Sincere repentance before the Lord for one’s sins, repentance as changing one’s thoughts, feelings and life, constitutes the core and true meaning of fasting, said His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia after celebrating the Divine Liturgy at St. Alexander Nevsky Monastery on March 7, 2021, Meatfare Sunday and Sunday of the Last Judgment.
“Why exactly do we remember the Judgment of God today? It is because we are standing before the Holy Lent – the Great Lent. And the memory of the Judgment suggests that nothing will be hidden from what we have done before God and there is only one opportunity to receive the mercy of God on us and ask Him for the forgiveness of our sins, which is obtained through one’s sincere repentance before God. Indeed, repentance is the core and the true meaning of fasting: sincere repentance to the Lord for our sins, repentance as changing our thoughts, feelings, and our life,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said in his sermon.
“We do not know when the Lord will reveal His final Judgment to the entire human race. Some people are very concerned about the Second Coming, and pastors often have to answer questions from believers who ask them about the Last Judgment with great interest and concern. And my answer to all those who ask questions on this topic would be this: each of us will be judged by God, and before this judgment, each of us has less and less time, because personal judgment over us will be completed after our heart stops beating. The Second Coming – eschatological and all-embracing – will be manifested to all human generations and the entire universe. In our personal life, it will be interrupted by a simple, yet very special act of our death, because after death we will appear before the face of God. This will be our Judgment, and in order for us to have the hope of salvation, of receiving the mercy of God, there is no other way than to find strength in ourselves and truly repent before God,” the Patriarch stressed.
“That is why fasting is granted to us as a time of repentance and prayer, because without prayer there can be no repentance. And through repentance and prayer, we are able to receive the mercy of God and to change ourselves, that is, repent genuinely. May the Lord help us to strengthen ourselves by the thoughts that we have had today through the Gospel reading, through prayers, through the Divine service, and, keeping these thoughts, without wasting them, to worthily enter the field of Great Lent. Amen,” concluded His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.