Metr. Serafim at the beginning of Great Lent: Only by fasting does our hunger for God grow in us, and prayer enters the heart more easily

In his pastoral message addressed on the Sunday of Adam’s Expulsion from Paradise and the beginning of Great Lent, His Eminence Metropolitan Serafim of Germany urges faithful to observe the fast because only ‘thus does our hunger for God grow in us, and prayer enters the heart more easily.’

Reflecting on the Sunday gospel reading, Metropolitan Serafim points out the forgiveness of our neighbour, the way we should fast and the freedom the heart has towards material goods.

The Romanian Metropolitan of Germany cautions that in order to receive God’s forgiveness we must first forgive those who have wronged us, adding that ‘unforgiveness can easily lead us to quarrels and conflicts and even wars.’

‘All misunderstandings between people are born out of lack of love and forgiveness. We do not truly love if we are incapable of forgiving. Only he who forgives, proves that he loves. The remembrance of evil has negative consequences on the spiritual and physical health,’ His Eminence says.

Metropolitan Serafim notes that although fasting is a general practice in all religions, ‘only Christianity provides the true meaning of fasting.’ Thus, ‘only by fasting does our hunger for God grow in us, and prayer enters the heart more easily.’ We acquire ‘a compassionate, sensitive heart towards the needs of others,’ since ‘fast is ordained by God not for the killing of the flesh, but for overcoming the passions that kill our flesh.’

In his pastoral message, HE Metropolitan Serafim refers to material goods and the state of happiness. ‘Many think that happiness lies in having a lot of money, hoses and beautiful cars. That is why they are in a permanent pursuit to gather as much as possible and they have no time to enjoy their effort. It happens that many have everything, but they have no family understanding or they cannot be glad about their children.’

Happiness stands in the ‘spiritual detachment’ of money and material goods. ‘The more spiritually free we are to material goods and seek God, the more we can enjoy life, family, children and our fellows. The secret of happiness is precisely to give others that what we have.’

The metropolitan stresses that fasting and prayer our heart opens ‘to our fellows in need.’

He also urges the communities of the Romanian Metropolis of Germany, Central and Northern Europe to support their fellow Romanians in difficulty, because this is a duty of faith and conscience.

Ending his pastoral message, Metropolitan Serafim recommends the daily reading of the Psalter during the Great Lent.

Photo courtesy of the Archive

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