Christ is Risen! Each year after the Paschal Season that extends from the Resurrection Vigil through Pentecost, the Church enters a season that has been nearly forgotten in most circles. In fact it was in Seminary where I first heard of the fast of the Apostles. This period culminates with the liturgy of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29. This mini-lent is an opportunity like the other four Lenten seasons of the year—the one dedicated to the Theotokos (August 1-15), Advent (November 15 until Christmas Day) and Great and Holy Lent (40 days prior to Holy Week)—to commit our lives more fully to Jesus Christ. Similarly each Wednesday and Friday of the calendar year function in this way as an opportunity to focus on Jesus Christ.
Life as we experience it has its starts and stops. There are times where we rest, and times of hard work and growth. Spiritual life is no different, and our spiritual formation must also involve times of more intense spiritual effort in order to grow. The Church has wisely set aside these spiritual workshops throughout the flow of the year and within each week. They are a type of spiritual pilgrimage—an opportunity to go on a journey—but one that moves us closer toward our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In the reading of Pentecost that precedes our entrance into this period we read from John 8.12, “I am the light of the world, He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Notice the action words Jesus uses, such as “follow” and “walk.” This June we have an opportunity to follow Jesus more closely by walking in His light, actively pursuing prayer, fasting, and charity. These pursuits are a loving response to our Lord’s invitation to live in His presence and to share His life with the world.