“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17)
Great Lent is upon us! It is the time for more fasting, for more prayer, and for more generous giving. It is the time for a renewal of life in us, and the Springtime of Heaven revealed in our inmost hearts, when we choose to humble ourselves and so enter into a healthy, lively, and interactive relationship with God. We have come to the doors of the Paradise of Love, and when we repent and so change, then a new life really begins. This is the gate to Heaven, the Heavenly gate of repentance.
In the New Testament, repent (from the Greek word metanoia) means literally a transformative change of heart—for us—for you and me. From the heart then the mind is re-orientated to see, and think, and feel in a new and wonderfully different way. Our whole world view can then change, renewed by Christ to begin to see and think and feel then with our heart and mind baptized in this newness, this humble-mindedness, this meek way of looking at everything. This is what the Lord said to learn from Him: this meekness and humility of heart, and this is truly the Springtime of Great Lent.
Often we think that great change can only happen later, usually at a more distant time. That is not what Jesus said. It can happen right now. It is a choice. It is the willingness to be open to change, and to acknowledge that we are seeing and thinking and feeling in small and restricted ways, making ourselves the standard of all things instead of God. If we slip into our stream of thoughts the doubt of ourselves as master, as the center of thinking itself, then Jesus Christ has room to enter and effect a great change in us. Giving Christ this room is the beginning of all real and lasting change.
Let us open to Him today the gates of repentance, the openness of heart, the pleading call—heart to heart—that we are ready to really begin, ready to be more open, ready to welcome Him in to be the master and center of our life, and even of this change. His icon is already inside, and He is always standing at the door waiting for us to knock. Let us knock today and begin to really live, so our hearts can become so full of Jesus Christ and Heaven that all the flowers of His Spiritual Springtime will blossom forth in us! Amen.
The Monastics at St. Isaac of Syria Skete
and at the Convent of St. Silouan
and the Faithful at St. Nicholas Church
and the Staff at Orthodox Byzantine Icons and St. Isaac’s Bookstore