Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal Abstracts
Great Lent Week 4, Fasting and Abstinence
Volume 6 No. 333 February 26, 2016

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Sunrise in Perth Harbor, Australia. Photo by SS
Sunrise in Perth, Australia

As the people in North America are waiting for the arrival of Spring
and the warm days of Summer,  our friends in Down Under are saying
goodbye to the warm days of summer. Soon, autumn days will be
replaced by the dark days of winter. Here is a fabulous view of Sunrise
at Perth Harbor taken by SS during her morning hike for Malankara World.

Photo by SS, Australia


1. Foreword

In Isaiah 58:3, prophet Isaiah puts this question to God:

"Why have we fasted, and thou seest it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and thou takest no knowledge of it?"
(Is 58:3).

According to Father Mark from Ireland, the problem lies not in God seeing (or hearing our prayers), nor in God failing to notice it. The problem lies in our fasting. The fasting pleasing to God is incompatible with quarreling, with oppression, greediness, and complacency. Holy fasting is incompatible with "the pointing of the finger, and speaking of wickedness" (Is 58:9). ...

I. This Sunday in Church - 4th Sunday in Great Lent - Canaanite Woman (Knanaitho)

2. Bible Readings for 4th Sunday in Great Lent - Canaanite Woman (Knanaitho) (February 28) Lec_4th_sunday_of_Great-Lent.htm

3. Sermons for 4th Sunday in Great Lent Canaanite Woman (Knanaitho)(February 28)

4. From Malankara World Journal Archives

Malankara World Journals with the Theme: Great Lent Week 4

II. Lectionary Reflections on 4th Sunday of Great Lent

5. The Canaanite Woman - A Lesson on Faith and Humility

How do we view ourselves? Are we someone of importance? Do we crave approval and recognition? Or do we admit that we are "little dogs" who God has elevated to the awesome destiny of being his sons and daughters, a vocation that we could never deserve. ...

6. A Mother's Cry

It is clear that I see this story as being about Jesus' responding to mental illness. While this may not have been the case, it surely seems to speak today. What do you think?

What is your own experience with mental illness or disorders or addiction? How is that like being 'tormented by a demon?' How does this mother's encounter with Jesus speak to your own experience? ...

7. Gifts are for Sharing

We have ample evidence that mercy is a gift that is meant to be shared. And yet we, like Jesus' own disciples, constantly have to re-learn the lesson that we who have received mercy must in turn extend that mercy to others. To some extent, I think that's what is going on in our Gospel lesson. ...

III. Great Lent - Week 4 - More Resources

8. Malankara World Great Lent Supplement

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement

9. Meditations and Reflections For Week 4 of Great Lent

Week 4 of Great Lent

IV. Featured Articles

10. Fasting by HH Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, LL Patriarch of Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and All The East

Fasting is a voluntary act of abandoning worldly life. It is a sign of manís obedience to, and respect of Godís laws and his observance of Godís offices by his voluntary abstinence from food or drink for a specific period of time. (Read in Malankara World Great Lent Supplement)

11. The Call of Lent: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

During this season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, let us imitate the Pharisee in his virtues and the Publican in his humility; and also fasting not only from food and drink, but also from sin, from gossip, jealousy and anger! In the words of St. John Chrysostom: "what good is it if you don't eat meat or poultry, and yet you bite and devour your brothers and sisters?" ...

12. Why Great Lent? What's the purpose? How do I take part?

The season of Great Lent is an opportunity given for spiritual growth, but this exclusively depends on whether we are willing to partake of it. It should not be understood as mere symbols and customs. Ultimately, to take Great Lent seriously entails that we will consider it on the deepest level possible: as a spiritual challenge to draw closer to Christ, which requires a response, a decision, a plan, and continuous effort. ...

13. Lenten Transformation

Fasting, prayer, almsgiving. These three things have the power, not only to transform us, but to change the society we live in.  I learned a lot in India - and a lot on the back of a scooter, listening to my co-worker. He said, "Brother, as Christians, we have two eyes looking out at the world, but we have millions of eyes looking back at us." The world sees what Christians are doing. And what is it that they see? ...

14. Fasting and Abstinence: Similarities and Differences in Development between the Byzantine East and West and some Pastoral Considerations

An excellent analysis of the differences in the Byzantine and western churches as to how the Great Lent is conducted. (Read in Malankara World Great Lent Supplement)

V. General Weekly Features

15. Family Special: 30 Days To A Stronger Marriage - Part Two

Part 1 was published in MWJ Issue 332. Here is the conclusion of the article.
In God's upside down kingdom, humility - the epitome of the lowest place - is in actuality, the highest place. Clothes are used to cover the "flesh." They are what is seen and more often than not, make a statement to others. What does your spouse see? May it be a humble meekness.

16. Family Special: Tips for Remaining Faithful in Marriage

Question: Have you ever been tempted to be unfaithful to your wife? What are the danger points that those of us who are younger should watch for? ...

17. The Importance of Facing Life's Challenges Head-on

Instead of giving up when you encounter a challenge or a struggle in your life, find out what God is doing. Seek Him and ask Him what He wants to accomplish through it. ...

18. A Season of Need: Maintaining a Heart that God Blesses

Our dependence on God brings enormous blessings into our lives, but when those blessings cause us to forget our original dependence, we miss out on the ways God wants to continue to bless us. We lose sight of his presence and, like Solomon, turn away from pure devotion to him. ...

19. About Malankara World

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