In his remarks, following the chanting of the Canon, Archbishop Daniel stated: "Saint Andrew wrote the Canon to challenge the faithful spiritually. For Orthodox Christians, all spiritual exercises are designated to heighten our perception of basic reality: Sin is much more serious than we think, and God's forgiveness is much more vast than we think. Left to ourselves, we go around with Playskool impressions of what is at stake. So the goal of all spiritual disciplines are to cultivate charmolypi--to use a Greek term coined by the 6th century abbot of the monastery on Mt. Sinai, Saint John Climacus (of the Ladder). Charmolypi means the kind of penitence that flips into joyous gratitude, "joy-making sorrow," repentance shot through with gold.
There is a tone of awe and mystery that runs throughout its expression--a sense of seriousness and urgency for the restoration from the Old Adam to the New Adam based on the incarnation. The great Canon provides the faithful with the tools not only to approach God but more importantly, to unite with Him. Its main theme is: repentance, the return from sin or the unity of the cosmos and the human race--as one creation united in love--to its Creator. The great Canon invites the faithful to utilize all aspects of their existence including all their senses to communicate with their Creator, in order to live with Life itself."
Vladyka Daniel further reflected upon the General Themes of the Great Canon
How we should think about ourselves
Where shall I begin to lament the deeds of my wretched life? What first-fruit shall I offer, O Christ, for my present lamentation? But in Thy compassion grant me release from my falls.
Desire to change--dialogue with the my soul
Come, wretched soul, with your flesh, confess to the Creator of All. In the future refrain from your former brutishness, and offer to the Almighty God tears of repentance and contrition.
Recognizing the inevitable Reality
The end is drawing near, my soul, is drawing near! But you neither care nor prepare. The time is growing short. Rise! The Judge is at the very doors. Like a dream, like a flower, the time of this life passes. Why do we bustle about in vain?
How to pray - Laments and Supplications to God
Thou art the Good Shepherd; seek me, Thy lamb, and neglect not me who have gone astray.
Old Testament and New Testament examples of righteousness and unrighteousness, for the purpose of emulation or avoidance.
Do not be a pillar of salt, my soul, by turning back; but let the example of the Sodomites frighten you, and take refuge up in Zoar. (Genesis 19:26)
I have reviewed all the people of the Old Testament as examples for you, my soul. Imitate the God-loving deeds of the righteous and shun the sins of the wicked.
The most important thing to know about the Great Canon
The Great Canon was written by a Saint of the Church to teach himself the orthodox way to live. We cannot benefit from it unless we make it a priority to stand in prayer, in the church, and listen to it, with a great desire and expectation for God's grace to teach us and heal us. Our Orthodox Christian theology is first and foremost--experienced and prayed, and not only "studied."