Now that we are in the final days of Great Lent, I invite you to take a moment and look back on the past five weeks. Think back to the themes that Church has offered to us in order that we may prepare our soul to celebrate Pascha. Consider how you heard the advice from the Church, and to what extent you allowed the Church to lead you. This is the final week of Great Lent (Holy Week is a separate season altogether) and we don’t want to look back at the past weeks and realize we have lost time to prepare. We don’t want any regrets when we enter Holy Week.
When I say no regrets, I’m not talking about remorse for sins. We SHOULD have those regrets daily in our hearts. Confession is the ointment that soothes our regret for sin. The sort of regret I am referring to, is the sort where you realize you could have done so much more during Great Lent, but you chose to ignore the advice of the Church. Maybe you felt there was enough time that you could focus on your soul later. Maybe you had good intentions of “starting tomorrow” but tomorrow never came. Well…..today is tomorrow.
Thankfully, the Church never relents in trying to inspire us to live a godly life. In today’s reading from Proverbs which you can read below, it begins, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.” The reading finishes, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the Lord, and my recompense with my God.” If you want to avoid having regrets next week during Holy Week, pay attention to the regret in this reading, and then…..do something about it.
The best part of being a Christian, is that God offers us another chance to set our priorities on Him every morning. Whether we have done the hard work of Great Lent thus far or not, today is another chance to reset your sights on God. God has been trying to lead us but we have not listened. Let’s start listening, so that our peace will be “like a river,” and we will have no regrets that we didn’t try.
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. O that you had hearkened to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before me." Go forth from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it forth to the end of the earth; say, "The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!" They thirsted not when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he cleft the rock and the water gushed out. "There is no peace," says the LORD, "for the wicked." Listen to me, O coastlands, and hearken, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified." But I said, "I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God." – Isaiah 48.17-49.4