“We have entered now upon the beginning of the holy Fast, when every Christian purifies himself by great abstinence.” Second Canon – The Lenten Triodion
Isaiah 58:4 – “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the chords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”
What is the “great abstinence” spoken of by the quote from the Lenten Triodion? It is physical fasting because that is one of the things we are required to do during Lent – fast from meat, dairy and oil. However, the great abstinence is more clearly seen in the quote from Isaiah – abstinence from sin and especially injustice and situations that tie people down. God is especially concerned about justice and this justice is seen in good government which does not oppress people but gives them a fair hearing and equality before the law.
How does this apply to me? I am to seek to be just with the people I deal with on a daily basis. Treating them with fairness and impartiality – this is especially true with students who don’t want to cooperate with “the rules” – they can interfere with the learning of others and I am to step in on behalf of the students who want to learn and make sure that uncooperative students don’t impede learning by others. I have often been guilty of not standing up to students who need to be disciplined – this is a miscarriage of justice. During this fast, help me Father to stand up for the “oppressed” who sometimes are a part of my class.