– During Great Lent, people do not read akathists, but there are the days of commemoration of the holy icons of the Theotokos. And I would very much like to glorify Her by reading the akathists.
– Well, you can go home, close the door and glorify as much as you wish. I think, God will not punish you. I try to find out, why we cannot read akathists during Great Lent. They say there is the word “rejoice, rejoice” there, but we should shed our tears in the time of Lent. Our tears are sometimes of the Pharisees. Alright, today we have Lent and we will cry. You know, tears should come naturally. When you repent sincerely, you may even cry at the Paschal service, and you cannot help it.
Joy should be natural too. It does not work in compliance with a schedule. For example, you have met God at the Liturgy today, and your heart is jubilant, and no Church canon or rule will make you stop being happy, as you have natural joy and tears. It is bad when we make a kind of rehearsal out of this, or try to have it according to a schedule. All of this resembles, to some, Orthodox theater. You better not make any plans, but live and pray attentively and be with God. In this case, we will have a state, which combines two opposite things, a grief and a joy. This means we are always grieving over the contrast between God and us, as we see ourselves before God in our attentive prayer. We are so far from Him, but He loves us so much and we do not love Him the same way. That is why we grieve. At the same time, we clearly see and perceive that He loves us no matter what, and does not turn away from us. At that moment, our grief transforms into our joy, and these two states become one.
Archpriest Sergiy Baranov