Tewahdo Orthodox Spiritual Journey
From Fast of Nineveh to Good Friday
Deacon Medhanie Haile
“Behold! The time for fasting has arrived
Awaken your hearts and be vigilant for your prayer;
Beloved brethren! Let us not relinquish fasting for fasting has a great benefit in it.
Fasting heals the wound of the soul and blocks all the lust of the flesh
And it cleanses the stain of sin
It brings forth peace; it endowed righteousness
It teaches meekness to the young”
[St. Yared Tsom Diggua]
In our church, each Sunday of the Great Lent carries a spiritual theme, which helps us to engage in spiritual dialogue with God through the incarnate, crucified, and risen Christ. Hopefully, this will be an introductory explanation of how we can benefit the blessing of the Great Lent through studying, knowing, understanding, and applying the reading of the Great Lent through the eyes of the Holy Church. This is an overview explanation of each week’s theme of Great Lent with an invitation for repentance and coming back to God; and sharing our Lord’s Passion to celebrate the resurrection of the Living Christ. The book also contains a treasure of sayings of many Church fathers to highlight and enrich our understanding of each week’s theme.
A Christian cannot claim a fully mature Christian life if he or she overlooks fasting. Our Lord and God taught us that it would be impossible for us to carry His cross, get through the temptation of the devil, the order of the world, and the challenge of sin without fasting. The temptation of the Lord Jesus occupies a significant role in our salvation since it is part and parcel of God’s work in salvation. Fasting is a necessary tool or means of Christian life/skill that leads to the way of life and salvation. "Every struggle against sin and desire should be started by fasting, particularly if the struggle is against an inner sin," St. Mar Isaac.
Temptation comes from the devil. He is always the tempter, accuser, and a liar……God does not tempt us. Never. ….The devil temptations are intended to entice us, aiming in our destruction. In contrast, the trial of God in our lives are designed to test and show us where we are weak and need to become stronger in having a lifelong relationship with Him.
….the Call for Holiness and perfection is a call of love. "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. [1 Jn 4:10]….."He did not chase the sellers or the moneychangers but only the cattle, sheep and pigeons. Our Lord overturned the money and the tables. He came not to judge but to purify and sanctify. He came to mend the corrupt. In His eyes, one soul is more precious than all these animals and gold and money"…There is only one Church, and outside its bounds, salvation is impossible: "Extra ecclesiam nulla salus – outside the Church there is no salvation" (St. Cyprian: 'On the Unity of the Catholic Church'). As a matter of fact, you are not safe from evil spirits if you take refuge in just spirit and become "spiritual." The evilest and dangerous being is a pure spirit, he is called the Devil…..
Metsague/ The paralytic man is not just simply about his sin, but most importantly it is about the Lord Jesus Christ, who is extremely merciful, philanthropic [Lover of mankind], and entirely good who cries out with invitation for the life of repentance with Him, ….The coming of the angel from heaven to stirred up the water indicate the incarnation of the Word of God who descended from heaven and took the flesh and soul from St. Mary to save us.
..We learn from the parable of the Virgins that we cannot borrow our relationship with Christ from other people. It must be genuine. We need our authentic relationship with Christ in confession, repentance, and ultimately in taking the Holy Communion….
…We are so precious to God that He will never let us go without fighting, be it in storm, sickness, or discontent, to bring us to Him. But He is also JUST to judge us on our response to His love, sacrifice, call, and graceful mercy. Now, the question is, can a believer lose his salvation? Can a believer like me perish? …
"O good and faithful servant, You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things; enter into the joy of your Lord, His Sabbath of Sabbath"!"…“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turns or without the signpost”….
Our Lord saw a hardening of a heart instead of repentance; instead of conversion, apostasy. He had sorrow over the lost men. … “Our Savior has not ceased to weep up till now through His elict when He sees a person leaving his good and righteous life and going the malicious way!”
On Wednesday of Passion Week, we see the course of the devil's spite and the result of his cunning plans against Christ. …we read the extreme love of Mary of Bethany and also witness the betrayal of one of Christ's disciples….Why did Satan rather not enter blessed Peter, James or John, or some other of the rest of the apostles?..
The first Adam found comfort and happiness at the Garden of Eden, but Gethsemane had Christ, the second Adam, where He found nothing but sorrow and grief. Eden saw the beginning of the sinful of man while Gethsemane saw the beginning of humankind's salvation….The Mother of God seeing her own Lamb led to the slaughter cried and said, “..why has the worse counsel prevailed? Why have they lay a hand on Thee unjustly? ….Then they put a crown of thorn on His head ….the symbolism,…. Jesus allowed a crown of thorn to be put in His head as a sign that He was taking into Himself all the thorns that man endured during his life away from Him. Then they pierced and drove huge nails into His hands and leg using a heavy hammer. It is beyond imagination to think how much suffering He endured at those moments ….what has He done to you, and what have you rewarded Him? Instead of manna [Ex 16:4-21], gall and in place of water [Ex17:5], vinegar, and instead of loving Christ, you nail Him at the Cross…Five Nails of the Cross. 1. ሳዶር Sador 2. አላዶር Alador 3. ዳናትDanat 4. አዴራ Adiera 5. ሮዳስ Rodas. -. At the 9th Hour (the Hour of Christ’s death), (while pulling at the censer), the three priests sing in turn: «He tasted death in His Flesh,» three times and faithful will repeat it and prostate.
….He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, upon Him was the punishment that made us whole, and by His stripes we are healed”… and More ……