The season of Great Lent is a time of purification and joy, which enables Orthodox Christians to renew their devotion through prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and repentance. As we navigate this year’s pandemic crisis, we have a unique opportunity to find strength in the traditions that remain consistent in times of uncertainty and change. While this crisis has forced us to slow down and “social distance,” it has also made us more aware of the heroism of people keeping us safe and healthy as they work quietly behind the scenes- from medical workers and mental health practitioners to restaurant owners and grocery clerks.
We find a precedent in St Joseph of Arimathea. He was a secret disciple of Christ who had the courage to approach Pilate to ask for Christ’s body so it could be removed from the Cross and receive a proper burial. His request was granted and Joseph placed Christ’s body in an unused tomb on his property in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here, St Joseph and St Nicodemus wrapped the body in fine linen in the presence of Mary and the Myrrh bearing women. Through his devotion to a purpose greater than himself, St Joseph worked quietly to honor Christ.
In the spirit of St Joseph of Arimathea, each one of us can practice our devotion through quiet prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and repentance as we prepare for the Feast of the Resurrection of Christ!