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2011 plans?

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#1 Caleb Shoemaker

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 05:54 PM

This is my first Great Lent as an Orthodox (catechumen). Our spiritual father has directed my wife and I (parents of a toddler and a 6 month old living primarily on government assistance) not to engage in strict (or any significant) fasting regime. Do people have suggestions for how to observe the Fast without fasting?

#2 Valla Nina

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 06:28 PM

Dear Caleb,

In a sense, people who are on government assistance or otherwise living in poverty are already fasting. For anyone in this situation - I was, 3 years ago..... increasing your prayers and attendance at all the services that we have during this period, is a beautiful way to experience Great Lent. God Bless you and your family......

#3 Cyprian (Humphrey)

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:45 PM

Yup. Surviving is as Lenten as it gets. Job hunting (if applicable) is always very good for one's humility.

Confirm with your spiritual father, but I'd recommend considering anything from a Food Bank as Lenten, regardless of whether it technically is or not.

Fasting is a luxury of the rich. Only those who have too much are burdened by it.

#4 Paul Cowan

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 04:59 AM

Do people have suggestions for how to observe the Fast without fasting?

Turn off the TV. limit your computer time to Monachos or AFR. no movies or other entertainment and use that time to read this.


#5 Richard A. Downing

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 08:04 AM

Get to as many of the services other than Sunday Liturgy as you can do responsibly. Other than Holy Week itself, Vespers on The Sunday Of Forgiveness is a priority I think (well I would, it's what convinced me to take the plunge, so as to speak, into Orthodoxy)
The Fast is really a fast from sin, and Met Kalistos in the Lenten Triodion says that it developed from the Holy Week fasting, which in turn came from the earlier fasts on just Holy Friday and Holy Saturday, our longer fasts are relatively recent 4th century innovation :-)

Love, Richard.

#6 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 06:05 PM

Fasting in Orthodoxy means to refrain from food. Obviously this practice of refraining from food is meant to be a doorway to virtue. But to turn this around as if we can not refrain from food and then concentrate only on a 'fast' of being virtuous, is to rob the word 'to fast' of its actual meaning.

The first intention of the fast days is to refrain from certain foods in correlation with what the fasting rule of the day is. From here this becomes a doorway to a more focused life of virtue and concentration on things of God. Indeed the practice through many centuries of the saints of the Church shows the crucial connection between fasting & virtue. The fact that we even have fast days shows that these two are always meant to go hand in hand.

Now as to exactly what foods and in what amounts we should refrain- that is to be resolved with our priest/spiritual father according to many factors. Strength, environment, age. So many things affect how we fast. But this still leaves the fact that to fast means to fast from food, and as closely as possible according to the overall rule of the Church for that period of time.

We may be weak or new to the Faith- but if we give up something in a consistent pattern according as this is determined with our priest/spiritual father, then spiritual fruit will result.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

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