I cannot persuade myself…

I cannot persuade myself that without love to others, and without, as far as rests with me, peaceableness towards all, I can be called a worthy servant of Jesus Christ.

- Saint Basil the Great, Homilies on the Psalms

Some thougths on fasting

Fasting is not optional. Neither are repentance, prayer, almsgiving, preparation, asceticism, ministering to the least among us, wisely managing our time and talents and treasures, struggling to overcome our passions, and so on. They’re all related, interconnected, essential. So fast we must—to the extent that we can—without comparing ourselves to others. 

- From an Orthodox Pastor, From the Fall 2008 issue of The Handmaiden Journal – Vol. 12

On the importance of the fasting

Oh, if you only knew what happened to the Lord on Wednesday and Friday, you would put nothing in your mouth. Neither bread, nor oil. Do not break the fast of Wednesday and Friday.

- St. Sophia, the Ascetic of the Panagia

On the Nativity Fast

… I know well how difficult fasting can be for Christians living amidst the world. They often meet with incomprehension from friends and colleagues – and not only incomprehension, but rejection and even ridicule. This sometimes causes the cowardly desire to abandon the fast, so as not to appear strange in people’s eyes or to stand out from their surroundings. But it should be firmly understood that the steadfast observance of church rules by Christians, although it might seem unusual to non-churchgoers, will command their involuntary respect. Our fasting itself can become a wordless sermon for many, reminding them of our faith and of that great and majestic event for which we are preparing by means of this fast.

I sincerely wish you to complete the course of this fast with spiritual profit, peering attentively into your souls and hearts during these days in order to cleanse them of everything that could hinder God – Who became Man for our sake and our salvation by descending from heaven to earth – from entering and making His abode in them. We will render to the Lord only the small labor of abstinence that is within our powers, and He will grant us His great and incomparable spiritual joy – the joy of the living knowledge that God has appeared unto us in order to be with us always, never leaving those who have put their trust in Him, through the joy of Christ’s radiant Nativity.

- An excerpt from “an Epistle for the Beginning of the Nativity Fast” by Met. Longin

A message from Anonymous
Hi. :) I adore this blog, because of the careful time you put into each post and response. Thank you. I am wondering, do you have a link to the full Nativity Fast article you quoted? I'm an inquirer into Orthodoxy and I'm trying to learn as much as I can week by week.

Hello dear friend,

Thank you very much for your kind comments! It’s really difficult for me to answer to all these questions that keep coming and coming, but I sincerely try :)

Sure, here is the link of the blog where I found the quote.

Also, in case you are interested, I found for you some more links about the Nativity Fast, that has started since November 15:

Orthodox Christmas resource page

Why fast before the Nativity?

The Divine Forty Liturgies and the Nativity Fast

How are we to prepare for the Nativity?

Guidelines for the Nativity Fast

The Orthodox Nativity Season

If you need anything else, just ask :)

God bless you!

On the importance of the Nativity Fast

…By our fasting we are reminded that this is not simply the birth of a baby, but God being united with man. It is the moment when the unchangeable is joined with the changeable, eternal life with mortal life, He who holds the universe in His hand and who created all comes in the flesh for our salvation.

- An excerpt from the “Nativity Fast” article

Fasting alone

Many of you that visit Ancient Faith Radio daily may have noticed a podcast series called “Food, Faith and Fasting”.

One of the podcasts is called "Fasting alone". So, what do you do when you are the only one in your home who is fasting? You have become Orthodox and your spouse has not, or you live with people who simply do not fast. What are some strategies for you to keep the fast?

Really useful for many of us, as we are already in the 9th day of the Nativity fast!

This is true fasting

It is necessary most of all for one who is fasting to curb anger, to accustom himself to meekness and condescension, to have a contrite heart, to repulse impure thoughts and desires, to examine his conscience, to put his mind to the test and to verify what good has been done by us in this or any other week, and which deficiency we have corrected in ourselves in the present week. This is true fasting.

- St. John Chrysostom

When fast is unpleasing to God

If anyone, while keeping fast, adds something to it by his own will, or if he fasts seeking men’s praise or some gain from it, such a fast is abomination in the eyes of God. And so it is in all things. Every good action, which is done not merely from the love of God, but is mingled with one’s own will, is unclean and unpleasing to God.

-St. Barsanuphius and St. John - ‘Directions in Spiritual Work’ (The Philokalia)”

Reminders: The Saints of the week + the Nativity fasting

This week, we will comemorate the Synaxis of the Holy Archangels (November 8) and St. Nektarios the Wonderworker (November 9). So, here’s an important additional reason to go to Church, to celebrate their memory!

Also, the Nativity fasting period is coming closer. It starts on November 15! (12 days left until it starts!). We will fast for 40 days. For the faithful, it is a time to purify both soul and body to enter properly into and partake of the great spiritual reality of Christ’s Coming, much like the preparation for the fast of the Lord’s Resurrection.

More posts related to these important days will come this week. So stay here! :)

About fasting

Blue skies

Fasting consists not just of eating rarely, but also of eating little. And not just in eating only one meal, but in not eating much. Foolish is the faster, who waits for a specific time [to eat a meal], but then at the time of the meal is completely consumed, body and mind, with insatiable eating.

-Saint Seraphim of Sarov

A Healthy Reminder About Fasting