Sunday, February 5, 2012

The First Sunday of Triodion: The Publican and the Pharisee

Gospel: St. Luke 18: 10-14. The lessons: humility and repentance.

The Lenten season begins then by a quest,a prayer for humility which is the beginning of true repentance. For repentance, above everything else, is a return o the genuine order of things, the restoration of the right vision. It is, therefore, rooted in humility, and humility--the divine and beautiful humility--is its fruit and end.--Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent, p.25

The fault of the Pharisee is that he has no desire to change his outlook; he is complacent, self-satisfied, and so he allows no place for God to act within him. The Publican, on the other hand, truly longs for a "change of mind": he is self-dissatisfied, "poor in spirit," and where there is this saving self-dissatisfaction, there is room for God to act. Unless we learn the secret of the Publican's inward poverty, we hall not share in the Lenten springtime.--Bishop KALLISTOS, "The Meaning of the Great Fast" from The Lenten Triodion, p. 40

The Church welcomes the Lenten spring with a spirit of exultation. She greets the time of repentance with the expectancy and enthusiasm of a child entering into a new and exciting experience. The tone of the church services is one of brightness and light. The words are a clarion call to a spiritual contest, the invitation to a spiritual adventure, the summons to a spiritual feat. There is nothing gloomy here, nothing dark or remorseful, masochistic or morbid, anxious or hysterical, pietistic or sentimental.--Fr. Thomas Hopko, The Lenten Spring, p. 9

Brethren, let us not pray as the Pharisee: for he who exults himself s hall be humbled. Let us humble ourselves before God and with fasting cry aloud as the Publican: God be merciful to us sinners.

A Pharisee, overcome with vainglory, and a Publican, bowed down in repentance came to Thee the only Master. The one boasted and was deprived of blessings, while the other kept silent and was accounted worthy of gifts. Confirm me, O Christ our God, in these his cries of sorrow, for Thou lovest mankind.--Idiomela stichera at Psalm 140 at Great Vespers

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