"However, this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:21).
Great Lent is understood to be the holiest fast as our Lord Jesus Christ Himself fasted it for us. Therefore, during Great Lent we must strive to follow the example set by our Lord Jesus Christ, who had fasted on our behalf for forty days and forty nights, which we read in Matthew chapter 4. During Great Lent, the Church in her wisdom teaches us how to receive Him by using the great means of repentance along with prayer and fasting. But many are fooled by what the true meaning of fasting is; fasting does not mean to just abstain from certain foods and drinks. Fasting without prayer is essentially nothing less than a bodily act. Fasting provides us with an opportunity for prayer because when a person fasts, their soul is occupied with internal work with God and so when the body is humbled by hunger, the soul also is humbled. We must train ourselves while fasting to not let a change of food be the only thing different we do in this fast, but rather let the fast be striving for change toward a better spiritual life. We must struggle to remove defects and weaknesses that we may feel exist not only within ourselves, but with our relationship with God, and our brothers and sisters through Christ. However, as we fast we must not try to make our fast visible to anyone except our Father in Heaven who sees everything in secret. And as we journey through this most sacred time of the year we must examine ourselves, our salvation, our repentance, and our spiritual life. Sit down not only with yourself but your spiritual father, seek the guidance that us all sinners are in desperate need of as we grow daily in the knowledge of God.
+ May God help us all to see the importance of prayer and to lift up our hearts and thoughts to Him alone and may He grant us to have a blessed and holy fast as we seek for repentance +
“I will praise you, O Lord, for your mercies are forever. From generation to generation, my mouth shall declare Your truth.”
- First Doxology of the Sunday Readings during the Great and Holy Lent
By His Holiness Pope Shenouda III
God's children should be strong because they were created in His image and likeness (Gn 1: 26); and God is powerful. We say about Him "Holy is the Lord God Almighty"; therefore, they should be strong like Him.
In the book of Numbers, when God ordered Moses to take a census of the people, this was restricted to young men who can go to war (Nu 1: 3). When the Song of Solomon talks about the men around King Solomon's throne, it describes them as valiant men; "They all hold swords, Being expert in war. Every man has his sword on his thigh, Because of fear in the night." (Sgs 3: 8)
The Blessed Feast of Abba Macarius the Great - Paremhot 27, April 5
By: Pope Shenouda III
How astonishing are the persons whom God gives blessing but they turn it into affliction!
Money is a blessing, beauty also is, art, freedom, knowledge, power, discipline are also blessings. But, practically it is so easy to find all these blessings turned into afflictions by different means!
Misusing such blessings may turn them into afflictions. Money buys and sells conscience and beauty becomes a means of enticement. Art turns into entertainment and frivolity and freedom becomes means of rashness and inattentiveness. Power develops into an instrument of tyranny and science is used in destructive and harmful inventions while discipline -- through misuse -- turns into routine and an
A lady came to me complaining from her son who entered the day care center. "For the last few days," she told me, "I have been patiently scolding him for doing something wrong, saying, “Don't do that.” But he kept answering me, “No, I will do it.”
"I would tell him gently, 'Honey, that's wrong.'
"But he insisted, "I will do this. I will do it."
I was surprised to hear this because I know this kid to be a