Beloved in Christ, already the Church of Christ has asked us to redirect our thoughts, our hearts, and inclinations away from the average and ordinary to the path of Great Lent.

From Meatfare Sunday (Apokreas), the Church prescribes the giving-up of meat. The Lenten struggle is slowly introduced to us, allowing us to prepare for the long journey ahead. In the relinquishing of flesh-meats, we begin our course of treatment, the therapy has begun.

As might often occur in treatment of bodily maladies, a regimen of treatment is gradually ramped-up. So it is for the spiritual struggle and readjustment that lay ahead in the coming days.

So, in these days before the fast, may our Lord grant us to begin our preparation and to gather the provisions needed for the journey. In the stead of a map, we have the Divine Services marking our progress week-by-week; in the stead of a lamp, we have God’s word to be a light unto our path; in the stead of a compass we have the Cross of our Saviour leading the way.