Monday, February 19, 2007


*** I fixed the link for the image location. The photographers name is Julian Cameron. Check out her other works.***

"Let us begin the season of Fast with joy,
giving ourselves to spiritual deeds,
cleansing our soul and body by controlling our passions,
as we limit our food and live on the virtues of the Spirit,
Let us persevere in our longing for Him
that we be worthy to behold the most solemn Passion of Christ
and the most Holy Passover
rejoicing the while with spiritual happiness."

And so the Great Fast begins. Last evening I had the honor of attending Forgiveness Vespers. I wish I had more time to explain it better, but the purpose of Forgiveness Vespers is to enter the Great Fast with all offenses forgiven between yourself, God, and your neighbor. The experience of asking your friends and family for forgiveness of any offense, voluntary or involuntary, is so powerful. It's one of the most difficult things to say, and yet what every soul hungers for - forgiveness, and peace of heart and soul.

The text reads:

"Good brothers and sisters! Grant me your blessing and pardon me all the wrongs I have done, in word or deed or thought, with all my faculties, with reflection, or out of uncontrolled emotion."

the response

"May God Himself forgive you, and have mercy on you!"


People do not have to follow this text in their one on one interactions, but it give one a place to begin when the words are difficult to express. To forgive, and be forgiven, what bliss!

This is followed by Psalm 50, which remains on my sidebar as it is my favorite prayer.

There is really too much to explain it all, but last night was one of the most moving spiritual experiences I have had in a long time. And I needed that! I will concluded with another part of the vespers that brought me to tears. The entire congregation sings this in a slow, sorrowful melody. It breaks your heart with its truth!

"Hide not Your face from Your servant;
for I am in distress;
answer quickly, answer quickly,
come close to my soul and redeem me."

I am poor and in pain, O God; Let your power save me.

"Hide not Your face from Your servant;
for I am in distress;
answer quickly, answer quickly,
come close to my soul and redeem me."

Let the poor see and rejoice. Seek the Lord and your souls shall find life.

"Hide not Your face from Your servant;
for I am in distress;
answer quickly, answer quickly,
come close to my soul and redeem me."


Peace be to you!

(image found here)

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6 Comments:

Blogger Suzanne Temple said...

What a beautiful reflection, Renee, and such a lovely image.

February 19, 2007  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Have a blessed Great Lent !

February 20, 2007  
Blogger Mimi said...

Beautiful. It sounds like there is a slightly different ritual between Orthodoxy and the Eastern Rite.

Forgive me, my sister for my offenses towards you.

February 20, 2007  
Blogger Mary Poppins NOT said...

Mimi, I think the difference may be in my retelling and possibly in some translating. I left a lot out of this explanation. I just didn't know how to describe it without just putting the entire service on the post.

February 20, 2007  
Blogger Lisa said...

Sounds lovely. Glad to hear that you felt spiritually fulfilled. :o)

February 21, 2007  
Anonymous Kitchen Madonna said...

I'm going next year!
I'll try and think about non-dairy recipes. That is hard. Who is the artist of this striking image?

February 21, 2007  

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