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May - June 2015

SAINTS PETER & PAUL:
EXAMPLES OF RECONCILIATION

The Apostles' Fast is perhaps the least honored fast in the Church year.

Since it seems to rank far behind the fasts marking the Lord's Resurrection, His birth, and the Dormition of His Holy Mother, the meaning of the fast is easily overshadowed (and in some years for those who follow the New Calendar, completely skipped).

What does the memory of the Apostles - Saints Peter and Paul in particular - teach us for our everyday lives? Most of us will never be evangelists to the world at large, nor will we shepherd a large flock, nor will we write holy books.

Yet like so many things in Orthodox life, the teaching of the Church fathers is encapsulated in the icon, where the Apostles are embracing.

Those familiar with the Acts of the Apostles will recall how deeply the Apostles Peter and Paul were divided: divided in purpose, divided in the people to whom they preached, divided at the council of Jerusalem, and (almost certainly) divided over their loss of respect for one another, at least for a time.

The advent of spring and summer is not usually seen as a time of spiritual seriousness - rather, it is often seen as time for a "rest" from Christian life. Yet how can we rest when we are not at peace with our family members, our friends, and with brethren in the Church?

If there is anything we can gain from the Apostles Fast, let us take a lesson from their icon: let us make it our main task to humble ourselves, to forgive our deep disappointments with others, to ask forgiveness of those we have hurt, and to be reconciled in Christian love. What could be a more acceptable fast for the Lord Jesus Christ?

- FrG+

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