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Balthasar
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« on: February 21, 2012, 11:34:36 AM »



For Catholic Christians Ash Wednesday falls tomorrow.

According to the Catholic church, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. Coming on the morning after Mardi Gras, it is for many people a sobering reminder of the 40-day period of purification and renewal that comes before Easter.

Catholics around the world are observing Ash Wednesday According to the Catholic law of abstinence, Catholics aged 14 and older must refrain from meat on Fridays altogether during this 40-day period, as well as Ash Wednesday.

I once heard the Catholic Father, John Corapi arguing that Fasting is no more important. Why is so? What is their reason? Why are Protestants and Catholics ignoring the fasting traditions of Christianity?

 
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 11:47:35 AM »

I thought that Catholics still fasted, but I guess I could be wrong.  As far as Protestants, I have no idea.  Maybe because "Lent" isnt in the Bible and therefore it isnt important. (sola scriptura) But then again, fasting is mentioned in the Bible many times, so youd think that even sola scriptura protestants would put more emphasis on it.

I know of protestants who speak of fasting, but if they do it, its just something they do at random times when they feel led to.  I dont know any modern protestant churches (other than lutherans, anglicans) who fast as an entire Church. 

My protestant college (which had an NT Wright style Anglo-Catholic leaning) is who taught me about fasting as my home church never even mentioned it or its importance.  It really is a tragedy that so many Christians miss out on this important practice during this important time of year.
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 12:54:07 PM »

Catholics still practice prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent, but besides no meat on Fridays, the fast is pretty much self-directed. Catholics will choose how strict they want to make their fast.

The link below talks a little about how fasting rules in the West have evolved:
http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0527.html
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2012, 01:27:23 PM »

Why do you care?

Worry about your own backyard.
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2012, 04:14:45 PM »

I think people think about fasting in a different ways.  A person of the first way identifies fasting with a good deed. They see in it a sacrifice which earns us a merit. The question, “What shall I give up for Lent?"  is a very typical question of such an attitude toward fasting. Fasting to them is a formal obligation, an act of obedience to the Church, and its value comes precisely from obedience.

To a  person of the second way, the  idea of fasting is first of all that of an ascetic effort. It is the effort to subdue the physical to the spiritual. Limitations in food are instrumental; they are not ends in themselves. Fasting thus is but a means of reaching a spiritual goal and, therefore, a part of a spiritual effort. Fasting, in this understanding, includes more than abstinence from certain types of food. It implies prayer, silence, internal disposition of mind, an attempt to be charitable, kind, and spiritual.

To a  person of the second way of thinking, fasting is not a requirement, it is not a way to show obedience, it is a necessary activity used to obtain something else, and that is change.  A change that lets us discover the reality of the spiritual world in us.  Its value comes from  having the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit entering our souls.

To a person of the first way of thinking, the other way is wrong, and visa verse. 
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2012, 03:21:45 AM »


Why are Protestants and Catholics ignoring the fasting traditions of Christianity?


Catholics are still required to fast and do penance.  Abstinence and fasting.  It is highly encouraged and all Catholics should be doing it if possible.  However, fasting, if done inappropriately, can be a sources of sin - pride.  I remember doing severe fasting in my youth.  I probably should not have done it, but I was determined to become a Saint.  I would go for long periods, a week, of not eating.  i would only drink water.  I ended up losing so much weight and to this day I wonder if my anxieties are related to such severe punishments imposed upon my body, mind, thought ht soul probably benefited.  I did it throughout my junior year in high school.  My stepmom worried about me.  I thought she was being silly, because she's Southern Baptist. 

It's very difficult for me to fast now, not because I'm a fat sloth, but because I get sick really easy if I don't maintain my nutrition levels.  It really depends on the tensions within my home, work and else.  One trigger could send me on a real loopy down spiral.  Having a history in my family of suicides, its not a good idea for me to expect myself to fast so intently.  So I try to abstain from meet and do penance, acts of charity.  Reducing a meel down to two small meals in a day is not that difficult, however, in my case it can be challenging.  My wife has similar issues and I won't allow her to fast since she triggers very easy now.  There are exceptions, and this is why I believe the Church stopped imposing such harsh disciplines upon the faithful. 

I love the stories and follow many Orthodox and Eastern Catholic discussions on their fasting experience.  I envy them in a respectful way.  I just hope that they are offering up their fasts for people like my wife and I, those with medical issues.  Meet on Fridays is out.  We usually try to do it throughout the year, but have found it expensive in this economy to afford it.  That's the irony in all of this.  Meet was once considered the premium choice for protein.  Now fish is and I love fish, in fact, all seafood.  I do not find fish appropriate for me, however, to keep up appearances, I do it anyway.  Fish is the healthy choice for folks like us because we need the omega 3s from it.  Charitable Acts are very difficult.  I try to eat properly during our lent fast.  No pride in trying to stay away from foods not as healthy for me.  I'm ust trying to take care of what little mind I have left.  All of the training I've gone through for my condition dictate a careful diet for the rest of my life.  Meds have undesirable side effects, e.g., inflamed sinuses, increased mucus flow, pain on inner ear, sleep problems, mind numbing, etc.  One day I hope to find what's really causing all of this anxiety in me.  I'm fallowing Dr. Oz to figure it out, hoping to look for the solution. 

Right now, death is a much invited state of peace for me.  But I have much to live for, and am trying my best not to cling to this life because I may not be allowed to for more than a decade or two.  The sad part of that is that I have a 6 year old and a 10 year old in the house to raise.  So worrying about what people think about my fasting habits is the least of my problems.  There are so many people suffering from mental disorders today that it is very uncharitable to believe that everyone should be doing what "we are doing".  Pride is a killer of souls.  As a former Protestant, I found it sad that we never fasted or gave up something throughout the year.  Now, I am Catholic and find it difficult to even do the least because of my health issues.  Lord willing, I'll have about 10 more years left, unless he has mercy on me and extends my life to that of my grandfather who died at age 69.  Not much to look forward to in this short life but eternity.  I just would like to see my son's ordained and my daughter's solemn vows as a Discalced Carmelite.

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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2012, 03:52:06 AM »

I have never understood the "almost" total disappearance of fasting before the Eucharist in Roman Catholicism.

Originally it was 12 hours before reception, as the Universal Church before the schism and as in Orthodoxy still; over time it was reduced to just one hour before reception of the Eucharist.

Since actual reception of the Eucharist is itself well into the service the rule for fasting prior to receiving the Eucharist in Roman Catholicism today seems little more in effect than a "don't eat in the sanctuary or in the car on the way" rule.

How on earth that even merits the word "fasting" any longer is a question in  itself.

I could claim to fast every day of my life not only while sleeping but between my three daily meals by that kind of definition!
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2012, 12:28:42 PM »

I have never understood the "almost" total disappearance of fasting before the Eucharist in Roman Catholicism.

Originally it was 12 hours before reception, as the Universal Church before the schism and as in Orthodoxy still; over time it was reduced to just one hour before reception of the Eucharist.

Since actual reception of the Eucharist is itself well into the service the rule for fasting prior to receiving the Eucharist in Roman Catholicism today seems little more in effect than a "don't eat in the sanctuary or in the car on the way" rule.

How on earth that even merits the word "fasting" any longer is a question in  itself.

I could claim to fast every day of my life not only while sleeping but between my three daily meals by that kind of definition!

I think it may have something to do with one's intent and with that indefinable something called "quality" rather than quantity.  Since you are not Catholic, perhaps it might be best to reserve your judgment about it.  The rules of fasting for Catholics set out a *minimum*--one is certainly free to and usually encouraged to do more, according to one's ability, state of life,  and, if available, one's spiritual director.
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2012, 12:42:43 PM »

It has been said (I can't remember by who) that you cannot spend quality time with God without also spending quantity time. I should think that this applies to fasting, too.
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2012, 12:58:33 PM »

It has been said (I can't remember by who) that you cannot spend quality time with God without also spending quantity time. I should think that this applies to fasting, too.

And just how does one judge the quality of another's time with God, or their fasting?
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2012, 01:03:41 PM »

Huh? I don't know. I'm not judging anybody's quality of anything. That was in response to the general idea of quality vs. quantity. They're not in opposition to each other.
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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2012, 01:10:12 PM »

Huh? I don't know. I'm not judging anybody's quality of anything. That was in response to the general idea of quality vs. quantity. They're not in opposition to each other.

Nor are they at all necessarily dependent upon one another.  That was somewhat implicit in what you wrote.  Did I misunderstand you?
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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2012, 04:14:41 PM »

One of the things that drew me to Orthodoxy was fasting. I became determined to read the Fathers in order to discover the ancient Christian faith, unadulterated by innovation. When I read the Didache, I wondered if any Christians still fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays. Then I learnt of Orthodoxy. I tried to fast outside of Orthodoxy for a while but eventually longed to be part of a fasting community. Now, I cannot imagine Christianity without fasting in community.

If I had seen Roman Catholics seriously fasting, who knows? Perhaps I would have looked more seriously at the RCC. Of course I had a lot of other issues with Rome.

I do know some Roman Catholics who have become interested recently in fasting on Wednesday and Friday after having visited Medjugorje. Whilst I think much of what goes on there is dubious if not diabolical from an Orthodox perspective, I am glad for the fruit of orthodox fasting.

I also know some Evangelicals whose fasting is sincere and at times extreme (eg 40 day fasts of just water and juice).
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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2012, 04:36:35 PM »

There are Third Orders in the Catholic Church where members, by their rule, are to fast and abstain from meat on every Wednesday and Friday. Ever heard of the Third Order Laity? They are lay members of the Dominicans, Franciscans, Benedictine Oblates, and Carmelites.

In the Catholic cloistered monasteries for men and women, monastics observe traditional non-meat meals. They even make prostrations and confess their faults to one another just as the Orthodox monastics do. These Catholic monastics also observe the Ancient Black Fast, which is the Orthodox Fast.

The primary difference I have noticed is that in Orthodoxy, the laity pray morning, midday, and evening prayers, fast, and make prostrations. However, in Catholicism, if any of the laity were to engage in the monastic fast and make prostrations, then they would be considered to be "holier than the Pope" or be labeled as overly scrupulous or too religious. Ordering Lenten meals on Wednesdays would make one stand out. Oh, yes, I was a Dominican Tertiary, and so I was singled out and mocked by diocesan Catholic Priests even though I was following the Dominican Rule.
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2012, 04:40:36 PM »

Huh? I don't know. I'm not judging anybody's quality of anything. That was in response to the general idea of quality vs. quantity. They're not in opposition to each other.

Nor are they at all necessarily dependent upon one another.  That was somewhat implicit in what you wrote.  Did I misunderstand you?

They are, though, in the sense that the quantity of time that you spend in prayer and fasting, just like the quality, shapes your relationship with God. It is not so much that you can or should seek to out-fast or out-pray a Catholic or Protestant or fellow Orthodox, as that certainly betrays a certain arrogance and pride that is not in keeping with the fast, but that if we want to spent quality time with God, we must be willing to spend quantity time with Him as well. You can't fit God in in-between the commercial breaks of  your favorite TV shows, or only when you're at a stoplight en route to your job or whatever and expect your relationship with God to be as healthy as it would be if you pray the morning and evening Hours, keep a strict fast (in consultation with your spiritual father, of course), attend liturgy as often as possible, etc. All of these things are time and effort devoted to God. It's not different in practice than a marriage or parenting or a similar relationship like that. If you're a "weekend dad" or "weekend mom", you could fill those 48 hours with the most lessons and love and great activities that anyone can, and it still wouldn't be the same as being the full-time parent, who is in the house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for their child (note: I don't mean this to trash any divorced parents; my own parents divorced when I was three and I never knew any different, but after my mother passed on my dad was very open about feeling this way regarding his own failures as a parent simply because he couldn't be there as often as he felt he should have been; nobody but the most debased person would even argue that any other arrangement can best the traditional nuclear family). With God, who is already there 24/7 for us, the responsibility is then on us to spend as much time with Him as possible. Not because you can't say a really good prayer in 10 minutes (and, yes, sometimes it is a struggle to even get those 10 minutes; God knows), but because our God is not a 10 minute-a-day God. He wants 100% of our lives, all of the time, and so that is what we strive for. Fasting is part of that striving.
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« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2012, 04:52:09 PM »

Huh? I don't know. I'm not judging anybody's quality of anything. That was in response to the general idea of quality vs. quantity. They're not in opposition to each other.

Nor are they at all necessarily dependent upon one another.  That was somewhat implicit in what you wrote.  Did I misunderstand you?

They are, though, in the sense that the quantity of time that you spend in prayer and fasting, just like the quality, shapes your relationship with God. It is not so much that you can or should seek to out-fast or out-pray a Catholic or Protestant or fellow Orthodox, as that certainly betrays a certain arrogance and pride that is not in keeping with the fast, but that if we want to spent quality time with God, we must be willing to spend quantity time with Him as well. You can't fit God in in-between the commercial breaks of  your favorite TV shows, or only when you're at a stoplight en route to your job or whatever and expect your relationship with God to be as healthy as it would be if you pray the morning and evening Hours, keep a strict fast (in consultation with your spiritual father, of course), attend liturgy as often as possible, etc. All of these things are time and effort devoted to God. It's not different in practice than a marriage or parenting or a similar relationship like that. If you're a "weekend dad" or "weekend mom", you could fill those 48 hours with the most lessons and love and great activities that anyone can, and it still wouldn't be the same as being the full-time parent, who is in the house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for their child (note: I don't mean this to trash any divorced parents; my own parents divorced when I was three and I never knew any different, but after my mother passed on my dad was very open about feeling this way regarding his own failures as a parent simply because he couldn't be there as often as he felt he should have been; nobody but the most debased person would even argue that any other arrangement can best the traditional nuclear family). With God, who is already there 24/7 for us, the responsibility is then on us to spend as much time with Him as possible. Not because you can't say a really good prayer in 10 minutes (and, yes, sometimes it is a struggle to even get those 10 minutes; God knows), but because our God is not a 10 minute-a-day God. He wants 100% of our lives, all of the time, and so that is what we strive for. Fasting is part of that striving.

On both sides of the divide, one must be careful of prelest and arrogance.

I have met both Catholics and Orthodox who boast about their fasting or non-fasting or belittle those who fast or who do not fast.
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« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2012, 04:52:58 PM »

Huh? I don't know. I'm not judging anybody's quality of anything. That was in response to the general idea of quality vs. quantity. They're not in opposition to each other.

Nor are they at all necessarily dependent upon one another.  That was somewhat implicit in what you wrote.  Did I misunderstand you?

They are, though, in the sense that the quantity of time that you spend in prayer and fasting, just like the quality, shapes your relationship with God. It is not so much that you can or should seek to out-fast or out-pray a Catholic or Protestant or fellow Orthodox, as that certainly betrays a certain arrogance and pride that is not in keeping with the fast, but that if we want to spent quality time with God, we must be willing to spend quantity time with Him as well. You can't fit God in in-between the commercial breaks of  your favorite TV shows, or only when you're at a stoplight en route to your job or whatever and expect your relationship with God to be as healthy as it would be if you pray the morning and evening Hours, keep a strict fast (in consultation with your spiritual father, of course), attend liturgy as often as possible, etc. All of these things are time and effort devoted to God. It's not different in practice than a marriage or parenting or a similar relationship like that. If you're a "weekend dad" or "weekend mom", you could fill those 48 hours with the most lessons and love and great activities that anyone can, and it still wouldn't be the same as being the full-time parent, who is in the house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for their child (note: I don't mean this to trash any divorced parents; my own parents divorced when I was three and I never knew any different, but after my mother passed on my dad was very open about feeling this way regarding his own failures as a parent simply because he couldn't be there as often as he felt he should have been; nobody but the most debased person would even argue that any other arrangement can best the traditional nuclear family). With God, who is already there 24/7 for us, the responsibility is then on us to spend as much time with Him as possible. Not because you can't say a really good prayer in 10 minutes (and, yes, sometimes it is a struggle to even get those 10 minutes; God knows), but because our God is not a 10 minute-a-day God. He wants 100% of our lives, all of the time, and so that is what we strive for. Fasting is part of that striving.

I can't and won't argue with you about most of what you say.  My understanding of both prayer and fasting, from *both* Orthodoxy and Catholicism is that they are for *us*.  God doesn't need our prayers, nor does he need our fasts.  He wants the best for us and part of that involves our striving during prayer and fasting, to whatever extent we are able.  What I object to is the attitude held by some people in both our Churches who equate the number of hours of prayer, the strictness and length of the fast, etc. with being somehow "better" than others who do "less".  Jesus told us to pray in secret.  I think that applies, too, to fasting.  Let us not crow about who does how much of what nor think that because we are Orthodox, or Catholic, our spiritual practices are "better" or more "orthodox" than anyone else's.  This leads directly to that mother of sins, Pride, not to Heaven.
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« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2012, 05:20:15 PM »

Again, to both you and Maria, I would say (echoing what I've already written): Yes, you can't do that. You don't fast so that other people know you're fasting or to compare yourself favorably or unfavorably to anyone. In fact, I have heard Coptic priests say that it is best not to have any mirror in the vicinity of where you pray, lest you be tempted to wonder if you look "holy" while you pray. I think it is good advice. I think it is best to only concentrate on the fact that you are fasting or praying when confronting yourself on your own rule and how you can follow it better. Do not bring other people into it except for your spiritual father, who can guide you to good practices. I've also asked some of the senior members of our congregation for their thoughts on fasting and they all provided wonderful advice, none of which pointed to anything that anyone else does or doesn't do. The great fast is a time for reflection and repentance, and encouragement of others on the same journey. Anything not in that spirit is not helpful. I pray that all under Rome experience true transformation this Lent.
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« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2012, 05:50:20 PM »

Again, to both you and Maria, I would say (echoing what I've already written): Yes, you can't do that. You don't fast so that other people know you're fasting or to compare yourself favorably or unfavorably to anyone. In fact, I have heard Coptic priests say that it is best not to have any mirror in the vicinity of where you pray, lest you be tempted to wonder if you look "holy" while you pray. I think it is good advice. I think it is best to only concentrate on the fact that you are fasting or praying when confronting yourself on your own rule and how you can follow it better. Do not bring other people into it except for your spiritual father, who can guide you to good practices. I've also asked some of the senior members of our congregation for their thoughts on fasting and they all provided wonderful advice, none of which pointed to anything that anyone else does or doesn't do. The great fast is a time for reflection and repentance, and encouragement of others on the same journey. Anything not in that spirit is not helpful. I pray that all under Rome experience true transformation this Lent.


The spirit of fasting that you write about is echoed clearly in the teachings of both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Thank you for your prayers, and may all Orthodox (and all Christians everywhere) also experience that very same transformation!
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« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2012, 06:32:21 PM »

I have never understood the "almost" total disappearance of fasting before the Eucharist in Roman Catholicism.

Originally it was 12 hours before reception, as the Universal Church before the schism and as in Orthodoxy still; over time it was reduced to just one hour before reception of the Eucharist.

Since actual reception of the Eucharist is itself well into the service the rule for fasting prior to receiving the Eucharist in Roman Catholicism today seems little more in effect than a "don't eat in the sanctuary or in the car on the way" rule.

How on earth that even merits the word "fasting" any longer is a question in  itself.

I could claim to fast every day of my life not only while sleeping but between my three daily meals by that kind of definition!


Since you are not Catholic, perhaps it might be best to reserve your judgment about it. The rules of fasting for Catholics set out a *minimum*--one is certainly free to and usually encouraged to do more, according to one's ability, state of life,  and, if available, one's spiritual director.
How have I "judged" you?

I could just as easily say that since you are not Orthodox you should reserve your judgement upon some Orthodox Christian's reaction to the late deconstruction of the fasting rule of the ancient Universal Church. But in reality it is no more possible for Roman Catholics to reserve "judgment" of Orthodox praxis than it is on the Orthodox side (e.g. when your present pope calls Orthodox praxis "deficient"). We have not changed in two millennia in our fasting minimum of 12 hours prior to reception of the Eucharist. Your tradition has reduced it to just an hour before reception including time elapsed in the service itself. I have only remarked that it is hard to fathom from an Orthodox POV and seems to borderline the classical concept of fasting. I haven't called the pope an antichrist or said your fasting practices are heretical.

The rules of fasting for Catholics set out a *minimum*--one is certainly free to and usually encouraged to do more, according to one's ability, state of life,  and, if available, one's spiritual director.
As I said (and no one has countered) I could claim to fast every day of my life not only while sleeping but between my three daily meals by that kind of definition. Most Protestants fast before communion on your definition even if they eat a whole box of donuts in Sunday School before the regular service. I don't think I'm being rude or judgmental in saying that it's hard for me to label that minimum as a fast (we Orthodox fast quite a bit -perhaps we are just jealous of your diet  Wink ) and forgive me if it seems that way to you -just personal observation/"Orthodox-Catholic Discussion". Take it with a grain of salt.
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« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2012, 06:35:00 PM »

And yet another thread shows an astounding amount of charity and respect.
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« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2012, 08:32:49 PM »

If I'm not mistaken "fasting" in the RC tradition is more about "how much" than "what" you eat while "abstinence" is more about "what" you eat. If done properly, only eating close to half of what you normally eat throughout the day and always being hungry, regardless of "what" it is you're eating, can be just as effective at struggling against the passions and spending less on food to have more to give to charity.
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« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2012, 08:39:20 PM »

If I'm not mistaken "fasting" in the RC tradition is more about "how much" than "what" you eat while "abstinence" is more about "what" you eat. If done properly, only eating close to half of what you normally eat throughout the day and always being hungry, regardless of "what" it is you're eating, can be just as effective at struggling against the passions and spending less on food to have more to give to charity.

^---------------Justifying eating off the McDonald's Dollar Menu during Lent again.
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« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2012, 08:42:06 PM »

If I'm not mistaken "fasting" in the RC tradition is more about "how much" than "what" you eat while "abstinence" is more about "what" you eat. If done properly, only eating close to half of what you normally eat throughout the day and always being hungry, regardless of "what" it is you're eating, can be just as effective at struggling against the passions and spending less on food to have more to give to charity.
^---------------Justifying eating off the McDonald's Dollar Menu during Lent again.

If I want to keep the fast while eating fast food (no pun intended), I'll get the shrimp platter at Long John Silvers.
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« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2012, 08:50:41 PM »

If I'm not mistaken "fasting" in the RC tradition is more about "how much" than "what" you eat while "abstinence" is more about "what" you eat. If done properly, only eating close to half of what you normally eat throughout the day and always being hungry, regardless of "what" it is you're eating, can be just as effective at struggling against the passions and spending less on food to have more to give to charity.

^---------------Justifying eating off the McDonald's Dollar Menu during Lent again.

Hey, that $7 you save by not going to Whole Foods is money you can give to alms. That's plenty of justification.
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« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2012, 08:51:04 PM »

And yet another thread shows an astounding amount of charity and respect.

To be perfectly honest with all of you, I absolutely abhor threads and conversations about fasting. We were brought up to heed St. Paul's words about fasting and not worry about what my brother is doing or telling others what I doing.  After all, St. John Chrysostom recognized long ago that not all of us can or choose to fast with equal vigor.  "Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away." http://oca.org/FSsermons-details.asp?SID=4&ID=10

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« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2012, 10:30:20 PM »

Again, to both you and Maria, I would say (echoing what I've already written): Yes, you can't do that. You don't fast so that other people know you're fasting or to compare yourself favorably or unfavorably to anyone. In fact, I have heard Coptic priests say that it is best not to have any mirror in the vicinity of where you pray, lest you be tempted to wonder if you look "holy" while you pray. I think it is good advice. I think it is best to only concentrate on the fact that you are fasting or praying when confronting yourself on your own rule and how you can follow it better. Do not bring other people into it except for your spiritual father, who can guide you to good practices. I've also asked some of the senior members of our congregation for their thoughts on fasting and they all provided wonderful advice, none of which pointed to anything that anyone else does or doesn't do. The great fast is a time for reflection and repentance, and encouragement of others on the same journey. Anything not in that spirit is not helpful. I pray that all under Rome experience true transformation this Lent.

Again, you misread. I was not fasting in public with my head covered in ashes or beating my breast.

As a Catholic, whenever I would go to a restaurant with a group of Catholics on Wednesdays or Fridays, I would order something Lenten very discretely, and not make a fuss. However, in every crowd, there would be some jerk who would say, "Oh, trying to be 'holier than the Pope' by ordering something Lenten on Wednesday/Friday." I never pointed out that I was fasting, but these jerks would be the one to point out that I was ordering fish or something without MEAT, like that was a CARDINAL SIN. It put me in a terrible bind.  Roll Eyes



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« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2012, 11:37:35 PM »

And yet another thread shows an astounding amount of charity and respect.

To be perfectly honest with all of you, I absolutely abhor threads and conversations about fasting. We were brought up to heed St. Paul's words about fasting and not worry about what my brother is doing or telling others what I doing.  After all, St. John Chrysostom recognized long ago that not all of us can or choose to fast with equal vigor.  "Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away." http://oca.org/FSsermons-details.asp?SID=4&ID=10


I strongly agree with this if one is looking at someone's individual plate, for example. But conversations and even debates about fasting -i.e. fasting per se- have a long and venerable history from the patristic period to the present. To eschew all conversation and debate about fasting would be, I think, contrary to the mind of the Church as witnessed by the fathers and saints of old.

But it is not without very good reason that we in the Orthodox Church read Romans 14 during this season! And St. John Chrysostom was certainly right on the money alongside Paul in his wise remarks.
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« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2012, 11:59:37 PM »

Again, to both you and Maria, I would say (echoing what I've already written): Yes, you can't do that. You don't fast so that other people know you're fasting or to compare yourself favorably or unfavorably to anyone. In fact, I have heard Coptic priests say that it is best not to have any mirror in the vicinity of where you pray, lest you be tempted to wonder if you look "holy" while you pray. I think it is good advice. I think it is best to only concentrate on the fact that you are fasting or praying when confronting yourself on your own rule and how you can follow it better. Do not bring other people into it except for your spiritual father, who can guide you to good practices. I've also asked some of the senior members of our congregation for their thoughts on fasting and they all provided wonderful advice, none of which pointed to anything that anyone else does or doesn't do. The great fast is a time for reflection and repentance, and encouragement of others on the same journey. Anything not in that spirit is not helpful. I pray that all under Rome experience true transformation this Lent.

Again, you misread. I was not fasting in public with my head covered in ashes or beating my breast.

As a Catholic, whenever I would go to a restaurant with a group of Catholics on Wednesdays or Fridays, I would order something Lenten very discretely, and not make a fuss. However, in every crowd, there would be some jerk who would say, "Oh, trying to be 'holier than the Pope' by ordering something Lenten on Wednesday/Friday." I never pointed out that I was fasting, but these jerks would be the one to point out that I was ordering fish or something without MEAT, like that was a CARDINAL SIN. It put me in a terrible bind.  Roll Eyes


I'm not sure why this is written in response to what I've written. If I've misread something or caused offense, I apologize. I think we're on the same page. I am not a Roman Catholic anymore but dealt with many similar situations when I was.
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« Reply #29 on: February 23, 2012, 12:15:14 AM »

Again, to both you and Maria, I would say (echoing what I've already written): Yes, you can't do that. You don't fast so that other people know you're fasting or to compare yourself favorably or unfavorably to anyone. In fact, I have heard Coptic priests say that it is best not to have any mirror in the vicinity of where you pray, lest you be tempted to wonder if you look "holy" while you pray. I think it is good advice. I think it is best to only concentrate on the fact that you are fasting or praying when confronting yourself on your own rule and how you can follow it better. Do not bring other people into it except for your spiritual father, who can guide you to good practices. I've also asked some of the senior members of our congregation for their thoughts on fasting and they all provided wonderful advice, none of which pointed to anything that anyone else does or doesn't do. The great fast is a time for reflection and repentance, and encouragement of others on the same journey. Anything not in that spirit is not helpful. I pray that all under Rome experience true transformation this Lent.

Again, you misread. I was not fasting in public with my head covered in ashes or beating my breast.

As a Catholic, whenever I would go to a restaurant with a group of Catholics on Wednesdays or Fridays, I would order something Lenten very discretely, and not make a fuss. However, in every crowd, there would be some jerk who would say, "Oh, trying to be 'holier than the Pope' by ordering something Lenten on Wednesday/Friday." I never pointed out that I was fasting, but these jerks would be the one to point out that I was ordering fish or something without MEAT, like that was a CARDINAL SIN. It put me in a terrible bind.  Roll Eyes


I'm not sure why this is written in response to what I've written. If I've misread something or caused offense, I apologize. I think we're on the same page. I am not a Roman Catholic anymore but dealt with many similar situations when I was.

I guess I misunderstood you. My apologies.

These situations upset me so much that when I learned about Orthodoxy, I was overjoyed.
Whoever coined "Don't be holier than the Pope" should be tarred and feathered.
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« Reply #30 on: February 23, 2012, 03:55:31 AM »

These situations upset me so much that when I learned about Orthodoxy, I was overjoyed.

Sorry to disappoint you but I've had a similar situation with Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2012, 04:10:05 AM »

These situations upset me so much that when I learned about Orthodoxy, I was overjoyed.

Sorry to disappoint you but I've had a similar situation with Orthodoxy.

I can understand. I guess each of us must pick our battles.

I could no longer be a part of a church where we were constantly compared with the Pope.
I mean, the guy was not even dead and canonized, and yet he was cast as the epitome of holiness?
Give me a break.

When my beliefs in Papal Infallibility and Papal Supremacy went south, I was set free to inquire about Orthodoxy.

In my search, I discovered that prayer and fasting are essential for our spiritual growth.
Christ said "When you fast," not "if you decide to fast."
Then we all have our demons to fight, and certain demons can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.
Prayer and fasting (the two go together) are essential in the fight against temptation and sin.
Yet, without charity, prayer and fasting could lead us into prelest and even damnation.
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« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2012, 11:01:32 AM »

And yet another thread shows an astounding amount of charity and respect.

To be perfectly honest with all of you, I absolutely abhor threads and conversations about fasting. We were brought up to heed St. Paul's words about fasting and not worry about what my brother is doing or telling others what I doing.  After all, St. John Chrysostom recognized long ago that not all of us can or choose to fast with equal vigor.  "Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away." http://oca.org/FSsermons-details.asp?SID=4&ID=10


I strongly agree with this if one is looking at someone's individual plate, for example. But conversations and even debates about fasting -i.e. fasting per se- have a long and venerable history from the patristic period to the present. To eschew all conversation and debate about fasting would be, I think, contrary to the mind of the Church as witnessed by the fathers and saints of old.

But it is not without very good reason that we in the Orthodox Church read Romans 14 during this season! And St. John Chrysostom was certainly right on the money alongside Paul in his wise remarks.

Just to be clear, I agree that discussing 'fasting per se' is important and I was referring to that part of human nature which makes us either boastful of our own acts or overly concerned about that which our brothers and sisters are doing. Sort of the same issues confronted by St. Paul and St. John Chrysostom. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
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« Reply #33 on: February 23, 2012, 11:03:33 AM »


I live in a predominantly Catholic area with many Catholic churches. Whenever I have to tell people around me (Christians) that I am on Fast, they immediately ask (rhetorically), "Is't already Ramadan?". I even heard Pope Benedict XVl admiring Muslims for their discipline during their Ramadan 'fast'. Why didn't the Pope try to give examples from his own Ethiopian Christian floks who follow a very strict fasting ritual throughout the year?

Anyways,

For Lent this year, one Protestant denomination is calling members to give up something a little more difficult for some: alcohol.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/lent-united-methodist-church-calls-for-alcohol-free-season-70074/

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