The Nativity Fast is already in progress for those on the Gregorian (New) Calendar, and starts on Monday for those who follow the Julian (Church) Calendar. During this period of prescribed fasting we are to abstain from all meats, dairy, eggs, cheeses, and all animal products. The Church does allow for fish on the weekends during the Nativity Fast.
Fasting is so important for the Orthodox Christian that many of the Fathers tell us we can not consider ourselves to be Orthodox unless we keep the fasts. The spiritual discipline of keeping the fast is invaluable to the Christian life, for it helps make us lighter, and more open to spiritual growth. We enter fasting periods because we want to go deeper into our life in Christ, and gain strength in fighting the passions.
It is important to remember that fasting is not just about foods that we are to abstain from, but also about the quantity of food we eat. It is hardly a true fast if we eat the same amount of food that we would normally eat during a non-fast period. Furthermore, if we hunt for foods that are legally eaten, avoiding simple foods such as vegetables, breads and vegan soups, and eat rich foods that are just as satisfying as non-fasting foods, we miss the point of the fast. It is hardly fasting if we consume a great variety of food and in large amounts.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Abbot Tryphon on fasting
From Abbot Tryphon's Morning Offering. Again, I invite anyone to point out any hint of legalism here. NOTE: Italics are mine.