Clean Monday: Let Us Begin the Journey

“The sun hid its rays, the moon and stars were turned to blood, the mountains were afraid, the hills trembled, when Paradise was shut. Adam departed, beating his hands upon his face and saying: ‘I am fallen: merciful Lord, have mercy on me.” -Vesper service of Forgiveness Sunday

As we begin our journey toward Pascha, the Feast of Feasts, I humbly implore your forgiveness for anything I may have done through word or action to offend you.

Today, on Clean Monday (Kathadi Deftera), we mourn and remember Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Paradise. In some customs, no food or drink are eaten until sundown and prayer rules are doubled.   Clean Monday marks the first day of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church. In many cultures it is a time for celebration. In many places it is customary for people to fly kites and attend festivals. Church tradition, however, tells us that after Holy Friday, Clean Monday is the most sorrowful day of the Ecclesiastical year. It is the day of Adam and Eve’s exile from Paradise, and thus a day for quiet contemplation of Paradise lost and prayer.  It is when man was sentenced to death and the doors of Paradise were shut.

“Adam was cast out of Paradise through eating from the tree. Seated before the gates he wept, lamenting with a pitiful voice and saying: ‘Woe is me, what have I suffered in my misery! I transgressed one commandment of the Master, and now I am deprived of every blessing. O most holy, Paradise, planted for my sake and shut because of Eve, pray to Him that made thee and fashioned me, that once more I may take pleasure in thy flowers.’ Then the Savior said to him: ‘I desire not the loss of the creature which I fashioned, but that he should be saved and come to knowledge of the truth; and when he comes to me I will not cast him out.’”

-The Lenten Triodion, Vespers of Forgiveness Sunday

garden_of_eden

Let us guard the doors of our soul with prayer and fasting during this lenten season. Let us remember that Adam was cast out by ‘transgressing one commandment’. He, in a sense, broke his fast. During our fast, may we be strong where he was weak and let us find that strength in the promise He made us, for he will not cast out he who comes to Him.

Have a blessed Lent. Kali Dynami!!

from the archives of Adventures of an Orthodox Mom

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