Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Kothne Sunday, Great Lent Begins
Volume 6 No. 330 February 5, 2016
III. Great Lent - Week 1 - Featured Articles

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement

Great Lent is the time for personal reflection, meditation, reconciliation, and prayer. Malankara World has a great resource that helps you accomplish that. We provide you daily reflections, meditations, prayer, bible readings etc.

If you only have a few minutes to spend a day, you can read short reflective articles and meditations. If you have more time, there are bible readings, and others to enrich your day.

Read the articles about how to practice lent. You can find the resources here:

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement

Meditations and Reflections For
Week 1 of Great Lent

After reading and reflecting on the Great Lent, then read the specified readings and reflections for the day specified. We will guide you week by week.

Week 1 of Great Lent

We Are Sinners
Today's Prayer

God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

- The tax collector in Luke 18, who in his awareness of his own sin would not even look up to heaven as he prayed

Scripture Reading: John 12:20-33

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

"Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!"

Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

Today's Quote

"My life afrights me. For when carefully reviewed, its whole course shows in my sight like one great sin; or at least it is well-nigh nothing but barrenness. Or, if any fruit is seen in it, that fruit is so false, or so imperfect, or in some way or other so tainted with decay and corruption, that it must needs either fail to satisfy God, or else utterly offend Him." - Anselm

Something to Think About

All of us have sinned-if we were without sin, Jesus' sacrifice would not have been necessary to assure us a relationship with God. This week, take time to identify the temptations and sins that you struggle with. Are there unconfessed sins in your life that you need to bring before Jesus?

Source: Bible Gateway Lent Devotional

Conversion Through Prayer, Fasting and Alms-giving

by Fr. Thomas Euteneuer

It's hard to believe that the Great Lent snuck up on us like a thief in the night, but here we are ready to turn over a new spiritual leaf again. Lenten conversion is not a superficial renewal like cleaning an old painting or varnishing an antique chair. These are renovations but are not conversions! What the Lord wants is not just the change of bad habits and worldly vices; He wants a clean soul and no half-measures will do. And for that, we are given a forty-day discipline to train us to cleanse the insides of our souls and make them ready for the Lord.

Lenten house cleaning proceeds according to an age-old spiritual discipline of the Church: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Not ironically, the reason for a three-fold spiritual discipline is that we have a three-fold soul. The "faculties" of the soul are mind, imagination (i.e., emotions) and will, what St. Augustine called the "internal trinity" sixteen centuries ago. As such, the disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are directed toward converting and renewing our inner powers: prayer enlightens the mind, fasting matures the emotions, and charity strengthens the will.


First and foremost, take time each of the forty days of Lent to pray and don't miss a day. Whatever way you pray best, do more of it. Prayer purifies the mind and opens the intellect to the Truth. This does not mean that we have to enter a PhD program to be Christians. Prayer is a universal discipline and anyone can exercise his mind with it to great effect. Years ago when I was in a rural migrant parish, the little Guatemalan ladies who walked sometimes miles every day to the church to pray before the statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe would put me to shame by their intensity of prayer - their prayer was pure and devotional and, as a consequence, their minds were much more attuned to the Mind of God than that of their busy pastor!


Don't neglect this practice during Lent - in fact, do more than the minimum because it's good for the soul! The discipline of fasting aims to reorder the disordered emotions and appetites of our inner life. Eating less or missing a meal never hurt anyone - especially in food-abundant America. However, the benefits are enormous in chastened desires and a tangible sense of dependency upon God.


The human will becomes mature by learning to make sacrifices for higher goods and purposes, but the spirit of sacrifice is by no means a natural inclination to most humans. However, choosing to put the good of others first can be learned through training in selflessness which is what the discipline of "almsgiving" is about. Almsgiving trains us to think and act generously as our way of life. It is the training of the will to renounce self for the good of another, and Lent gives us forty days to practice it more intensely.

The truly magnanimous souls of our Church's history were those saints who knew the need for discipline in all these areas and practiced them heroically. Such a soul is not given at birth; it is cultivated through a deliberate striving for that inner integrity that we all desire. The Church has the formula to achieve it: prayer, fasting and almsgiving - nothing is more salutary - or more challenging - for that program of inner conversion, but it is the formula that makes us whole.

A blessed Lent to all!

'Rend Your Hearts'

by The Rev. J. Curtis Goforth, O.S.L.

Scripture: Joel 2:1-2, 12-16

"Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing."

Rend your hearts and not your clothing, Joel tells us. We don't know much about the prophet Joel. We don't know if he was a priest in the Temple, though there is some evidence to suggest that if you read the whole book.

Parenthetically, if you're not much of a reader, Joel is the book for you-it's only three chapters long. Really, the only thing learned Biblical scholars can say about Joel is that his grandfather was terrible at picking out names because he named Joel's father Pethuel.

Though we may not know all the details of Joel's life, nonetheless, we have within his words to us an excellent detail for our lives. Joel pleads to the people to repent. We don't know even the exact century that he speaks this word, but really that's not important anyway, because this word is spoken to the people of God. And we, brothers and sisters, are too the people of God. Rend your hearts and not your clothing.

We have gotten so far away from the practices of the Old Testament. If someone was terribly sorry for their actions during Joel's time, they would tear off their clothes and put on burlap and put ashes on their head as a symbol of their deep contrition. And in the ancient Church, if someone had been removed from the community as a result of something they had done, they were given a chance to come back every year after a period of forty days of repentance during Lent. The day that began this time was simply known as "the Day of Ashes." The priest would mark this person's head with ashes in the sign of the cross. Ashes and sackcloth were ancient symbols of repentance and grief.

However, it didn't take the Church long to realize that all Christians were in need of repentance and forgiveness, not just those whose sin might stand out more than another. So, as time progressed, every Christian would come forward to have this ancient symbol pressed into their foreheads on Ash Wednesday. As you come forward for the imposition of the ashes, rend your heart and repent of your sin. Amen.

Reflection - How To Fast
Fast from judging others;
Feast on Christ dwelling in them.

Fast from apparent darkness;
Feast on the reality of light.

Fast from pessimism;
Feast on optimism.

Fast from thoughts of illness;
Feast on the healing power of God.

Fast from words that pollute;
Feast on phrases that purify.

Fast from anger;
Feast on patience.

Fast from worry;
Feast on Divine Providence.

Fast from unrelenting pressure;
Feast on unceasing prayer.

Fast from negatives;
Feast on positives.

Fast from complaining;
Feast on appreciation.

Fast from hostility;
Feast on non-resistance.

Fast from bitterness;
Feast on forgiveness.

Fast from anxiety;
Feast on hope.

Fast from yourself;
Feast on a silent heart.


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