40 Day Challenge: Great Lent1 March 2017
Our Holy Orthodox Church, in its infinite wisdom, readies the faithful to celebrate Pascha, that is, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, through a period of preparation known as Great Lent.
Even before Great Lent begins tomorrow (Clean Monday) the Triodion commenced on February 5th this year – the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee. Through successive Gospel Readings, including that of the Prodigal Son, the Church carefully guides us towards the “narrow gate” leading to eternal life.
Now, as the “arena of virtues” opens, Orthodox Christians are called to compete. We are called to examine our life. We are called to more actively cultivate virtues. We are called to strengthen our relationship with our Creator.
The Church gives us many opportunities throughout the following 40 Days, as well as Holy Week, to reorient our life towards the God-man Christ. These include the Pre-sanctified Divine Liturgies (on Wednesdays and Fridays), the Salutations to the Theotokos (on Friday evenings), together with the six Sundays of Great Lent, which are each dedicated to a specific celebration or saint.
Our Holy Metropolis, in its continuous efforts to promote Christian living and spirituality among the faithful in Canada, is launching a 40 Day Challenge. The purpose of this challenge is for each one of us to emerge victorious in the arena as a result of our actions and in collaboration with the Grace of God.
A theme will be highlighted every week during Great Lent to edify the faithful and assist them on their journey to Pascha. Our first focus is on Fasting and Almsgiving, two powerful virtues when done in the right manner, with sincerity and a pure heart.
We invite all Orthodox Christians, men and women, young and old, to enthusiastically join this 40 Day Challenge, and, to the best of each one’s ability, to experience Great Lent so that when we gather to celebrate the Resurrection, we will joyfully chant the life changing hymn: “Christ is Risen from the dead, by death He has trampled down death, and on those in the tombs He has bestowed life.”