Regular weekly fasting

Hermetic Seal

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
Fasting is a tool to help you bring the body into subject to the spirit. Breaking it is not a sin, but it’s depriving yourself of a helpful teaching that Christ both gave and followed Himself.

This is a great way to explain it. Often, protestants in particular see features of Orthodoxy like fasting, Baptism, Chrismation, confession, the Eucharist, and so on, and think it's "WORK SALVATION", things we do to impress God akin to the Pharisaic religion.

But really, these are tools and gifts that God does for us or gives us to help us become holy. A lack of recognition of these resources (or misunderstanding) is, I think, directly correlated to the general lack of emphasis on holiness and rampant antinomianism in the evangelical world.

The fact that Orthodoxy gave me tools and teachings that were actually helpful in dealing with my spiritual problems made it feel empirical and concrete in a way that my previous evangelical experience did not.
 

tractor

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Nothing more to add here, I think. It's not a sin to stumble. I noticed that there might be some minor differences among the different Patriarchates. Some prescribe to completely abstain from food on the first three days of the Great Lent, some only on the first Monday. Likewise, there might be some variations during the weekly fasts on Wednesday and Friday as to whether wine and oil are allowed. Sometimes it's recommended to break the fast when the sun goes down.

So you can get the idea that those rules are not commandments. Just follow the fasting rule of your Church and don't think too much about food.

Usually, I skip breakfast on Wednesdays and Fridays in order to win some time for my morning prayers.

This is a great way to explain it. Often, protestants in particular see features of Orthodoxy like fasting, Baptism, Chrismation, confession, the Eucharist, and so on, and think it's "WORK SALVATION", things we do to impress God akin to the Pharisaic religion.

But really, these are tools and gifts that God does for us or gives us to help us become holy. A lack of recognition of these resources (or misunderstanding) is, I think, directly correlated to the general lack of emphasis on holiness and rampant antinomianism in the evangelical world.

The fact that Orthodoxy gave me tools and teachings that were actually helpful in dealing with my spiritual problems made it feel empirical and concrete in a way that my previous evangelical experience did not.

Great point. The protestants have this amazing skill to ruin the depth and richness of the Faith because "muh unnecessary" but then they have no problem with secular alternatives.

My wife (a Lutheran) frequently gets bitchy on Wednesdays and Fridays because of my "Pharisaic" practices but when she suddenly discovers Paleo and buys all these overpriced products (almond flour etc.), which strain our budget, to make "healthy" cookies I should totally respect it lmao:squintlol:
 

OrthoLeaf

Sparrow
Orthodox
Why couldn't we cast him out? And He said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. - Mark 9:28-29

"The best and shortest guiding rule to those who wish to live as they should is to keep to the three all-embracing practices of virtue: fasting, watchfulness and prayer, which gives necessary stability to all virtues." - St Gregory Palamas.

"Gluttony makes a man gloomy and fearful, but fasting makes him joyful and courageous.
And, as gluttony calls forth greater and greater gluttony, so fasting stimulates greater and greater endurance.
When a man realizes the grace that comes through fasting, he desires to fast more and more.
And the graces that come through fasting are countless..."
- St Nikolai of Zicha


I could cite dozens and dozens of saints echoing a similar sentiment, but this is enough to demonstrate how important both Christ and the saints of His Church view fasting. Both Palamas and Christ place it along side prayer! Can you live a Christian life without prayer? No. So what does this tell you on the importance of fasting to the Christian life?

So is fasting a rule? Yes. Is it also a recommendation? Also yes. Are you going to be condemned because you ate cheese on a friday? Of course not; the point to fasting is not a legalistic adherence to a diet but an indispensable tool to be used to overcome your passions.

"Prayer, fasting, vigils, and all other Christian practices, however good they are in themselves, do not constitute the goal of our Christian life, although they serve as a necessary means to its attainment. The true goal of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. Fasting, vigils, prayers, alms-giving and all good deeds done for the sake of Christ are but means for the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. But note, my son, that only a good deed done for the sake of Christ brings us the fruits of the Holy Spirit. All that is done, if it is not for Christ’s sake, although it may be good, brings us no reward in the life to come, nor does it give us God’s grace in the present life." - St Seraphim of Sarov
 

jeffinjapan

Sparrow
Orthodox
Fasting is a tool to help you bring the body into subject to the spirit. Breaking it is not a sin, but it’s depriving yourself of a helpful teaching that Christ both gave and followed Himself.
I can get quite scrupulous in regards to fasting and the fact that I’m a terrible at it makes it a heavy cross.
 
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