“Stretching forth thy divine arms, wherewith thou didst bear the Creator Who in His goodness hath become incarnate, O most pure virgin, beseech Him to deliver from temptations, sufferings and tribulations us who praise thee with love and cry aloud: Glory to Him Who made His abode within thee! Glory to Him Who issued forth from thee! Glory to Him Who hath delivered us by thy birthgiving!”

Theotokion, Matins for Tuesday in the third week of Great Lent, from the Lenten Triodion.

Beloved, how often do we hear today the terms “but these are different times”? Indeed these are unique and different times for Orthodox Christians. Great Lent is the time of contest, it is the time of struggle, it is the time of purification. We struggle againsts the greatest adversary, our self-will and sinful inclinations. The Christian is directed to ever be vigilent but Great Lent becomes a time of more intensity – in prayer, introspection, self reproach and correction.

These are indeed “different times”. Sickness permeated the Earth after our forebears, Adam and Eve, were cast out of Paradise. The sickness of sin and corruption held sway. So why are we so surprised with the current pandemic? Why are we so alert and aware when at other times we have lost sight of the millenia-old pandemic plagueing all of humanity?

We should not in any way down-play the current situation that abounds due to the Coronavirus, but in like manner we should not down-play the importance of prayer. When Churches worldwide are closing their doors and countless lost souls have closed the doors of their heart to God, now is the time for increased prayer.

We are mandated to isolate ourselves. The Christian has been mandated to isolate themselves, to become strangers to this world. Christian, rouse yourself, falling prostrate and asking the Lord to save us and protect us. Save us, O Lord, we beseech Thee – hosanna to the Lord of Sabaoth – which means, save us Lord, we beseech Thee!

What greater prayer can we offer than this most sweet and precious Akathist to our Lord.

Irmos: Behold now, and see that I am God, * who saved the people of Israel when they were in bondage, * and commanded Moses to lead them in the wilderness, * for I am mighty in My power

Irmos from the second ode of the first canon assigned to the Tuesday of Third week of Great Lent.