Den store fasten er en tid som Kirken har satt for omvendelse, bot og ny overgivelse. Hymnene beskriver tiden som en seilas over fastens store hav. Målet for ferden er den strålende Påsken og Kristi herlige oppstandelse. Slik er fasten et bilde på livet. Også livet er en seilas over et stort og fryktinngytende hav som en dag ender i nytt liv og oppstandelse. Fasten og alle gudstjenestene er ikke bare Kirkens medisin til oss det er en gave fra Gud som setter den vanlige tiden til side og opplyser og forklarer livet i sin helhet og fulle dybde. Disse ordene fra fader Alexander Schmemann om forberedelsene til de forutviede gavers liturgi (som kun holdes i Den store fasten) rommer noe av fastens særpregede ånd:
by Fr. Alexander Schmemann
In the light of the approaching encounter with Christ (in the Holy Eucharist), how serious and how grave becomes the day I have to spend in the usual occupations; how the most trivial and insignificant things, which fill my daily existence and to which I am so accustomed that I pay no attention to them, acquire a new significance. Every word I say, every act I perform, every thought passing through my mind becomes important, unique, irreversible, and either each is â€œin lineâ€ with my expectation of Christ or in opposition to it.
During those special days, time itself, which we usually â€œwasteâ€ so easily, is revealed in its true meaning as the time of either salvation or damnation. Our whole life becomes that which it was made by Christâ€™s coming into this world â€“ ascension to Him, or running away from Him into darkness and destruction.
Nowhere indeed is the true meaning of fasting and Lent revealed better or fuller than on the days of the evening Communion â€“ the meaning not only of Lent but of the Church and of Christian life in their totality. In Christ, all of life, all of time, history, the cosmos itself have become expectation, preparation, hope, ascension. Christ has come; the Kingdom is yet to come!
In â€œthis worldâ€ we can only anticipate the glory and joy of the Kingdom, yet as Church we leave this world in spirit and meet at the Lordâ€™s table where in the secret of our heart we contemplate His uncreated light and splendor.