Clean Wednesday – A three-day restraint

While fasting with the body, brethren, let us also fast in spirit. Let us loose every bond of iniquity; let us undo the knots of every contract made by violence; let us tear up all unjust agreements; let us give bread to the hungry and welcome to our house the poor who have no roof to cover them, that we may receive great mercy from Christ our God.

(stichera of Lord I have cried)

There is no greater heaven for the soul than the praying hours spent in the quiet church, than the piercing sound of the morning bells that wakes you up, the profound words of the Holy Fathers that prepare you to dive into yourself, the mysterious call of the talandon that mystically involves you in the ambience of the service, the contemplative prayers that direct your mind towards the spiritual meeting with God, the emotional sticheras which incite the repentant cry in the heart and bring consolation at the same time. We have already entered the fasting period, bearing our sincere desire to repent and the hope that God’s mercy will cover every injustice of ours, will destroy our burrow of sins, will renew our strength for a virtuous life. Now everything is being transformed, bearing the stamp of the Lent.

Being renewed by the fit of three-day complete restraint and fully integrated in the prayerful spirit of the Great Lent services, the Bigorski monastic family, together with the numerous faithful, joyfully awaited the moment when they were finally honoured to unite with the One, with Whom they constantly communicated with these past three days, Who strengthened  their spiritual power and supported them during the fast, invisibly bestowing upon them His lifegiving blessing. And what joy arises in the soul from that emotional pouring of the soul transformed into prayerful sighs towards the Most Kind One: “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice”. With humble thoughts and bright souls, the present faithful slowly approached the Holy Chalice in order to commune with the Giver of eternal life. And the blessing that comes down on them fills them with new zeal to spend the rest of this week even more prayerfully and triumphantly announce the victory of Orthodoxy.