Cheesefare Saturday: Remembering the Holy Ascetics
he church, in her wisdom continues to prepare us for the fast which begins in 3 days by honoring those in ascetic practice; particularly the mothers and fathers of monasticism. Since these holy ascetics share the same human nature that we have, their example is an encouragement to us as we embark on our own spiritual struggles Their lives are a model for us to follow as we seek to acquire and practice the various virtues and to turn away from everything evil. If we undertake these same struggles of prayer, fasting, and good works, we shall receive from God the same reward they did
In the Vespers Service we rejoice in their struggles and efforts
Come all faithful, let us praise the assemblies of Holy Fathers: Anthony the Great, Euthymius the Great, and all of their company, passing through their lives as through a paradise of sweetness! Let us cry out with joy” These are truly the trees which our God has planted! These are the ripened fruits of eternal life, offered to Christ, Nourishing our souls. Blessed God-bearing fathers, pray that we may be saved…
You preserved the image of God undefiled. By fasting, your minds ruled the passions. You attained to the greatest possible likeness of God, submitting the lower to the higher, making the flesh serve the spirit. THerefore you were shown forth as leaders of monks, dwellers of the desert, the refuge of those who sought God, renowned keepers of the precepts of Christ! Know being free of the veil, in heaven you freely behold the Holy Trinity, earnestly interceding for those who honor you with faith and love.