Monday, February 12, 2018

"To heal the great wounds of our soul"

Today in the Byzantine Church is the first day of the Great Fast (Lent). Below is the ambon prayer from the Divine Liturgy on Cheesefare Sunday (the day before the fast begins). It is a beautiful prayer asking for God's grace as we begin this time of time of intensified prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

"We thank you, O Lord Jesus Christ, that you have brought us to this opportune time of fasting towards salvation, for in this short time you have arranged to heal the great wounds of our soul, and to bring about the rejection of our many sins. Good Master, we pray you, remove from us any pharisaical hypocrisy in fasting, and banish all false sorrow. Drive from us all pride in our self-denial and moderation in deeds, words or thoughts. Fill us with light and the truth which you have taught. Strengthen us in the struggle against passions and in the war against sin. By alienation from passions prepare us to follow you by our fasting. Show us victory over the devil, that we may partake of your death and resurrection, and rejoice in the joy which you have prepared for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. For you are the God of mercy, and glory is yours, together with the Father and the Son and your all-holy, good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen."

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Video of Sister Petra's Tonsure

As we shared in our last post, the newest member of our community was tonsured as a rasophore nun on Feb. 1. This video includes the blessing of the habit, the giving of Sr. Petra's new name, her tonsure and a beautiful homily by Bishop Milan.

Bishop Milan’s said, while speaking about Sr. Petra's patron, St. Peter:
“Jesus, again today, through this liturgical celebration, invites you also, and again repeats, ‘Follow Me. Follow Me in your life! Are you prepared to follow me with all? With all sacrifice? Again, with all renouncement of this world? Or no?’ Each of us needs to give the answer to Jesus Christ, as today Sr. Petra gave this answer here.”

Saturday, February 3, 2018

God grant you many years Sr. Petra!

Sr. Petra in center
On Feb. 1, during Vespers for the feast of the Meeting of Our Lord with Simeon and Anna, dokimos (postulant) Sara Lynn Gafford was tonsured as a rasophore ("robe-bearer") nun, receiving the habit and a new name: Sr. Petra. She is named after the apostle Peter. She was tonsured (four small segments of her hair were cut, in the sign of the cross) by Bishop Milan Lach, our apostolic administrator. Our founding bishop and bishop emeritus of our eparchy, Bishop John Kudrick, was also present. The tonsure took place at St. Stephen Byzantine Catholic Church in Euclid, Ohio.

We look forward to sharing more about the tonsure in the near future, including photos and Sr. Petra's reflection on her name. Please keep Sr. Petra in your prayers as she grows in the monastic life and continues her discernment (3-4 years leading to life profession).