Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lent in the third week

The third week of Lent this year, and already the Feast of Annunciation is behind us.  The Sunday of the Cross, perhaps the most solemn Sunday of Lent, awaits us.  After that, the Mid-Fast.

Morning prayers in Lent are especially useful.  Nothing focuses me on Lent so much as the Prayer of St. Ephraim, coming as it does towards the end of my morning rule.  Not only is the prayer a physical exertion, but it is a mental workout.  I keep coming back to Fr. Alexander Schmemann's analysis in his text on Great Lent.  I thoroughly recommend it, reproduced here..  Like all short, seemingly simple prayers, the Prayer of St. Ephraim contains great depth and pith.

We must consider not just the surface meaning of the prayers, but also the deeper connection within the prayer practice of the Orthodox life.

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