Fasting crisisWhy we do not fast? Internet resistanceWhat is fasting and why is it needed? Gastronomic question Proper nutrition for the Christmas fast
Why not fast?
Increasingly, we hear from friends that they do not understand why it is necessary to observe the many-day fasting established by the Church. Increasingly, I notice that my friends, who have spent more than a dozen years in the Church, do not keep the post “according to the Typicon”. These are people who regularly pray and start sacraments, read books about faith and try to live in accordance with their faith – in short, parishioners, not congregants. And some of them no longer see the point in not eating meat and milk for forty days.
The reason is clear. Having scrupulously staying a dozen or two years, people begin to notice: consuming or not consuming this or that type of product does not bring them closer to God (in fact, the thought is not new, the apostle Paul spoke about this in the 8th chapter of the Corinthians). And the benefits of “in itself” discipline are becoming less and less obvious.
During the post on the Internet you can meet quite a lot of thoughts on this topic. One person during Petrov's post rested with his family in Montenegro, ate mostly in cafes. It was easy to fast – it was always possible to order seafood dishes. That's just the cost of such a dinner was 20-30% higher than the restless meat. The family could afford it, but … is it right to spend more on fasting food than on fast food? And in general – the words “rest” and “fasting” (if we take it in the biblical sense) are poorly compatible with each other.
And once I met a wonderful recipe for “eating out” food: if you give half of the dish to the needy, the second half automatically becomes lean.
In a word, it becomes obvious that the model of the post, created in the monasteries of Byzantium, is not always suitable for the inhabitants of the 21st century megalopolis.
What is a post and why is it needed?
Let's try to figure out what the post should be. If we turn to Scripture, we see that fasting is intended to strengthen communication with God, to strengthen prayer. This is a special time (from the day – to infinity), which I dedicate to getting closer to God.
How is this proximity achieved? During the post an audit is conducted, a review of my daily life. Fasting is a general cleaning. Everything that has become too heavy, that pulls the soul to the ground, that prevents meeting with God – flies into the trash. Further mechanism is as follows:
1) As a result of this restructuring, the outer side of life inevitably becomes less comfortable (“Leave the comfort zone” is a popular topic in modern psychology and career development books). It is necessary to "shake" your cozy little world.
2) Concentration of oneself in external habits leads to a collision with its internal imperfections. I see my weaknesses and imperfections.
3) By bringing the found imperfections to God, I get a chance for repentance – “a change of mind.” I get to know myself better, and that means I can speak more directly with God – after all, in order to start a dialogue, you must first understand who is entering into this dialogue from my side.
For example, at the time of the post, I refuse to nightly kinoshki or series. Now, coming home in the evening, I don’t load my head with a stream of incoming “light” information. Due to this, I manage to notice my bad mood, fatigue, irritation at my close ones. To realize and experience these states is difficult and disgusting. But paying attention to them, I see and understand my soul better. Now I recognized myself a little better, became a little more real – it means that I can talk more directly with God.
What is the place in all this food? For me, protein foods and sweets are a powerful way to cope with mental disorder, to put it simply, “seize”. Thus, abstinence from this food can become the same tool of "swinging".
However, it remains unclear here. Around me are real people. Suppose, at the time of fasting, I cease to calm myself with external stimulants. Inevitably after that, living with me becomes harder. Do I have the right to jeopardize my loved ones (including children) for the sake of my hypothetical spiritual growth?
I would be glad if you share your opinion on the blog!
Proper nutrition for Christmas Lent
During the post it seems to me very important to move from a negative program – what we do NOT do, do NOT eat, do NOT read, – to a positive program – what we do. A word to the editor of the biblical section Tatyana Zaitseva – she has a great suggestion.
“I, like Matthew, have friends who don’t see much sense in long posts (after all, we have a lot of friends in common). Sometimes even posts, especially Petrov and Ouspensky, have me. But here I am very fond of the Christmas fast, because this fast is not only cleansing. This is our preparation and waiting for the coming of Christ into the world. This journey is 40 days long with the sorcerers, who went to worship the newborn Messiah and bore Him gifts. This is precisely the meaning of the Christmas Fast – to prepare for the coming of Christ and bring Him gifts in the form of good deeds – because what we do for one of these little ones, we will do to Him. If you keep this in mind all the time and not just serve your duty, but look ahead, strive for Christmas, the post makes sense.
But it is difficult for 40 days to keep yourself in good shape. Therefore, in this post, together with Vladimir Strelov, the rector of the bible college “Heritage”, we will make a special Christmas newsletter, which will remind the subscribers about what we are moving to. Each letter will contain a passage from Scripture, a commentary to it, questions for reflection, references to patristic interpretations – as well as ideas of what kind of good deeds you can bring to Christ. Everyone can choose a "gift" to taste.
The biblical passages will remind you of the birth of Christ and the meaning of His coming into the world. Among them will be the Old Testament prophecies of Christ, the Gospel story of Christmas, understanding of these events in the apostolic epistles – in short, a brief history of our salvation in 20 letters. We start this Friday, November 28, with the creation of the world.
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