On Sunday, March 10, following the Divine Liturgy, we had the beautiful and grace-filled Rite of Forgiveness before entering into the Holy Forty Days of the Great Fast. During this solemn ritual we ask and receive forgiveness from each other and the Lord, who says, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours.” (Matthew 6:14)
We also asked the Lord's blessing at the beginning of the Great Lent with the following prayer:
0 God, Thou hope of all the ends of the earth and of them that be far out upon the sea and in the air, Who hast prescribed these days of fasting through the Law, the prophets and the evangelists: grant all of us to pass the course of the Fast in purity, to preserve the Faith inviolate, and to keep Thy commandments all the days of our lives. Command an angel of peace to guard our goings out and our comings in unto every good work, that, being obedient and pleasing unto Thee, we may receive the perfect communion of Thine all pure Mysteries. Accept, 0 Master, the prostrations and fasting of Thy servants, granting to them and all of us blessing of soul, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with Whom Thou art blessed, with Thine all holy, good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.