By St. Theophan the Recluse
The holy forty days of Great Lent have come to an end! Now each of you sit and calculate the result — what was there in the beginning and what is there now? There was buying, so what are the gains? Is there at least a small profit? We have stepped into the arena: so, did we run, and having run, did we achieve what we expected? A struggle was announced: so, did we arm ourselves, did we fight, and having fought did we fall, or conquer? Attentive and vigilant fasters, having laboured with contrite and humbled hearts, upon looking back cannot but rejoice. However, for us, careless and flesh-pleasing, concerned only with fleshly comforts and things that please us, there is always only shame. But even this is lacking. Some take a beating but feel no pain, because they have a copper forehead and an iron neck.