Friday, March 5, 2010

Lesson for Lent: Pressing On

Scripture
Glory to You, O Lord, Glory to You!
Genesis 8:4-21

Lesson
About Fasting
By St. Theodore the Studite

Already the fast has advanced and lays on us, brethren, the task of pressing on eagerly again and again to what follows as each has chosen, not reluctantly or under constraint; for "God loves a cheerful" faster [1 Cor. 9:7; St Paul, of course, has ‘giver’]. Except that the coenobitic rule does not let each one act according to their own will; but this is the common limit of self-mastery for those living in obedience: the cutting of their own will. Fasting then is good, because it tames the passions and subjects the flesh to the spirit; weeping is good, because it wipes clean and washes the heart of sins and sets it pure before the Lord; prayer is good, because it gives the mind wings and makes it a companion of God; love is good, because it disregards what concerns itself for the advantage of the neighbour; zeal is good, because it lightens toils and makes the spirit young, as it makes the elder young again. Therefore let us become cheerful, let us be eager. The moment for psalmody? Let us advance keenly. The moment for work? Let us work earnestly. The moment for stillness? Let us be still reasonably. The time for talk? Let us talk suitably. And to speak simply, doing "everything decently and in order"[1 Cor. 14:40], as we have been instructed; let us remain outside tumult and all idle chatter. Let the measure of genuflexions be completed and the customary recitation be fulfilled, according to each one’s power, while watch is kept over the body’s health. And would that the God of peace might bring us to the queen of days, to the resurrection of Christ, and make us worthy of the kingdom of heaven, where there is "no food and drink, but justice and peace and joy," as it is written, "in the Holy Spirit" [Rom. 14:17]. Would that we might share in them richly, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and might, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always and to the ages of ages. Amen.

(This lesson was found here.)

Questions
1. What is the most important verse in the Scripture selection? Why?
2. Why would God love a "cheerful faster"?
3. St Theodore says, Therefore let us become cheerful, let us be eager. What virtues and their outcomes does he encourage? Are these hard to do? Why or why not?

To receive 1 credit for this study, please email your answers to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com by March 12, 2010. May your learning be blessed!

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