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Author Topic: Eating with family that are not Orthodox  (Read 4765 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #90 on: April 12, 2011, 01:46:21 AM »

I like raspberries and strawberries best, how about yinz guys?
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stewie
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« Reply #91 on: April 13, 2011, 11:12:02 AM »

I don't know about everyone here, but I have never been able to properly keep a strict fast.  Both my wife and I come from Orthodox families, but 99% of our families do not observe the fast in any way (apart from maybe Fridays during Lent).  I'm usually able to abstain from meat, but find it too hard to be a pure vegan for the length of the fast... both because I am weak, and because I am at a business dinner or traveling 2-3x a week and don't want to call attention to myself, so I eat what is served.

This year I have tried to be a bit more strict with the fast, particularly during these business trips and dinners out.  I have found that the spiritual benefits are less than I had expected.  In fact, on several occasions I have called attention to myself as I requested an alternate meal from a special menu, or refused what was served to me.  During one particularly awkward business lunch an entire table waited for 15 minutes in front of their increasingly cold salmon lunches so that the waiter could bring out my special veggie meal.  This is counterproductive.

Next year I am going to be a lot more flexible with myself as far as the menu goes.  In addition to fasting, I'm getting up a half hour earlier to pray and trying to make it to more services and receive communion more frequently.  It has been a very busy time for me both professionally and personally, but I have made it work.  And frankly, if I am getting any benefits from this fasting period it is coming from increased time speaking with God and reading the scriptures, and less from not eating hamburgers and steak.  I'm not saying that fasting has no benefits, but one has to keep it in proper perspective.  It should rank well behind prayer and almsgiving.

I think Punch hit the nail on the head in his excellent post on the last page. 
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thetraditionalfrog
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« Reply #92 on: April 18, 2011, 05:00:11 AM »

Due to circumstances in my life, I have had to move back in with my parents. My parents are Roman Catholic, so thankfully, the concept of fasting isn't foreign to them. Whilst they understand, they of course follow Roman Catholic custom, which since Vatican II resembles nothing close to Orthodox. Current Roman custom is abstain from meat on Fridays during lent, fast/abstain on Ash Wednesday & Good Friday. Technically according to their canons Catholics are still supposed to abstain from meat on all Fridays, but most local ordinaries have allowed them to substitute "alternative acts of penance". In general practice, this equates to sadly doing nothing.

Anyway, most of the time my parents don't get in the way of my fasting as we eat all meals besides dinner at different times. For dinner, I usually prepare something simple and try to work it so I can partake of at least some of what mom prepared (veg, potato, salad, fruit, etc). Sometimes I simply omit the meat and partake of the rest. That is how things work in my situation. Thankfully!

Now, if I end up unexpectedly at a meal at someone's home, like the monks in the story I typically exercise charity.  I sit down, ask the Lord's blessing, and partake. Afterwards, I thank the Lord and the host. During the time I say nothing about the fast.  I do however pass on seconds, and dessert if I can do so charitably. If I have to partake of dessert or the hosts insists I try her new (....), I will graciously partake of a small amount. If I am asked if I'd like more, I decline, or ask if I could have a small amount to take home. At home I either freeze, store, or dispose of it. No need to make a scene or come across as "holier than thou".

For parties (birthday or Western Christmas), I usually stay just long enough to be polite... If offered a drink, I'll ask for a soda or juice. I try to avoid food, but if it's insisted I try something, I am gracious and do so, but only one or a small amount. Same thing if I have to go to a friend or relatives birthday party or dinner.

For me fasting is like our Lord said... something that is private, between Him and I. It isn't a legalistic straight jacket, but a spiritual tool. True fasting isn't so much what goes in, but comes out, how it helps us change our lives, and overcome our passions... a path to Theosis. I feel that if I were to make a "to do" about fasting, by refusing food, or being overly picky... "Blah, blah, I am holy, I am Orthodox, I am fasting, blah, blah". Then I've completely missed the point, and the fasting empty and availeth me not. I can just hear our Lord say "You might as well have not even bothered...".

Am I perfect, far from it. Have I kept the fast this Lent, inwardly as well as out? Not even close. But in the end as St John Chrysostom tells us from across the ages every Pascha..." those who have kept the fast, and those who have not kept the fast, come to the Feast!"


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