Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Season of Repentance (Holy Trinity Publications)

Before the season of Great Lent begins in the Orthodox Church, it is preceded by five Sundays. They are Zacchaeus Sunday, the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, Meatfare Sunday (or Judgment Sunday), and Cheesefare Sunday (or Forgiveness Sunday). After Forgiveness Sunday (which is this coming February 22nd), Great Lent has officially begun. If you are Orthodox and still looking for what to read this Lent, then I recommend you the book Season of Repentance: Lenten Homilies of Saint John of Kronstadt. For those unfamiliar with who Saint John of Kronstadt is, he was a presbyter of the Russian Orthodox Church, and one of the most influential Russian saints leading up to the Bolshevik Revolution.

The book, Season of Repentance, begins with homilies for the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible, and unfortunately the Roman Catholic Church only reads it in Church once every three years. In the first homily for this Sunday, he discusses how publicans and Pharisees still figuratively exist in today's day and age. He explains how pride and self-praise coupled with humiliation of others is a disease of the soul. In the second homily for this Sunday, he talks about not judging others sins, because we have our own sins. He also mentions that every time we do a good deed that we should forget it, because as the Bible says, "We have done what was our duty to do." These excerpts/summaries are just the tip of the iceberg with this book.

Most of the Sundays during and before Great Lent have several homilies associated with them, except for the Third Sunday which has one homily and the Sixth Sunday which does not have a homily at all. You can choose to read all of them for that particular Sunday or just read one a year and visit the other homilies the following years. There are also homilies associated with Great Monday, Great Wednesday, and Great and Holy Friday. There is also an epilogue or bonus homily for Thomas Sunday. My only wish for this book is that there were homilies for Palm Sunday and Pascha to accompany these great Lenten homilies. That small wish aside, these are great homilies filled with Scripture and practical advice that still applies one hundred years later. If you are looking for something to read this Great Lent, then pick up a copy of Season of Repentance.

This book was provided to me for free by Holy Trinity Publications in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!