The human norm is to gain pleasure and avoid pain; however, as intellectual beings who have a call to joy that goes beyond the bodily pleasures, it is often the case that to reach this joy we first must experience pain. For example, in any relationship that will survive and flourish, both parties must sacrifice things they are attached to for the sake of the other party. Without this self-sacrifice, every relationship would end in failure. Here, the fruit of our pain is the joy of love. When a soldier is preparing for a war, he must prepare his body and his mind for a seemingly impossible task, and so he must deny himself many good things to keep him from being too comfortable.
In a world then that has denied God what is properly due to Him, our call to reestablish a right worship of God in our society, a worship which is the foundation of our relationship with God, a great deal of self-sacrifice is in order. Lent, for the Chaldean Church, is meant not only to commemorate Jesus’ spiritual warfare with the devil and his temptations in the wilderness after his baptism, but also for us to go into the wilderness with our Lord to build the strength to fight with Him against the Evil One.
Like any soldier going into war, we sharpen our swords and technique, we build our strength and stamina, we better ourselves to fight evil, in ourselves and around us. By fasting we build this strength, for in fasting, we deny ourselves our most immediate pleasures that a greater good may come. Prayer naturally accompanies fasting; thus, we beseech the Lord to be present with us and to bring us into a deeper prayer life with Him.
It takes soldiers to win a war. Our war is against the evil in ourselves and in the world – in both, we must strengthen the presence of God. During this Lenten season, let us ask the angels to be among us to support and strengthen us, just as they ministered to the Lord (Mathew 4:11).