Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Little Lenten Discipline

I'm suffering.  Woke up yesterday morning with a headache, and as the day progressed I felt worse and worse. By supper time I was in the bed with body aches and a sore throat.  Evidently I have the virus that has been going around here for some time.  The Professor's daughter-in-law is still getting over it.  She said the doctor told her that it lasts about 9 days. Yay.

I got off my bed of sickness to come and write this post.  One of my goals during Lent is to write more on my blog, yet not spend so much time on the computer.  I know that some people totally give up computer time (reading blogs, etc.) during Lent, but I find so much good inspiration and help that I don't want to totally give it up, just limit my time.

Not only am I limiting my personal time on the computer, but my family and I are limiting our exposure to The Eye of Mordor...

I mean, the TV.  It does seem to function like The Eye of Mordor in our house. Once we start staring into it, we cannot resist it's power.  The thing is, we don't watch broadcast television at all.  We watch DVDs that we get from Netflix and we focus on watching things that we can all watch together as a family.  We watch "good" programs and movies.  But, our lives have fallen into the pattern of feeling like we have to have something to watch every night.

So, this year one of our Lenten disciplines is to limit our DVD watching to Saturday and Sunday evenings.  It has not been easy for The Boy OR The Professor.   We've only had the TV turned off for two nights so far and both of them have spent a good portion of both evenings wandering around trying to think of something to do. ( This has not been as hard for me, since I can sit down with my latest book and be content and, of course, last night I was feeling too miserable to want to do much of anything.)  Eventually, though, they both found some interesting and productive things to do.  The Professor got out the slide projector and has been looking at some old family slides, and then, last night, The Boy actually sat down to play the piano.  A Lenten Miracle!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Clean Monday

Well, today is the first day of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church. It is known as "Clean Monday" - a day of prayer and repentance to begin the great journey toward the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. 

It is also my birthday.  I find it very appropriate this year to spend this day with extra prayer and repentance and to begin the next year of my life at the same time as we begin the journey to Pascha (Easter.)

Last night we traveled about an hour and a half from our home in order to attend Forgiveness Vespers - the service that actually inaugurates Great Lent in the Orthodox Church. We had never been to this type of service before and it was very, very, beautiful. 

 We prayed the Prayer of St. Ephraim:

O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.  But give rather the spirit of  chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother; For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen

We observed the beginning of the Rite of Forgiveness, where everyone in the church asks and receives forgiveness from each other.  The Professor and The Boy were a little shy about participating, so we slipped on out of the church, but we did a little Rite of Forgiveness later with each other. I found that service to be a very healing experience, if that makes any sense.

It was a beautiful way to begin Lent and the next year of my life.