How to fast

There are different degrees of fasting that have been passed down to us . Remember these are not laws or rules that we are to blindly follow but are proven practices that can help us come closer to God. Orthodoxy is not legalistic or rule oriented. The rules or guidelines that have been established for us are there for our spiritual benefit. We have to use them with the appropriate attitude to receive the benefit. In this matter be sure to follow the guidance of your spiritual father. We must beware of putting too much attention on the physical aspects before we have matured in our inner work because this can lead us to thinking that we do all the work and then forget that is the grace of God that we are trying to come in union with and to follow. We can become proud of our physical achievements and lose our contact with God because of our sinfulness aamd self-centeredness. Fasting is not a contest but it is an important self-discipline that will help us come closer to God when practiced with the proper attitude.

Levels of Fasting
The most strict way of fasting to to abstain from all food. The next level is to abstain from all animal products such as meat and dairy products along with oil and wine. Then the next level is to allow wine and oil. Then to allow fish. The most common fast today is to abstain from the eating of meat. But this is not what the tradition of the church suggests we do. But it may be a starting point as we are so attached to eating of meat in our current culture compared to the earlier periods of Church history when eating meat was considered a luxury. So for us today this may be a difficult first step to take but don’t end here.

Begin your practice of fasting by starting the practice of the weekly fast on Wednesday and Friday. This will make you think during the week about you purpose to come closer to God. It will reinforce you prayer life. It will also prepare you for participating in the sacrament of Holy Communion each Sunday which will further support your spiritual growth.

The Church publishes a calendar which has the traditional guidelines for each day on fasting. Once you have succeeded in abstaining from meat on these days then you can look at this calendar and make your fast more strict.



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