Life is a journey.  Our journey, of course, began at our birth. Like every other journey, one day ours will come to an end and, like our birth, we won’t have a choice about that either.  What matters the most is not the beginning or even the end of our journey, but what happens in between. 

Throughout our life’s journey, we will encounter many forks in the road.  When presented with a choice, it might be tempting to take what looks like the most pleasing or easiest way. At times we may follow the more enticing road only to find that we have made a mistake, only to find that the direction we have chosen is not leading us where we hoped it would. To seek what we are looking for we might turn to education or our focus may be on acquiring wealth or we may strive for social standing.  We may turn to entertainment or the latest self-help fads to ease the discomfort and pain that at times may accompany the direction in life that we choose.  Although all these may be good choices, some may even have a place in our lives, by themselves these choices do not have the power to place us on the right road. 

To find the right road in life we first need to remember why we chose the wrong road in the first place. It’s very simple; sin has put us on the wrong path.  This is why education, money, success and social standing (to just name a few) will not place us on the right path.  Our need is not economic, intellectual or political, rather it is spiritual.  Until we come to this realization we will never find the right road. Our Orthodox faith teaches us that our greatest need in life is to have our sins forgiven, to grow in our sainthood.  Only this choice will place us on the right path. 

The Liturgical life of the Orthodox Church helps to point us in this direction.  It is through the Liturgical life of the Church that our sins are forgiven and our spiritual growth occurs.  One of the greatest opportunities to experience this forgiveness and spiritual growth is through the beautiful journey we call Great Lent.  The main book used by the Church throughout the Great and Holy Lenten Period is called the Triodion.  You can think of the Triodion as a spiritual map which can help place us on the right path.  It is called the Triodion (The Book of Three Odes) because throughout the weekdays of Great Lent, there are three odes chanted in the service of Matins instead of the usual eight. An ode is simply a series of biblically-based hymns.  The theme of these hymns, and by extension that of the Triodion, is repentance.  Reading the Triodion gives meaning to the sustained ascetic discipline of prayer, fasting and almsgiving that we are called to throughout Great Lent.  Therefore understanding the Triodion guides us in our spiritual growth by leading us to repentance and forgiveness.

All of us are invited by our Lord to walk that right road in life.  Straying from it is easy.  Jesus Himself said “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13)  And yet, our Lord reminds us “Ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)  If we choose to let the Triodion guide us in our Lenten journey, we will find ourselves walking, to an even greater degree, that right road.  We will find the way into the loving, forgiving arms of our Lord leading us to a renewed sense of hope for the future and rest for our souls both now and in the eternal life we have with Jesus. 

One day our journey will come to an end.  Since no one knows when that time will come, now is the time to accept the invitation of Great Lent.  Now is the time to accept the invitation of the Triodion so that we may find ourselves back on that right road on this Journey of Life.