“Prayer changes from entreaty to thanksgiving, and meditation on the divine truths of faith fills the heart with … hope.” —St. Gregory Palamas, Philokalia, vol. 4
The second Sunday of Great Lent, which commemorates St. Gregory Palamas, is also referred to as the second triumph of Orthodoxy because of Gregory’s defense of the faith and his understanding of prayer. Prayer is conversation with God, nourishment for the soul. Our private prayer life at home and our corporate prayer life in Church intensify during Lent.
This Sunday’s Gospel tells of four men who cared for their friend and lowered him through a roof to see Christ. Our Lord, seeing their faith, responds, “Your sins are forgiven.” Their effort is an example: we too are given strength by God to help those in need.
Combined with fasting, prayer, and forgiveness is our almsgiving, offered to those in need through our Church and its organizations. IOCC fosters within society the words of our Lord to love God and neighbor—taking care of the least of the brethren, bringing light where there is darkness. During various disasters in our nation and elsewhere, for over 27 years, IOCC has provided the requisite aid for many in times of need.
On our Lenten journey, let us love God, serve Him with our time, talents, and resources, and give thanks and glory to Him in all things. He is the conqueror and the victor. Let us rejoice in His holy Pascha!
This week’s reflection is written by V. Rev. Fr. Theodore Boback Jr., St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Baltimore, MD.
Icon courtesy of the estate of Mr. Diamantis John Cassis