Patriarchal Homily for Lent

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has issued his 2011 Catechetical Homily on the opening of Holy and Great Lent. In it, he reminds us that while Lent may seem toilsome, the pursuit of God becomes a delight to those who undertake it wholeheartedly and persistently:

Of course, focusing the intellect on the work of knowing God, in order to return it from passionate dispersion, comprises a toilsome and time-consuming labor. However, it is necessary and definitive for our spiritual wellbeing and social life. The way of virtue appears difficult and extremely unpleasant to those who undertake the journey; yet, not because it is actually like this, but because human nature has become accustomed to the ease of pleasure. For those who have succeeded in reaching the middle of this journey, in fact it appears pleasant and effortless.

The whole homily is a quick and pleasant read. I encourage everyone to go look at it. If nothing else, however, you should take this exhortation–which the Patriarch closes with–to heart and share it with other Christians around you who you know are undertaking Lenten fasts:

Beloved children in the Lord, upon entering the arena of Holy and Great Lent, we paternally exhort you not to be afraid or lazy in assuming the most important task of your life, namely the spiritual arena of work. Instead, be courageous and strong, so that you may purify your souls and bodies of all sin in order to reach the Kingdom of God, which is granted already from this life to those who seek it with sincerity and with all their soul.

May the grace of God and His boundless mercy be with you all.

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