Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fasting

It takes a lot of patience, gratitude and humility to truly fast.

Why do we fast? Why do I fast?

Fasting is about not spoiling your appetite. In a religious sense, it's about not spoiling your appetite for God. If you abstain from things like certain food, then when a big meaningful celebration comes around, the delicious food is much more delicious and the celebration, much more meaningful.

Food tastes better when you are hungry. In my experience, eating because it tastes good only lasts so long before the flavor dies out and you find yourself eating just to fill something inside; for me that is generally stress or sadness, despair or loneliness. What I find in these cases is that what I really need is myself. Desperately, I need myself. Whether that be, to do something on my own, be nice to myself, do something I love or even get back to my tasks, projects, learning or working; doing something that feeds me, because I want to do it. That is what I need.

Fasting is not limited to food. Fasting is person-specific. And in the Orthodox Church, fasting is largely about almsgiving. Doing volunteer work or giving to charity is harder than most people make it sound. The truth is, if you are doing it right, you are putting others before you, not thinking about yourself.

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