Attitude towards Fasting

(There’s another Fasting Season coming up in just a few weeks – the Apostles’ Fast.)

I believe it’s common to think of “having to” fast at certain times of the week or year when you’re Orthodox. However, before I converted, it came up in conversation with a priest I know, and he made unsolicited reference to the fact that as a non-Orthodox at that time I did not yet have the privilege of observing the Orthodox Fasts!

Fasting is an opportunity to work extra hard on what we’re supposed to be about all the time – collaborating (synergeia) with what God’s doing, His Energies, purifying us of our sinfulness and domination by the passions. I’ve heard the Fasting Seasons compared to sprints, while we jog – Don’t Walk! – normally at other times of the year. A time for focus, not just on food but sins and self-indulgence, prayer, almsgiving, repentance, Confession, extra church services if available, and other means of spiritual growth. All the more so for those of us who, on the advice of our priest or spiritual father/mother, don’t fast from food on account of illness, pregnancy, nursing, extreme youth, or advanced age.

Privilege!

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