Question: May I listen to music during the Great Lent? What kind of music is suitable for this season?
Answer: There is hardly any uniformity in approaches to this issue. Every person has his own measure because music plays different roles in the lives of various people. There is music designed solely for entertainment. It makes one cheerful or elated. It is intended to evoke certain feelings or emotions. You should keep away from this kind of music. The Great Lent is the time when an individual must not be distracted or diverted. On the contrary, he must become more focused and concentrated on his life, his relationships with God and his neighbour. So if music serves to entertain, distract, or deafen out serious contemplation, it won't be right. There is music that helps one to feel empathy and other good emotions. It helps a person to concentrate and leads to compassion. This kind of music is acceptable. Again, the Great Lent is the time when we can remain silent to try and hear God's voice inside our hearts.
You should look inside your heart and say what impact this or that music really has on your mood. Does it help you? Does it make you closer to God? Does it bring anything positive into your life: something you need to survive and not to be depressed when struggling with the sin, or is it just a way to have fun and to fill in the empty spaces in your life? Look at its effects: do you gain or lose anything? Do you get closer to God or remain barren? That's what has to be your primary touchstone. YouТve got to weigh in all the outcomes of your actions. For instance, if it is the Holy Week, and you listen to music. Let all human flesh be silent Ч therefore, we ought to keep silent. Elder Silouan used to say that one should fast to such an extent so as to be able to pray after the meal: thatТs how he could identify the proper measure of food. One person can be in mood for prayer even if he eats a lot, while another person can't. That's why it depends on whether you are addicted to music or not. If music is your passion, then you should abstain from it during the Great Lent. You ought to seek the balance you need to remain vigilant and wakeful.
As far as church music is concerned, it is even beneficial. Lenten chants are prayerful and lead us to repentance. It is only natural that we have Lenten concerts where people listen to church music, which is sung in churches during the Great Lent. It is really helpful for the souls that cannot get away from the vanity of this world. I think we should use it.
We’ve got to consider what we can give up for God’s sake. We can’t do much but we can bring to the Lord the small donation of the poor widow.
May our fast consist not only of abstaining from meat and dairy but also from sinful feelings, the vanity and negligence, which assail us not only through food but also through what we see and hear.
Abstinence means vigilance of one’s mind and heart, and then, of course, abstinence from certain kinds of food. For instance, total abstinence is recommended during the First Week of the Lent.