First Fruits of Prayer

First Fruits of Prayer: A Forty Day Journey Through the Canon of St. AndrewFirst Fruits of Prayer: A Forty Day Journey Through the Canon of St. Andrew by Frederica Mathewes-Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Praying through the Canon of St. Andrew has been a blessed experience for me during Lent. This tradition of Eastern Orthodox Christianity was new to me. Frederica Matthews-Green’s notes and considerations for each day are an essential guide. Lent is a season of lament for suffering and for sin. This year we live through a climate of worldwide suffering during Lent. Especially in a time like this the confessions of the Canon may seem overdone to many in our Western culture but, for me, they were an encouragement to probe more deeply into the ways that I have fallen short of God’s careful desires for me and in the ways I often care for other people. I think that, without times of some bitter reflection on our own sinfulness, we cheat ourselves out of a deeper understanding of God’s love for us. We have so few occasions to exercise genuine humility because we are so prone to avoid the opportunities for it. In the end though, as Matthews-Green says:

“… And as humility increases, so does joy, because you can let go of false fronts, and know yourself loved exactly the way you are. God will not leave you the way you are; His will is to make you like He is. ‘You, therefore, must be perfect has your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). This is a lifelong journey, but not one you have to make alone. …”

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