March 2010

Fr. Antony Portrait

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

There are many lessons to learn in Lent and one of them is this:  we have only moments to live and each one deserves our full attention.  That is why the Fathers instruct us to remember that life is short and can end at any time.  Moments are precious.  How many of them pass without a notice?

That is also one reason why the Church calls us to pay attention to the things we often ignore during the Great Fast.  Like eating. We eat three times a day. Some of us even more, but we barely take notice of eating.  We inhale and rarely taste our food. When we consciously stop eating certain kinds of food it has the potential of waking us up to the miracle of eating!  We have to think a little harder about what we will do for dinner, about how we will “spice it up” to make it taste the way we like it.  We might even notice the differences a change in diet makes to life.  Take a bite, slow down, pay attention.

Of course, there is much we could say about the neglect of meditation and prayer, of our tendency to sleep during Church services, of our too easy practice of “not seeing” the needs of others around us, particularly strangers.  Great Lent is meant to cure us of “not seeing.”

Perhaps the most neglected aspect of life is what is going on inside our own heads.  When we take a moment to gaze inside, it quickly becomes apparent that there is a lot happening in there.  It can be overwhelming, so much so, that it seems easier to ignore it and go about our lives “as normal.”  We are afraid of silence because we don’t know what to do with the noise inside. The problem, of course, is if we don’t know what our minds are doing, then we can be and will be led into places we might not wish to go.  Unconsciousness is the root of all sin.  Great Lent can be the beginning of a new life beyond Holy Pascha if we take the opportunity to practice the disciplines as best we can.

Take a moment each day to pay attention.  As one teacher put it, when you become present you will run into the Presence.  God is near.

Much love,

Fr. Antony