This past Sunday, 17 Feb 2008, was the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee. This is the first week of the Triodion, and the first week that we Orthodox prepare for Great Lent, which is itself a preparation for the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Yesterday I was going to post something appropriately profound, but just couldn't muster up the energy. You see, I've had the 'flu for a week or so. So, once again, I find myself less than prepared for what some might call the second holiest of seasons of the Liturgical year. Holy Week and Pascha, of course, being the holiest season. During this week we are reminded that only sincere repentance is acceptable, and we're just fooling ourselves if we go through the motions perfectly without an effort at interior change. During this week we are reminded that "The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart -- these, O God, shalt Thou not despise." (Psalm 50/51) During this week we begin our attempt to be more aware of ourselves and our habit of making excuses for ourselves and discounting our bad habits. "Everybody does this, so it's not so bad." During this week we re-learn how to say, "Lord, have mercy!"