The Lord my Creator took me as dust from the earth and formed me into a living creature, breathing into me the breath of life and giving me a living soul; He honoured me, setting me as ruler upon earth over all things visible, and making me companion of the angels. But Satan, the deceiver, using the serpent as his instrument, enticed me by food; he parted me from the glory of God and gave me over to the earth and to the lowest depths of death. But, Master, in compassion call me back again. (Vespers for Forgiveness Sunday, 168)

One of the primary images in the Triodion is that of the return to Paradise. Lent is a time when we weep with Adam and Eve before the closed gate of Eden, repenting with them for the sins that have deprived us of our free communion with God. Lent is also a time when we are preparing to celebrate the saving even of Christ’s death and rising, which has reopened Paradise to us once more (Luke 23:43) So sorrow for our exile in sin is tempered by the hope of our re-entry into Paradise …

Note that the Triodion speaks here not of ‘Adam’ but of ‘me’ : ‘May He open unto me the gates which I closed’. Here, as throughout the Triodion, the events of sacred history are not treated as happenings in the distant past or future, but as experiences undergone by me now within the dimensions of sacred time. (46)

Archimandrite Kallistos Ware, “The Meaning of the Great Fast” in Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware, The Lenten Triodion (Faber & Faber, 1978).

 

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