Last week, my husband and I spent the evening with our wonderful priest and presbytera. We greatly enjoyed our time with the and always wish that it could have been longer. During the course of the night, I asked about fasting during Lent. This will be my first Lent as a chrismated Orthodox Christian and I want to start well but I also realize that I will be in the middle of my second trimester of my first pregnancy throughout the course of Lent. Father Andrew provided us with lots of great advice and pastoral counselling but the one thing that stuck with me was a story he told us about St. Seraphim of Serov. When asked about we are so lacking in miracles today compared to the early Church, he responded, “Only one thing is lacking – a firm resolve.”
I have been constantly reminded of this over the last week. It has been a word of conviction for me as I think about Lent coming and Pascha’s arrival. I keep remembering the sheer joy that happens when, after weeks of long services, the priest stands up and says, “Christ is risen!” and the whole church begins to sing the Paschal hymns. There is nothing quite like it, but I keep remembering, how much better would it be if I was prepared for this moment? Prepared through a firm resolve to deny the flesh and learn the spiritual disciplines through physical discipline.