Meditations for Great Lent: Reflections on the Triodion, by Vassilios Papavassiliou. Published by Conciliar Press, 2013 (1st edition)
Meditations for Great Lent focuses on the key Gospel readings for pre-Lenten weeks of preparation, which serve to exercise our minds before we focus on our bodies and our spirits. It covers the Sundays of the Publican and Pharisee, Prodigal Son, Last Judgment, and Forgiveness and their respective themes of humility, repentance, ascetic love, fasting from sin, forgiving and return to Paradise.
These are linked to relevant services in the Lenten period: “The purpose of our fasting is spiritual. Spirituality must not be viewed as something that does not concern the body, but as something that is made possible through and within the body. We all too often find within ourselves a conflict between body and soul. The desires and needs of the flesh can all too often overpower the spirit. Fasting is a means of restoring the balance between soul and body, a means of bringing the flesh under the control and will of the mind and spirit.”
The author addresses the passions and virtues through the Prayer of St. Ephrem, particularly the attainment of the virtues of humility, chastity, patience, and love. The Clean Week is examined through the virtue of joy, and the importance of Sunday of the Cross and the canon of St Andrew in the journey to Pascha are explored as well.
The author seeks to assist us so that we travel through Lent with the right spiritual mindset adopted by the Fathers of the Church. He advises that, “it would be a mistake to think of the sacrifices of Lent in purely negative terms — in terms of struggle and deprivation. We are to think of Lent as liberation. Lent calls us to sacrifice many of those things which, while they tend to occupy such a central position in our lives, while they seem to us to be so important, they are in reality things that we can do without. Lent is thus the rediscovery of that which is most essential in our lives. In this rediscovery, we return to God and to the very meaning of life”.
Source: Lychnos February/March 2018