Why have we fasted incorrectly

How not to fast mechanically, to discover the true meaning and joy of fasting, says the Archpriest Theodore Borodin, rector of the Church of the Holy unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian on Maroseyka.

Photographer: Anna Davydova – Father Fyodor, comes advent, a special time, a time of renewal, but often we from year to year, we hold a time of fasting mechanically, as a result of any update is not happening. How to change that, to make the post not ceased to be a post?

Archpriest Theodore Borodin

– There is a category of parishioners – pregnant women. Several times I had to hear about how the discovery that they have made for themselves. If women, who have had long practice of the Church, godly living, strictly abide by the post, had a taste for it, liked a post, then suddenly, when they were forced not to fast food, they realized that the post was not held, as no other post, in addition to food restrictions, they didn't have before.

The woman says, "You know, I 15 or 10 years, go to Church, started before the marriage, and everything is always very strictly observed, and was, in General, is quiet on this issue. And it turns out that calm was in vain, because almost all of my post was focused only on the food aspect."

And I think all other members should listen to this. Indeed, it turns out that for us, lent is basically the implementation of food regulations.

It's not bad, that's fine, but no matter how much we hear, no matter how much we read in Proverbs, for example, about the Pharisee and the publican that this is not the most important thing, anyway – for us the food post is a great place too. He's too important, it is for many of us is much more important spiritual post.

What to do, what are the means to overcome it? I think that first of all for lent each person to change something in the practice of prayer. Something to add, to strengthen, to make even beyond its usual rules: prostrations, reading of canons, the reading of the Psalter, reading of Scripture. And try to add some good deeds.

I think everyone will be able once a month or once a week to help someone – selflessly, freely, so that nobody knew, so nobody stole our reward. To come to the old woman or in a large family and cook the soup, chop the wood, to give the mother to go somewhere to walk so she's a little recovered. To do the works of mercy, but to this no one knew, not to lose the reward, to assess how much we need to know about us, how we usually lose.

You should realize that fasting is a very personal activity, and every Christian, who for many years fast, knows what he is weak that he is good and what is bad.

And that's where bad, you have to work hard in the direction of overcoming sin and acquiring the opposite virtue. To produce a work unabated in the food, in a bodily post. If people can't read the Scriptures – then we must delve into its study. If a person helps no one – that means we need to appoint someone to help.

If you never read the Psalm, I strongly advise to read: the reading of the Psalter really brings down the amazing world of the human soul. Maybe in translation Ungerova once read – on the one hand, it is almost liturgical translation, it was conceived before the revolution for use in worship, and on the other hand, it is much clearer than Slavic. Slowly, slowly, the kathisma a day or even less, pondering each word, to make it re-sounded.

Post – it the same time the spiritual life, the only string your bow more stretched. Lent is a time of greater tension. And need to increase your voltage at the time of the post where it must be for you.

– Is it possible to find joy in self-restraint?

– Joy, perhaps, is not in the restraint, and that comes after this one. The purpose of fasting, throughout this vast, well-developed and very sophisticated lean culture, which is available now in the practice of the Russian Orthodox Church, to elevate a person spiritually, making him free from food issues, so it was still, what, when and how much to eat.

If we analyze how much of our attention is food, we understand the catastrophic situation. And that's the goal – to make man free from this Foundation carnal life that can be overcome already by some other passion.

This, of course, there is the joy of gaining freedom, a certain liberation, of relief. Utochnennaya soul worse off. One Saint said that if you eat fast, you don't pray, you have nothing. That is joy that is given after people got the hang of abstinence, but not abstinence. And if the joy in abstinence is a disaster, it's just hypocrisy, vanity.

Now there is such a variety of meatless products that you can post something does not feel or just eat meatless products?

Post consists of two areas. The first is the limitation in the quality of the food we consumption of certain products; the second is the limitation in quantity. That is, in post will certainly have to eat less and, in General, are not very important. Must have fast food, but not much.

From Abba Dorotheus says that the passion of gluttony is divided into two types – gordonovna and Cremonese. Gortanova is when no matter how important tasty and fun, and crevoisier – when no matter delicious or not, it is important that much. We must overcome both.

All these tips are known: have to get up from the table with a sense of light hunger, not satisfied. Of course, it is impossible to overeat. Especially if you are preparing for the sacrament. To eat a little, to have strength, but that these bodily forces closed the spiritual powers of man.

– Why the tendency to mitigate the fast food peculiar to those people who have been going to Church? Here the austerity of the post somehow respect the ones who are just starting to fast.

– You know, it's two trends with which people are faced in their life. One of them is really a temptation of relaxation: "I reached, I was opustilsya, I'm doing it for me past stage" – a kind of cooldown. And if the weakening in the post happens to be for this reason, it is not good.

Fasting trains the will of man, which then intensified and entrenched, can be directed to some deeper and more tragic things that destroy the human soul. In this sense we must always keep in check, to return itself to fast and not relaxing.

But on the other hand, you correctly mentioned the people who have been walking in the temple. The focus has shifted. If for newcomers it is very important external and this is a normal stage of human development, for a man who for 20 years attends a Church, is external regulation performance can not capture his essence and be so important. The center of the struggle for such a person needs to move inside.

If internal struggle is not amplified, but only weakens, the outer is bad. And if the person is already sufficiently freed from bodily fetters, and he more or less still there, maybe easing the post not so scary.

In General, the Christian is similar in some sense to the military, but not a soldier, and officer. Because the officer is a person having a certain freedom and a very high degree of responsibility. Freedom – because he is in a position where he must make decisions.

In order to grow an officer, its scary at first drill in the school, the feeling that he has completely taken away the will: the rise, retreat, all on the second, he does not have all his time. Military school or Academy, then College, the army, but the only way you can educate the officer who will have responsibility and freedom and will have the strength to make the right decisions.

That is exactly the same and Christian. Christian is the man who first many years cultivates will power, which is necessary to fulfill the commandments of Christ. And it is very important obedience to the Statute, Confessor, the execution is born by the Church and sanctified by the presence of the Holy spirit in the Church traditions of the execution of the post.

But the purpose of the Church is to save man, to save man, not to teach him liberty, is impossible. The purpose of the parish or of the priest as spiritual father is to raise an adult, freely accepting and responsible for their decisions Christian who loves Christ, who does something not because he was scared that he would be punished, but because he loves the Lord Jesus Christ, all the while living with Him. And in his freedom he can make decisions.

And now, if a man 20 years goes to Church, but for him is still solid post is the most important, important, obscures everything else, it's not a very good sign. And sometimes it happens, that for a Christian, I stress, a very long time going to the temple, has long been votserkovitsya, it is the bodily part of the post becomes less significant, less important.

We all know the example of St. Spyridon, which lent were treated to pork his guest, and he ate himself. From this it does not cease to be a great ascetic and teacher of godliness for all of us. We consider it a great miracle worker and a Saint. It's just that he was already free.

And I think that we all go out into the issue of the Statute of the post in modern Russian Orthodox Church. The problem is very significant, very serious. Recently there was a discussion of preparation for Holy communion – a violent, active, which gave the opportunity to exchange views, to hear other people's opinion. Someone was in his way, someone at least with respect started to take another view, adopted it as possible, as one of the possible things to different people, for different groups of believers.

Similarly with fasting, I think we have a great Church-wide discussion of this issue and adoption of any decisions.

The Charter of the post, which we have now never performed. With the exception of some people who are a tiny percentage of the number of Christians that go to Church. Because this Charter is born in Palestine and Constantinople monasteries, in completely different circumstances, where to slide the stick into the ground, then three times a year to remove the crop where winters are almost there, where the sun shines in a completely different way.

This Charter was adopted by our ancestors who had the will power, fortitude and obedience to the Church is absolutely not such as we have now. Our ancestors, these Northern people, was able to accomplish a great feat – to adopt the Charter of the southern countries, which is almost impossible to perform.

Now people became much more feeble. And, of course, need some adjustments. The result is some ambiguity: we are all in the Charter have one post, but know that even the monks of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius it is observed differently. I don't know now, but when I 25 years ago was in the Seminary, the monks refrained from vegetable oil only at First, cross and Passionate in weeks. Although the Charter is not. And it's not that bad, it is born of life.

Lay person, working from morning to evening, work hard a father he could comply with the Charter of the post? If not, then maybe we should be honest about that, what is the measure? Maybe we need to give someone some freedom, to give freedom to the priest? It is one thing – the man who yesterday or five years ago came to the Church, and another thing – the person who fasts for 30 years. One thing a person is healthy, and another thing – the person is not very healthy and so on.

For example, we are faced with the fact that all parish summer activities that we conduct with children, have fast of the apostles. And these poor, pale-blue Moscow children go on nature, where is the real cow's milk. Of course, I take responsibility, and they consume dairy products.

There is a lot of questions. Here is the second question, for example: we have two long post dedicated to the Lord, there is a short post dedicated to the Mother of God, and there is a post that can reach 40 days, which is dedicated to the Holy apostles. The Church who read more – mother of God or the apostles? Why post the Holy apostles can be up to 40 days? This kind of disproportion.

Maybe there are people who should be allowed to fast for 14 or 20, or 12 days? Not good when the priest takes on the responsibility to address these issues. These questions, of course, must deal with the Cathedral. But now a huge number of priests forced to address these issues separately with each specific person and case: how to be in this situation.

Then the dependence from the place. I heard that maybe it is not that lent on the island in some time was out of bread. The North, the bread take it nowhere else, and the monks caught and ate the fish.

That's all the questions that need to be addressed.

Of course, the main thing that the priest could help the member to gradually displace the center post from the outer to the inner. A parishioner needs to grow, and to understand that if he yelled at your child, then he economise more than if he went and ate pork somewhere, trouble is big, it is heavier than a broke post.

Or if he, say, spent the night in computer games, it's worse than eating cake. And it's really worse, because you're still another person injured or mired in deeper passions.

– And can be as something for lent to feel that something is changing? How to track that these good changes?

– Of course. I think just a long post it helps. And the first result of the post – crap climbs out of the man. How that man came to the bath, he then go out all the toxins – so also here. People started to fast, after some time the Lord begins to show what he is wrong, he is sinful, what passions they nest inside of it.

The passions begin to manifest, the person is upset, crying from what he first was so good, he observed, it turned out that he fell and then all down the drain. In fact, it is the presence of God.

God does not care what people will eat, in General. If not, then the Lord is harder to get through to our hearts. Therefore, the Lord helps. As it is written: "If you start to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation" (Sir. 2:1). You began fasting, you pray the Lord you cleansed from sin, and the Lord will do strenuously, so strenuously, how intensively you do it. The Lord will still raise you to transfer from external to internal and to get to see their sins, so that you began to deal with them.

But that vision of his sins, which very often leads a person to such a wrong understanding that it was much worse a post is the grace of God and this was very good post. It is necessary to make a diagnosis, then to understand what and how should be treated. It is a help of God.

– No post, no joy of the feast?

– Maybe if the person could not fast. But still not as it should be to experience Easter, if you're not fasting, were not prepared. If you're not prepared for some not depending on you reason, then the Lord can give this joy, seeing that in past years you've been fasting, for example. If you're not fasting by neglect, of pride: "and, I will not move from external to internal, and will immediately undertake an internal" then, of course, this joy would be.

The Church is conceived by the Holy Spirit, and therefore – can you imagine the joy of the Easter night with no previous services? It is very difficult. If you weren't starting Wednesday evening in the Church, Easter service will be revealed to you until the end. But if you started the post with a real repentance, with Forgiveness Sunday, with humility worked, of course, the Lord will give you "good measure, pressed down". And it's a joy then you'll live a whole year until next Easter. Well, Christmas is exactly the same, of course. Without any labor the Lord gives gifts to man.

– Advent it is much easier, there are no such restrictions in food, severely?

– Yes, he's not so tough. And compared to Easter, of course, the soul understands that it is not so important. We will not disparage in any case, but what can compare with preparing for the Resurrection of Christ?

There are so many Christians who love the post, have him taste, see result, I see that it is easier to live a spiritual life, the thinning of bodily composition. In the excellent book "fathers of the Monk Barsonophios the Great and John the guide to spiritual life in the answers to the questionings of the disciples," it is written that every Christian needs to histoncal his soul, like a spider web – just blew, and she hesitates.

This is a very interesting way. Even when we don't feel the wind, on the web seen any fluctuation of air, so the soul of a Christian should be as sensitive to the action of grace and to the action of sin as a spider's web in the breeze. But to do this without thinning bodily composition is impossible

Therefore, the people liking the post, happy, they see the fruit of fasting, waiting for the approach of the post, because post is for them – this time not just intense work, but also the special closeness of God to their soul. Please note — the finish of the post, but you are waiting for a new because you gained something. Then time passes, it is forgotten, but is rooted in Church practice, people certainly expect a post.

Similarly, the soul, the loving Lord, not tormented by the fact that tomorrow to confession, and eager confession. As a person who comes to the doctor and receiving healing, joy goes to the doctor and the soul feels that confession is not just any execution, repentance is not just some kind of flour, and this encounter with God. The sacrament of confession, United with a sincere repentance – it is already there in the meeting with God.

And fasting is also held meeting with God.

Source: www.pravmir.ru/post-shkola-svobodyi/


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