Author Topic: Do I need permission to fast?  (Read 645 times)

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Offline William

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Do I need permission to fast?
« on: June 08, 2011, 03:52:36 PM »
I'm an inquirer and I've only been attending liturgy for a few weeks now. But the Apostles' Fast is coming up and I thought I should participate. Do I need to consult my priest about this?
Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. - Immanuel Kant

Offline Altar Server

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Re: Do I need permission to fast?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 04:19:06 PM »
Short answer is yes you should always consult your priest before you take up a new spiritual practice
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Offline Benjamin the Red

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Re: Do I need permission to fast?
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2011, 03:41:47 PM »
Short answer is yes you should always consult your priest before you take up a new spiritual practice

This. You're an inquirer, and so there's absolutely no requirement for you to join in on the fasting/feasting seaons of the Church. That said, it's a good idea, when one feels comfortable doing so, to involve themselves in the life of the Church and learn about it by doing. To me, this is by far the best way to learn about Orthodoxy.

That said, the priest is our spiritual father, and should always be aware of our spiritual state. That means knowing our sins, how we keep our prayer rule (and what our prayer rule is) and other spiritual exercises and struggles we are having. In this, he can guide us, so we do not end up either apathetic to our spiritual journey or burnt out from overzealousness.
"Hades is not a place, no, but a state of the soul. It begins here on earth. Just so, paradise begins in the soul of a man here in the earthly life. Here we already have contact with the divine..." -St. John, Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, Homily On the Sunday of Orthodoxy

Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: Do I need permission to fast?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2011, 04:18:01 PM »
I second what others have said.  A helpful thing to remember:  "When in doubt, consult your spiritual Father (priest)."

Also, I have had to learn this myself.  OC.net may be a wonderful place to learn about everything Orthodox, but it doesn't substitute the advice of your own Father Confessor, who knows you and your limitations.

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Do I need permission to fast?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2011, 04:20:03 PM »
I am confused as the title of thread says "Do I need permission to fast," while your first post asks a different question: "Do I need to consult my priest about this?. I would echo other posters in recommending that you consult with your priest. However, fasting is one of those positive actions for which we do not need permission. Would you need permission top pray, give alms, be humble, loving and kind? That said, it is very important (indeed imperative IMHO) for you consult your priest on fasting for two reasons: (1) to enter into an Orthodox frame of mind wherein your priest as your spiritual father becomes part of your spiritual journey/family and (2) He can share the wisdom he has learned on this subject. It is not as cut and dry as it may seem. If you like, you can compare this to undertaking a diet and exercise regimen on your own or under the tutelage of a doctor or professional.

Offline William

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Re: Do I need permission to fast?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2011, 03:43:22 PM »
Thanks for the advice, everyone. I asked him and he told me I can fast as long as I do it humbly and without 'showing off' to the others in my family.

I'm still a bit confused as to how much interaction an inquirer ought to have with a spiritual father, though. I can't go to confession and simply blurting out my sins to him seems awkward and inappropriate.
Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. - Immanuel Kant

Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: Do I need permission to fast?
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2011, 04:28:32 PM »
Thanks for the advice, everyone. I asked him and he told me I can fast as long as I do it humbly and without 'showing off' to the others in my family.

I'm still a bit confused as to how much interaction an inquirer ought to have with a spiritual father, though. I can't go to confession and simply blurting out my sins to him seems awkward and inappropriate.

This is true.  There will be a time for that in the future, God willing.  Your Spiritual Father is really the one who you should be inquiring about the Church to (an addition to us and your Church family :) )  I converted a year ago.  From the first time I walked into the Church until now, my priest has become such a big influence in my life...I talk to him about problems I can't take to my real parents.  He really is my "spiritual Father".  Work on establishing an relationship with him.  You don't need to confess just yet.  Your like the new fish in the tank.  Before he can let you into the water with all of the other fish, your bag has to sit in the water for a time so you can get used to everything  :)  .

Best of luck!!!

*This is not to say that you can't pull him aside and ask him for advice about a problem your having with sin, I've seen other converts do this.  *
« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 04:30:48 PM by trevor72694 »

Offline bogdan

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Re: Do I need permission to fast?
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2011, 05:14:02 PM »
Thanks for the advice, everyone. I asked him and he told me I can fast as long as I do it humbly and without 'showing off' to the others in my family.

I'm still a bit confused as to how much interaction an inquirer ought to have with a spiritual father, though. I can't go to confession and simply blurting out my sins to him seems awkward and inappropriate.

I converted with a group of people at the same time, and most of us did meet with our priest privately to discuss our struggles. We were not asked to do so, but we did. (I would recommend establishing a decent relationship with your priest first though. If you don't really know him yet, it probably would be awkward to talk about such personal things outside of a sacramental confession, where such things are expected.)

While the grace of the Holy Spirit enters us at Chrismation, it doesn't mean we can't get priestly advice to help us repent or take steps to overcome sin even before conversion.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 05:16:05 PM by bogdan »