Elias Bejjani: “Fasting is prayer, contemplation, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation with God


Fasting is prayer, contemplation, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation with God
Elias Bejjani/February 10/2024  

Click Here to read the contemplations in Arabic اضغط هنا لقراءة التأملات باللغة العربية

Lent (Fasting) period starts with the Cana Holy Wedding Miracle and ends with the Holy Easter Day. Lent in the Maronite Church rite starts on the ASH Monday. The Sunday that comes before the beginning of the lent period is called Al-Marfah Sunday (أحد المرفع) or forgiveness Sunday (أحد الغفران).

Lent in principle is a Holy period that is ought to be utilized with God in genuine contemplation, self humility, repentance, penances, forgiveness, praying and conciliation with self and others. Lent is a privileged time of interior pilgrimage towards Jesus Who is the fountain of all love, forgiveness and mercy. Lent is a pilgrimage in which Jesus Himself accompanies us through the desert of our poverty while sustaining us on our way towards the intense joy of Easter.

The lent period is a spiritual battle that we chose to fight our own selves and all its bodily and earthly instinctual pleasures in a bid to abstain from all acts and thoughts of sin.

Lent is ought to strengthen our hope and faith in a bid to fight Satan and to keep away from his ways of sin and despair. Praying and contemplation teaches us that Almighty God is there to guard us and to lead our steps during the entire Lenten period.

When we fast and pray, we find time for God, to understand that his words will not pass away.
Through fasting and praying we can enter into that intimate communion with Jesus so that no one shall take from us the faith and hope that does not disappoint.

Fasting is a battle of spiritual engagement through which we seek to imitate Jesus Christ who fought Satan’s temptations while fasting in the wilderness. He triumphed over Satan, and we faithfully endeavour during the Lent period to tame and defeat our earthly instincts and make our hearts, conscience and thinking pure, immaculate and pious.

We fast and trust that the Lord is our loving Shepherd.
“Psalm 23:04: Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me; your rod and staff comfort me.”

Reading the Holy Bible and praying offers us God’s Word with particular abundance and empowers our souls and minds with His Word.
Mark 13:31: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”

By meditating and internalizing the Word Of God we learn precious and irreplaceable forms of prayer.
By attentively listening to God, who continues to speak to our hearts, we nourish the itinerary of faith initiated on the day of our Baptism.

Prayers and fasting allow us to gain a new concept of time and directs our steps towards horizons of hope and joy that have no limits.

NB: This piece was first published in 2011

The author is a Lebanese expatriate activist
Author’s Email: Phoenicia@hotmail.com
Author’s Website: http://www.eliasbejjaninews.com

Elias Bejjani
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
Email phoenicia@hotmail.com & media.lccc@gmail.com

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Church Readings On Al-Marfah and Cana Wedding Miracle Sunday
Cana Wedding Miracle
John 02/01-11: The third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. Jesus also was invited, with his disciples, to the marriage. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.” Now there were six water pots of stone set there after the Jews’ way of purifying, containing two or three metretes apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” They filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the ruler of the feast.” So they took it. When the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and didn’t know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have drunk freely, then that which is worse. You have kept the good wine until now!” This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Tear your heart, and not your garments
Joel/02/13-18: Tear your heart, and not your garments, and turn to Yahweh, your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, even a meal offering and a drink offering to Yahweh, your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion! Sanctify a fast. Call a solemn assembly. Gather the people. Sanctify the assembly. Assemble the elders. Gather the children, and those who nurse from breasts. Let the bridegroom go forth from his room, and the bride out of her room. Let the priests, the ministers of Yahweh, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, “Spare your people, Yahweh, and don’t give your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” Then Yahweh was jealous for his land, And had pity on his people.

Judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother’s way, or an occasion for falling.
Paul’s Letter to the Romans/14/13-18: Therefore let’s not judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother’s way, or an occasion for falling. I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself; except that to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if because of food your brother is grieved, you walk no longer in love. Don’t destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Then don’t let your good be slandered, for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.