. Remember that the reason why others fail or lack in any area is because, that is all they are capable of doing. It is our high expectations of others that make us upset and impatient. Considering others better than ourselves, is a lesson we ought to learn during this spiritual journey.
40. Feel His feelings:
Feel the feelings of Jesus, as He is entering into the final week of His life on earth. Golgotha and the Cross are only a few days away. He must be thinking about saying good bye to His beloved Mother, the Blessed and ever-Virgin Mary, His disciples who loved Him and many that He was close to – like Martha, Mary and Lazarus. How we must feel the agony of the Cross! Feeling His feelings will make us to love Him more deeply, for only those who love Him will feel His pain.
41. A prayer:
On bended knees and with a broken heart, I confess to You dear Lord; this world and its attractions, have blinded my eyes from seeing You, and loving You more than all and my own life. The negative and destructive social media and gossips, have caused much damage to my heart. Please give me the strength to say ‘no’, to all the noises and attractions of this passing world, which are nothing more than passing shadows. I choose to journey with You till that day when I will see You again, at Your glorious second coming Amen.+
We came into this world without anything and we will leave it, just as we came. Remember the words of the Master: “Be content if you have food to eat and clothes to wear”. Embrace simple living. May this season of Lent cause you to walk away, even hate materialism, which is the enemy of God.
43. The Servant King:
Join the people of God to welcome King Jesus, the Servant of all, riding on a humble donkey, which speaks of His humility. He still looks for the humble and broken in heart to dwell in. Wave the palm leaves, which tell of our love and adoration for our Lord. Remember the palm leaves from last year? We burned them and marked our foreheads with their ashes, as a sign of repentance as we began this year’s beautiful journey of Lent.
44. Our Choice:
We are the temple of God. Not only is He with us, but within us – ever changing us into His likeness. Thus, we live out the nature of God and shine forth His light through our earthen vessels. It is our responsibility to choose to think and act as His people. This Lenten journey we are on is an example of our following in Christ’s footsteps. Thank God!
45. The Fruit:
Our hearts’ longing should be, “O Lord, let the beauty of Christ be seen in me as the result of this Lenten journey”. If so, the fruit of the Holy Spirit will be evident in and through our lives. The fruit is, “Love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5: 22-23).
46. A Saint’s prayer:
Even the best of life in this world is full of troubles and sorrow. The prayer of a Saint goes like this, “Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I will cry to you, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61: 1-2). Make this your prayer.
47. The Eucharist is instituted:
Pause. This is the last supper Jesus will have with His disciples! The shadow of the Cross has already fallen on Him. The Eucharist is instituted by Christ. He died on the Cross, was buried and rose again and now in the Holy Eucharist, He is with us. The Eucharist is the risen Christ. It is the epicenter of the worship of the Holy Church. Don’t miss it.
48. Believe it or not.
The Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross for me and for you. His Holy Blood was poured out to heal us from the disease of sin and restore us back to God so that we could share in His divine nature. It is up to us to believe or reject this eternal truth. Make your choice.
49. The Sun will rise:
There are times when all within us and around us cry out saying, “There is no hope. God is dead. I give up.” No matter how dark the night is, the sun will rise. And He is on the way. Have faith.
50. Christ is Risen!
Death is the result of man’s separation from God, the author of life. The resurrection of Christ is the greatest event in the history of mankind. For those who believe that Jesus died, was buried and rose again and choose to make Him Lord of their life, death is no more the end but only a departure from this earthly abode to eternal bliss where there is no more sorrow, pain or death (Read 1 Corinthians 15).
Season of Lent is a journey to spiritual growth, renewal and an opportunity to know the Lord Jesus more intimately and closely. We must hear the Lord speaking to us all along the way as the journey continues so that our heart-attitude will become more like His. The way to attain this is by deliberately choosing an attitude of confession, denying of self, fasting, meditation, prayer and supplication. And, the life is enriched with humility of Christ and service to others. This daily devotional will do just that: bringing the focus upon Jesus and enabling spiritual renewal in our walk with the Lord.
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