Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Today....WE FAST!

Since today is the first fast day since Pascha, it seemed appropriate to post on the subject. Every year after Pascha I welcome this day with open arms, thankful I am able to fast again because it helps me. Fasting helps me learn to stop putting myself first. As we heard more than once during Great Lent, Christ said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him DENY HIMSELF, [emphasis mine] take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 8.34) We cannot begin to follow Christ until first we learn to deny ourselves and take up our cross. Fasting helps learn how to do this.

Fasting is a spiritual discipline first and foremost. Like any commandment from God, fasting is meant to teach us how to live. When we fast as the Church guides us, we very quickly learn to embrace the art of following rather than leading. We must follow Christ into heaven. We can’t lead Him into heaven. Fasting as the Church guides us helps to perfect the skill of following Christ. This is why I always speak of the importance of not choosing our own fast, but fasting as the Church guides us. When we choose our own rules, we quite frankly are not learning how to deny ourselves, but the opposite becomes true. It begins with, “I think fasting should be like this...” and ends up with, “I think the Gospel means this...”

But that is not the only benefit to fasting. In my case, and I know in the case of many others, fasting is a physical blessing. Ever since Pascha I have been celebrating by making my way through the food chain and enjoying all the foods I missed during the Great Fast. Now I’m feeling a bit sluggish since I haven’t been eating properly. If you have been a Be Transfigured Ministries fan for any length of time, you know I struggle with overeating. I don’t hide it. I can’t hide it. But I do struggle with it. So in my case I look forward to today as the day I am able to get back to proper eating. In my case fasting is a gift of God to help me reassert self control, and for that I am thankful.

The life of the Church has so many benefits since it is guided by the Holy Spirit. If only we took the time to learn about why we do what we do as Orthodox Christians, a main purpose of this ministry, and embrace that when we follow the life of the Church we benefit both spiritually and physically. So today.....WE FAST!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Christ is Risen!

I absolutely LOVE this!
Thank you for sharing.