In accor­dance with our Typikon, the broth­er­hood of Holy Trin­i­ty Monastery per­forms the Rite of For­give­ness on the night of Cheese­fare Sun­day, at the end of the Order of Small Com­pline. Pri­or to ask­ing the for­give­ness of the broth­er­hood and of all present, the monastery’s abbot, Archi­man­drite Luke, gave the fol­low­ing word on the upcom­ing lenten strug­gle:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spir­it!

Dear broth­ers and sis­ters, 

We begin the Great Fast with the com­mand of our Sav­iour to for­give one anoth­er in order to receive from our Lord com­plete for­give­ness of our sins. But this is only the begin­ning; this is some­what of a foun­da­tion. Our sins are numer­ous — sins not only against our neigh­bor but against our own soul, which is our clos­est neigh­bor, and espe­cial­ly we sin against the Lord God and offend Him every day. We deceive our­selves. We need to remem­ber the goal of all of this. And the goal is to become cit­i­zens of the Heav­en­ly King­dom and not to fall into Hell. This is the goal of our strug­gles.

And what fur­ther do we need to think about? Some of us reach the end of the lenten peri­od and think, “There we go. I’ve man­aged to attend every sin­gle church ser­vice. I’ve not missed one.” That is some kind of an achieve­ment. Or, “We’ve man­aged to reach Pascha and not one time did we break the fast.” Again, anoth­er achieve­ment of sorts. Or even bet­ter, “I was able to not say one offen­sive word dur­ing the entire lenten peri­od to my neigh­bor.” That’s still a great achieve­ment. But we have to remem­ber, broth­ers and sis­ters, the phar­isees and the scribes were very good at keep­ing the rules. But that was not enough.

What is it that we need to seek from our Lord? We have to seek rev­e­la­tion, rev­e­la­tion that we could even call Divine lessons. What are these lessons? A per­son strug­gles very hard for a long time against a sin, for exam­ple, with no suc­cess what­so­ev­er. Then one day, sud­den­ly, for some rea­son he under­stands that he’s been strug­gling too much with his own pow­ers, that he’s for­got­ten that we need to turn com­plete­ly in heart and soul and mind to Christ! And when he does this, after this small rev­e­la­tion he begins to strug­gle a lit­tle more suc­cess­ful­ly. We should remem­ber these rev­e­la­tions, we should write them down. We need to seek them from God and ask Him to open our eyes. They are like strong stones which go into the build­ing of the tow­er which is our soul, the tow­er which is our spir­i­tu­al life. Or else we will remain in one spot, like lit­tle chil­dren with­out real devel­op­ment, in a child­ish state of soul and not like adults as we should be. 

How can these small rev­e­la­tions all lead to some­thing even greater, even high­er? Well, they will if we pay atten­tion to what the Lord reveals to us about our­selves. They will lead us to the great, the very great and divine virtue of humil­i­ty — which unfor­tu­nate­ly we great­ly lack. Con­cern­ing humil­i­ty I am silent. We have the Holy God-bear­ing Fathers; they can teach  you. You need to read them to dis­cov­er what are the signs of humil­i­ty, how to acquire them. We can begin by beg­ging the Lord to open our eyes, to stop deceiv­ing our­selves and to begin a real life in Christ, not like chil­dren but like true Ortho­dox Chris­tians.

Amen!

The above text was tran­scribed from audio and light­ly edit­ed for read­abil­i­ty and to fit our edi­to­r­i­al style.