As pilgrims on earth, like all our fathers, let us guard the fleeting time of our blameless life, O our Savior, and have mercy on us, as the Lover of mankind.
Here we are already taking the second step into the life-giving wilderness of Lent, and as we delve deeper into its elevated spaces, we become increasingly aware that we are only temporary guests on this earth, that somewhere at the end of this short life our true homeland awaits us, which shines forth through this or that Great Lenten hymn, the Kingdom of our merciful God. Every prayer of ours, every small act of self-denial, every tear of repentance – all are offered as a humble sacrifice on the altar of repentance in this otherworldly fasting season, so that we may somehow be worthy to enter that Kingdom. For it is for us that God has conceived it. Therefore, let us pray to Him in this time He has given us to cleanse our hearts through repentance and prepare us for the further journey of Great Lent to the foot of His Honorable Cross.
Let us begin, people, the immaculate fast, which is salvation for our souls. Let us serve the Lord with fear, anointing our heads with the oil of virtues, and washing our faces with the water of purity, and not speaking too much in our prayers. But as we have learned, let us say: Our Father, who art in heaven, forgive us our trespasses, as the lover of mankind.
A self-governing stichera for Clean Tuesday.