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Author Topic: Help me understand how to Fast better...  (Read 1469 times) Average Rating: 0
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ignatius
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« on: November 09, 2007, 02:30:05 PM »

Hi!

I now in Orthodoxy we are to Fast Wednesday and Fridays. Coming from Catholicism I'm more used to abstaining from Fish on Fridays (we never really embraced VII options to this) but how can I fast better. What do people do? How much do you eat? What are simple foods to order that avoid those items to abstain from? Please give me suggestions on how to be better at fasting.  Embarrassed

Thanks.

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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2007, 07:04:18 PM »

Although I am a terrible faster (when I was younger it used to be plain Dorito's , Vegemite and soy this and that left right and center). I think the rule of thumb that I was taught from the Greek tradition was fast from any product that comes from an animal or is animal. So essentially its becoming vegan to put it basically. The animal part also only goes for animals that have blood so I believe shell fish is o.k (not sure but better to ask the more learned posters).
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2007, 08:39:23 PM »

Please give me suggestions on how to be better at fasting.  Embarrassed

To fast better, you must join your abstention with prayer. You must pray more and pray harder.  The strength and discernment will come from that. Otherwise, the abstention from certain foods is no more than a diet.  My $.02.
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2007, 08:48:59 PM »

Hi!

I now in Orthodoxy we are to Fast Wednesday and Fridays. Coming from Catholicism I'm more used to abstaining from Fish on Fridays (we never really embraced VII options to this) but how can I fast better. What do people do? How much do you eat? What are simple foods to order that avoid those items to abstain from? Please give me suggestions on how to be better at fasting.  Embarrassed

Thanks.



ignatius:

One thing that has probably been said a zillion times on all sorts of Orthodox forums and listservs, so forgive the redundancy, but please consult your priest on something like this. Whatever he recommends to you should not then be compared to regimens others follow on the Internet. You probably already know that and so I ask forgiveness for the plug here. I've just seen many people put together their spiritual life from what so-and-so does or claims to do on the Web.

To answer your question, when I became an inquirer to Orthodoxy my priest welcomed me to start trying the fasting discipline of the Church slowly. For example doing fish only and then going meatless and abstaining from meat products.

Many people abstain from the items on a particular fast day, keep the meals simple, and not overeat at meals. There are traditions that do not take anything before noon, some don't before 3pm, etc. These are the variety of ways the fast is carried out in the world of Orthodoxy, which brings me back to the suggestion to pattern your fasting and prayer life (you must do both hand in hand) with your spiritual father. Fasts and prayers are the medicine of the Church, and you really cannot just self-medicate.

I hope that helps in your review of others' suggestions and feedback on here.

my prayers are with you on your journey and please pray for me, a sinner.

In Christ,
Reader Kevin
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FrChris
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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2007, 10:59:16 AM »

A motivator (for some folks, not all) when the going gets difficult in fasting is remembering this: we fast so that we can learn to love.

Just as love is the shifting of our pride to not obstruct our relationship with others, so too do we fast so that our desires can be controlled--when we sense that our pride is manifesting itself in a desire, we immediately recognize this and bring it under control. Then, it becomes second nature to give the coat you have to another, or feed another from that which you had, or give to another the time you had planned to use on something else.

Sometimes it is this thought that helps spur others to 'keep with it' during the difficult times of fasting---for me it's the end of the third week/start of the fourth week of our fasting seasons. Keep with your prayer rule as well,a s this connection with God will sustain you and help you manage the temptations we encounter to take a break.

Just my $0.02!
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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2007, 06:16:11 PM »

Thank you everyone first of all I ignorantly wrote the "dietary requirements" without the spiritual requirements but sadly this is what I was taught about the holiday I started to take it more seriously when my father came home and my brother and I were eating doritio's and he sat down and asked as why, he then went on to explain how this fasting period is about giving pleasures so that we may learn. I noticed that in this fasting period my father gave up cigarettes and it helped me further understand the reason. Sorry ignatius for making fasting look like some legalistic act this was not my purpose.
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The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

1915-1923 Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն ,never again,
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השואה  1933-1945, never again,
(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again
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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2007, 07:15:49 PM »

I read somewhere that a woman kept nagging a Russian priest about what exactly should she eat or not eat during her fasts. The priest finally said, "look, eat anything, just don't eat people." I think there is some deep wisdom in that... If you limit yourself in eating but your soul is in distress and you are angry at people, then your fasting hardly achieves anything. Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2007, 09:12:42 PM »

FrChris is right on the money. Fasting is medicine for a hardened heart. It has worked for me. God bless you Fr.
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2007, 12:59:26 PM »

I'm just soaking up the good advice here... Thanks everyone!
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2007, 08:32:50 AM »

ignatius, you may like to ask some vegetarians regarding what to eat. I have a few vegetarian cookbooks and one nice vegan one also. Perhaps talking with other people in your local Church would assist also. Pray for me please.
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2007, 01:11:58 PM »

FrChris is right on the money. Fasting is medicine for a hardened heart. It has worked for me. God bless you Fr.

Fasting from sin is my greatest challenge, we are told that by prayer and readings that occassions of sin can be avoided this way.  Getting in the habit of saying the Jesus Prayer in our idle moments. The devil never sleeps, he is a 24/7 kinda guy.

JoeS
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