Fasting is like on an archaeological dig

Kalachevskiy rector of St. Nicholas Cathedral, father Dimitry answers questions about Christmas post:

– Father Dimitry, and what the Lord God profit from the fact that believers in him several times a year, follow a certain diet?

– Actually, God care about what the diet people. But the people themselves want it badly, because he is learning to limit yourself.

And the ability to restrict food – is far not the most difficult and not the most important thing that is required from all of us in life. Much more important, but much harder to refrain from sins, condemnation, anger, swearing, drunkenness, fornication, and many others. But like any other sport – if a person does not begin to "train" small, if you don't start lifting small dumbbells, he will never lift a large barbell.


Post – it "dumbbells". Means that people have learned to control themselves and rein, learned something to force yourself. After all, the man is actually a man as much as he is able to overcome the animals, instinctive start, the same passions that lead to sin.

The need for food is a basic human instinct. And by fasting, the little man is the instinct comes, overcome it by cultivating in a rational, volitional, human beginning. We must not forget that man is essentially celokupne, his soul does not exist separately from the body. Because what concerns the soul, as well as the body and Vice versa. And practice of Orthodox asceticism shows that in order to gain the desired spiritual States, such as peace, humility, pakanati, you need a little "dry" your body through fasting. I'm not talking about wayward passions and lusts, from which post be much less.

But, once again, solid post – not the main thing. Somehow we have established such a wrong idea that the most severely affected by sin and the passions of the bodily component of the person. In fact, more likely tainted by sin and prone to the passions of his spiritual sphere. Moreover, many of the saints said that the body is likely that are suffering from sin, than what the guilty in the sufferings, and the body needs to be corrected to a lesser extent than the human soul. Therefore, it is in the spiritual realm should direct all his attention during lent.

I always compare post with archaeological excavations. When removed the first layers of the earth, you can make a bold movement, to dig without fear of hitting something. But the deeper, the greater the accuracy required, and then the scientists leave the shovel and take up the brush. So, in the process of man over himself, his soul exposed in the same layers. First there are some self-evident passion.

Someone, for example, is prone to drunkenness. And it seems to him that if he will throw this harmful habit, then everything will be good. But he stopped drinking, and then suddenly found the next layer, the other of passion, maybe not as visible, but more insidious. When this man begins to transcend them POPs up something even more secret... And here it is necessary to show attention.

Here are the intense "Samarskoye" is just a matter of the post. It is designed to make people into himself. And to delve deeper into himself only one way – to try to keep the commandments of God. Returning to the example with a barbell – while she lies in the corner of the room, we walk past in the belief that when you want to pick it up, it is easy deal with it. But as soon as the time came to do it, we suddenly find that the rod is actually too heavy for us. That means we need to work on yourself, to train.

In exactly the same way and spiritually – until we tried to observe the commandments, it seems to us that we easily can do it. "It is difficult not to judge? — we think. – What could be easier?" But when we finally put in front of the goal, and then, at the end of the day, sit down to perform, you have to us, you'll likely find that the "weight" we didn't take.

Here and found the passion. And when they become apparent – this is the first small step to overcome them.

– By the way, the question about the prodigal lusts, whether during lent to give up not only from fornication but also from performance of marital duties?
– There should adhere to the principle that preached by the Apostle Paul. He said that it is desirable, if you during lent will refrain from intimacy for the sake of the Lord, for the humility of the flesh and prayer, but this should be done only by mutual agreement. If a believing wife will refuse during lent in close to her husband, who is not quite ready for that, she can push him to adultery. In any case, the marriage relationship is never equated to fornication, whenever they occurred.

– What other restrictions imposes a post, in addition to giving up eating meat?

– To begin with, what really limits the gastronomic properties are much more serious than we think. If we want to fast strictly according to Church regulations, we must remember that this Charter is based on ustawionych intended for the monks. And they prescribe otkazyvatsya only from meat but also, for example, on certain days of lent – from cooked food (this is called xerophagy), or even from vegetable oil... But for the average person, the average parishioner, it burdens grievous to be borne.

And because fasting is a layman, together with his Confessor, can determine my post for himself. Not lying, not deceiving themselves, just to decide what I can and that is more than my strength. For example, say meat I can refrain, but from dairy products can not, for health reasons, or because they are engaged in heavy physical labor. The same thing, if a person, being somewhere on the field work, in the army, or, say, in the hospital, eating in the dining room – there are already circumstances force him to eat what he is given.

But there are some things that a normal person to give it is easy. For example, alcohol. There is nothing complicated about to fast to abandon it. If the person is a smoker, post – one more reason with this enemy to fight, and maybe in the end, to win. Much more useful and significant post than a post in the food, if the person refuses from the TV, which will lead his soul into a state of peace and tranquility, and it is much more useful.

Or, say, if a man has a sweet tooth, and it is the time of fasting will refuse from sugar and sweets – this will be to his credit. In short, the meaning of lent is to sacrifice some of their desires for God and for your soul, purify it.

– Not considered whether a violation of the post the use of tinctures in alcohol for medical purposes?

– As drugs – of course not.

– What consequences, according to Church doctrine, threatens failure to comply with the post?

– According to Church canons, in this case, a certain period of time excommunicated from the communion. But the main consequence is that a man deprives himself of joy. After all, no wonder the post is assigned before the holidays.

If fasting well fasting, he celebrates Christmas or Easter. And not because he is now finally eat plenty of sausage or bacon. Quite the contrary, if a person fasts normally and smoothly, he did not want this post to break, he seems to be "drawn" into it. But the main joy is not from the stomach and from the heart. People Ponoy chest "breathes in" this grace. I guess it's difficult to explain in words, not concepts. You can only experience for yourself.

Like in the Bible and in the writings of the Holy fathers pointed out that the man in his original, not fallen as consumption of meat, and the fact that he later began to do it, was a direct consequence of the fall. Because Christians like to remind myself with a post about sinless condition pristine, spiritually intact person who did not know the cruelty and nacilio as their own kind, and animals.

Interesting and the very etymology of the word "post". It comes from the word "stand". We know another meaning of this word – say, a traffic police post or post-post connected with a certain standing in anticipation. The inspector at his post waiting for a possible traffic violation that is a violation to stop, soldiers waiting for the attack of the enemy in order to reflect... and in fact, And in another sense, the word is associated with standing and waiting, whether in a physical sense or in the spiritual.

– Can post to contribute, if not to take into account its sacred component? For example, as a factor of personal growth?

– From this position you can consider the post just as workout will. For example – a man wants to eat a piece of cake, and he, manifesting his will, he refuses. Bring it to him good? Undoubtedly, in terms of the development of fortitude, and in terms of physical beauty. Or you want the man to say something nasty, and he dug in his heels and said, and even kept cordial relations with the man, which then will substitute a shoulder in a difficult moment. Or want, say, from morning till evening to watch TV, and the person turns it off, and instead opens a self-help book... of Course it will bring results and to the unbelieving man who is simply engaged in self-discipline. But the results it will be secular, but not spiritual.

– The last week of advent have the new year holidays. Am I in these days of fasting some relief and "discounts"?

– Such situation has developed in us over a two-week difference between "old" and "new" style. Before everything was organically and quiet, and Christmas was celebrated on December 25. And behind him followed a New year's day St. Basil the Great, feast of the Circumcision of the Lord and Baptism. And this whole time period, from Christmas to Epiphany called Christmas-tide. But then the Bolsheviks moved the calendar for two weeks, and the Church continued to live according to the "old style".

There was an attempt in the twenties of the last century, when Patriarch Tikhon, to introduce a "new style" and in the Church, but the understanding among the believers she met, and the Patriarch had to withdraw his decree. Therefore, the civil New year is celebrated during advent.
I believe that no sin is to sit in a new year's eve at the table with family, eat salads, even fish. But with alcohol believing people should wait.

– How to save yourself from the inevitable in these days of temptation?

I have to say that the problem is the New year for Christian believers is not the most difficult. The believer must get used to the fact that most of the people around him, live like him. And behavior, and the moral standards they have other. So I usually recommend to my members to use this holiday as an exercise of its ability to "swim against the tide". Of course, only those who are ready. To show determination and perseverance to be able to say to yourself and to others: "You can veselyatsya all you want, but I'm not going to do. And not because I want to go against or something to stand out, and due to the fact that I am a believer, and I post".

This is particularly useful to young people. They can often be particularly difficult to stand out from the crowd and go against the "collective." But sometimes it is very necessary and very important. And there is nothing wrong in this sense to be "black sheep". published

Talked R. Belousov

P. S. And remember, only by changing their consumption — together we change the world! ©

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