Week Before Forgiveness Sunday
February 20-26, 2016
Joel 2:12-14 - “Yet even now," declares the LORD your God, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God? (ESV - Reading for the Sixth Hour on Wednesday)
Come Home to the Lord! - Do not fear the incision in which you rend your heart, brother. David bore it. He lay in filthy ashes and had his appearance disfigured by a covering of rough sackcloth. He who had once been accustomed to precious stones and to the purple clothed his soul in fasting. He whom the seas, the forests, the rivers used to serve, and to whom the bountiful land promised wealth, now consumed in floods of tears those eyes with which he had beheld the glory of God. This ancestor of Mary, the ruler of the Jewish kingdom, confessed that he was unhappy and wretched. (Pacian of Barcelona)
The icon is a detail of the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. This past Sunday was Meat-Fare Sunday which is, by custom the last day we eat meat until Pascha (Easter Sunday). This current week is known as Cheese-Fare Week, which is the last week during which we eat dairy products before the Holy Forty Days Fast which begins after Vespers on Sunday, February 26th.