The International Orthodox Christian News website reports today that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew issued a homily on February 14, 2010, offering spiritual guidance for Great Lent.
In his homily, the Ecumenical Patriarch states, "Fasting, abstinence, frugality, restriction of personal desires, intense prayer, confession, and similar ascetic elements are essential to the period of Great Lent and should not be considered burdensome obligations or unbearable duties that result in despondency or dejection."
The Patriarch's homily continues, "It is a sacred time of divine grace, which seeks to detach us from things material, lowly and corrupt in order to attract us toward things superior, wholesome, and spiritual."
Finally, Patriarch Bartholomew's homily concludes, "Great Lent instructs us to journey daily with a little less, without the arrogance of extravagance, waste, and display. It encourages us to surrender all forms of greed and ignore the challenges of commercial advertising, which constantly promotes new and false necessities. It emphasizes the need to seek God's assistance and mercy, placing our complete trust in His affectionate providence."