Dear Friends of Saint Dumitru Monastery,
During these days, the Church announces to us the arrival of Lent as being the dawn of day that dissipates the darkness:
“Shining upon us as the dawn, the grace-giving Fast provides us now with a time for repentance, dispersing the darkness of our sins.”
And she urges us to approach it with a humble heart
“The holy season of abstinence shines upon us all with the light of repentance, driving away the darkness of sin. Let us welcome the Fast with humble hearts.”
with faith and watchfulness
“See how the beauty of repentance forms the soul anew at the approach of Lent! With faith and vigilance let us enter on the Fast, and receive remission of our sins.”
relying upon the Mother of God to strengthen us throughout its course
“Thou art the cause of all good things, O Lady. We entreat thee urgently: enter with us, by thy mediation, into the struggle of the Fast, and grant us to complete it for our souls’ salvation.”
It is significant that Lent begins after the Sunday of the Casting Out of Adam from Paradise. A great saint of our Church, Maximus the Confessor, says that “the first man, being deficient in the actual movement of his natural powers toward their goal, fell sick with ignorance of his own Cause,” and “ignorance of God made a god out of creation, the worship of which is the self-love that human beings have for their own bodies.” This carnal self-love gave birth to all evil and to all the dishonorable passions, for by “pursuing pleasure out of self-love, and for the same reason being anxious to avoid pain, we contrive the birth of untold numbers of destructive passions.”
Lent serves to heal this fall of Adam, which we repeat many times every day.
A contemporary father of the Church, Archimandrite Zacharias Zacharou, explains beautifully:
“In the beginning state, before the Fall, God nurtured the man’s spirit, and man’s spirit nurtured his soul and his soul transmitted God’s energy even unto his body. When man separated himself from the spirit of God, his soul was no longer nurtured from on High and it became a parasite for the body. The soul began to be nurtured by the body, instead of the body being nurtured by the soul, and man became poor and destitute.”
During this period of Lent, we have the opportunity to show that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word (and by prayer, and by tears of repentance, and by prostrations, and by asceticism) that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4.4).
We ask our good God and His Most-Holy Mother to grant us strength so that this Lent may become a spiritual feast for our souls, which otherwise are atrophied by pleasures.
In Christ, our Lord and Savior,
Abbot of Saint Dumitru Monastery
We also announce the publication of our monastery November-December bulletin (its English version will be available soon on our website: https://sfdumitru.org/en/icon-from-within/).