2d7c1056af43c4ea2bee4d0a66631ff7We’re getting ready. Lent comes overnight. Every year I have a feeling that I have to eat as much meat and then as much dairy before the first day of the Fast. Yesterday for instance, I was running around all day I ate nothing until having two slices of pizza for dinner.  A late dinner. A wasted day of sorts. I could have indulged….but I didn’t.

That’s always been one of the biggest advantages of the fast. You have the same diet all month long and then some. There is no rushing to indulge in one food one day because you can’t have the next. All the days are the same. One would think this would work towards our spirituality. Now that we’ve simplified our daily meals into a small group of things we can have we can focus on other matters.

And the first thing to work on is slowing down. In today’s day in age this is near impossible. How can I slow down when I’m trying to catch with things I was supposed to do yesterday? But this is the real treasure of the Great Fast. Focus on the little stuff. Little by little. After all, that’s why the Church gives us Meatfare week. Stop eating meat. Then stop dairy. Little by little.  Read the Bible every day. Just a little, a few pages, a few verses. Go to the services. Take communion.

It’s a beautiful journey the Church gives us every year. Go on it.

Meatfare and Judgment

cowshermitageOf all the Sundays of preparation for Great Lent, Meatfare Sunday is the most confusing.

The message of the Publican and the Pharisee is quite clear  and very practical. The image of repentance in the story of the Prodigal Son is very vivid and beautiful. The need to ask for forgiveness before beginning the fasting period is obvious. But why the gospel of the Last Judgment on Meatfare Sunday? One would think there would at least be mention of fasting in that gospel reading.  What’s more, the Epistle reading at liturgy begins:  “…food commends us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.…”.

Nonetheless, I think there is a point and direct connection with fasting. The fast was a little different in the life of Christians in the early church than today. While the dietary rules were the same, stress wasn’t put so much on what you eat but rather how much you eat. According to the instruction of the Church Fathers we are called to eat less and to use the money we’ve saved to feed the poor.

In this light the Gospel of the Last Judgment of Christ calling us to feed the poor, give drink to the thirsty, and so on, makes perfect sense to be read exactly here before we start the Fast.

This is what Great Lent is about. Will it be about that or not eating certain foods is another story and for another post.

Our Lawgiver


Fr. Milos Vesin on the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord (source – here):

“Today is a feast of the law but also of the Lawgiver. The Lord, our Lawgiver, led by His love towards mankind and desire that he come to the knowledge of truth, Himself follows the Law, even though He had no need for it.

Today’s feast has also a social dimension, for it points to the moment when the parents brought the child before the Lord on the fortieth day. The future of the Church of Christ is not in the youth but the future of the youth is the Church. St. Simeon held the Lord in his hands one day, while we partake of the Mysteries of His body and blood and always hold him in our hearts.”

A Hidden Protestant?

Pope Francis

H/T: The Eponymous Flower (here)

Bizarre message from Protestantism by the Protestant bishop of Hamburg

( For Hamburg’s evangelical bishop, Kirsten Fehr, Pope Francis is a “hidden Protestant”. Fehrs ventured this at the “Long Night of World Religions” at the Hamburg Thalia Theater, as reports.

“He seems to me a hidden Protestant.” The reason for this bold statement is evidently the letter “Amoris laetitia” and the interpretation of some bishops who believe that remarried divorced Catholics now only have to appeal to their consciences to receive the Holy Eucharist.

Trans: Tancred



dscn3706.jpgYou ever come home after being out of town to find your house filled with little guests?  And by little I mean tiny. That’s what happened to us after Thanksgiving this year.  We had an ant problem. I have no idea where they came from but what worried me more was that they didn’t “come” from anywhere but were there the whole time.

The phrase “come out of the woodwork” comes to mind. An etymological definition says that this saying is based on the idea of insects that suddenly come out from under boards in a house where they have been hidden. In other words, they’re not coming anywhere – they’ve been there the whole time.

That phrase tends to be passed around this time of year.  We’re getting ready for Badnje Vece (Christmas Eve) and if there’s a time of year that people come out of the woodwork it’s Badnje Vece. It’s a unique evening and worship service, particularly in the Serbian tradition, that combines both faith and culture. No one – not even the laziest churchgoer – can imagine not going to this service just as no one would dream of leaving without a piece of the Badnjak.

It’s when people literally come out of the woodwork. With all those great crowds and so many faces I wonder if we ever see any new faces on Badnje Vece? Maybe. For the most part, however, it’s only faces that have slightly changed since the last time we’ve seen them, which in some cases was the year before.

It’s like us when we were out of town and were surprised to find that our house wasn’t empty. Our churches only seem empty. In reality they’re full and over flowing, standing room only.

All they have to do is come out of the woodwork.