It may sound a bit weird for me to say this, but I have so looked forward to the Lady Fast this year. As I’ve already noted, my sense of connection to the Theotokos has grown considerably in my first year plus as an Orthodox. And it was a connection that preceded my becoming Orthodox by some years (about four and a half, actually). So, in approaching this time in which we honor Our Lady’s falling asleep and Christ’s translation of her to heaven, I have been especially mindful of the Lord’s Mother.
In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be reading Holy Apostles Convent and Dormition Skete’s The Life of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos. I actually received it in the mail on the Feast of the Dormition last year (nice serendipity, eh?!–it was the second time that’s happened: I received St. John Maximovitch’s The Orthodox Veneration of Mary, the Birthgiver of God on the Feast of the Annuciation in 2003, less than a year after I’d turned toward Orthodoxy). But I only got into the first few chapters before moving on to other books (like Father Seraphim’s biography, which I read each year near the anniversary of his repose). If I can squeeze in On the Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies and/or Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought, I’ll do so, at least in part. But my focus this Fast is on the heart not on the head.
I also hope to add some additional prayers to my days, definitely would like to pray the Akathist and the Paraklesis, and will continue with the Rosary and Panagias.
And because it is the Fast, in honor of it, the Friday Meditations for today (see below) and next Friday will focus on hymns of the Theotokos.
A blessed Fast to my Orthodox brothers and sisters, and to my fellow Christians under the Bishop of Rome, with whom I share the patronage of St. Benedict (I’m not sure what forms your celebrations take, but I know you’ll celebrate the Feast in two weeks).