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Saturday, February 23, 2013


Reading the way of the Pilgrim and came across the Eastern, in this case Russian, Orthodox discipline of fasting. They abstain from meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, oil and wine. Obviously that leaves grains, vegetables and fruits. The act of fasting occured numerous times a year including what we know as lent and advent, plus the first two weeks in August, the between one and six weeks between Pentecost and June 29th and numerous one day fasts associated with various holy days.

Ironically, in our own day when we have so much more food, fasting is less popular as a discipline. One is reminded of the adage, those who have little can easily embrace nothing, those with much feel the discipline more sternly. While fasting is a helpful discipline for our prayer life (and according to many a healthful practice as well) it is often times neglected.

I am aware of the dangers of fasting as an empty discipline. I also know that in the Scriptures our God calls for us to fast from injustice. Sometimes it is easier to be hungry than it is to create a God ordained social order. Even so, it seems that fasting, which aids our prayer, would be a welcome addition to our lenten practice. One who prays more deeply is more open to a spirit of justice, right?

Perhaps someone needs to hear this, perhaps it will serve as a motivation or a divine affirmation of an impulse to fast. I know that fasting does quiet the soul and makes prayer easier for me.

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