Preparing for the Deep Dive into Lent

Yesterday I posted a photo of a book, and icon I had purchased at church.

I started reading it to see what I needed to do to prepare to read this book for 40 days. The author mentioned that the study in this book could be used as a spiritual retreat. After having only been to Divine Liturgy a few times over the last year, I sure could use a spiritual retreat, or Deep Dive.

Aside from the issues with the virus and my husband being at high risk to catch it, going to church was a bit depressing. Hardly any people were there, the icons were covered,people we grumpy and distant. It has been hard. Try as I might, worshiping at home is just not the same as with the community of believers (Probably why the bible is all about GOING to church to worship.).

My plan is to; attend as many services as possible, read scripture, pray and dig into this book. I know many people do an intensive reading of Psalms at this time but this year, I am going in a bit of a different direction.

I will be giving my home altar a spring cleaning. New candles, new incense… the works.

How are you preparing for Lent?


Real-time confession

New-to-me-iconography in church. Most Holy Theotokos Joy of All Who Sorrow.
The left is an icon of the Prayer of the Optina Elders. The right is a book by Frederica Mathewes-Green

I attended Divine liturgy for the first time in months and did real-time confession for the first time in a year.

As I was driving to church I decided to stay for the whole thing as in; don’t-leave-after-taking-the-Eucharist as I normally would have done in the past. The Bishop sent out an email lifting certain restrictions and I was determined to do everything that had been forbidden in the past year because of Covid. I venerated icons, now with no gold mesh barrier across the bottom. I sang, sans mask, I venerated the cross the priest holds at the end of service.

All in all it was a good morning.

Back to my purchases and the new icons in church.

The top pic shows one of the many new-to-me icons on the walls at church. Most Holy Theotokos Joy of All Who Sorrow is now residing above the full length icon of St. Xenia.

There are a couple more I took pics of but I’m holding onto them for future posts.

Let’s talk about the book; First Fruits of Prayer, a Forty Day Journey Through the Canon of St. Andrew by Frederica Mathewes-Green.

I don’t know much about it!

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I was visiting with the woman who runs the bookstore and she basically thrust it into my hands so I could buy it. That’s pretty much how she recommends books.

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It’s good though. I was looking for something for Lent but it’s kind of like looking in the fridge constantly hoping the thing you want will just manifest.Like maybe on the 100th look inside the refrigerator fairy will give up and turn that moldy lump of cheese into German chocolate cake!

So here I go reading book with the word, canon on the cover and I had no idea what the word canon meant and had to go look it up.

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I KNOW, right?!

So now I have 40… that’s FORTY days of this. Sigh… fine… whatever.

A better pic of the icon from Uncut Mountain Supply.

Prayer of the Optina Elders Plaque – Vertical –(POE10)

That’s my update for now. Church! There you go.