Met. Anthony (Pakanich): Nativity fast is a time of change
Christmas Fast Is Time for Change
Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) dwells on the important things to do during the Nativity Fast 2020 – 2021.
What is our life filled with? Usually it is work, leisure and everyday routine. We relax, flipping through the news feed and watching meaningless TV shows. Doing so, we steal from ourselves our own lives, that short time on Earth that is given to us for something else.
Isn’t it enough to just run our eyes across the main points in text without burying ourselves in it? We should not allow ourselves to be drawn into this funnel of contradictory, unverified, mostly unnecessary information, which consumes our vital energy, leaving us nothing but weariness and making us promiscuous and, as a result, defenceless. Ironically, we seem to be willingly opening the gates of our “fortresses” to all these things that are directed, in fact, against us.
What should we do instead? Let us replace the news with live communication and call someone whose face we have already forgotten. Let us rush into someone’s dull everyday life like a warm wind bringing hope and faith on a chilly winter day. I am sure that we will find joy and energy where we never expected.
Let us try to stop being mechanisms and become personalities in the true sense of the word by showing a genuine interest in someone. Let us force ourselves and do it as an experiment.
At least we will have an experience, which, perhaps, we would want to return to.
Let us sow good, hoping that, perhaps, it will sprout in our garden.
Maybe pulling ourselves out of that routine, we can gradually learn to distinguish between a spring and a swamp. Maybe that will help us stop being so gullible and begin to distinguish between truth and false.
Why don’t we try to look to the sky, not at our feet? There are stars and constellations there, looking especially bright on a frosty night.
The Nativity of Christ is a holiday of the heart. In order for a holiday to be a holiday, we need to prepare for it.
Our heart can become either a wonderfully-lit home, ready to accept the King of Kings, or a broken, crooked shack, which even drafts stay away from.
Do not be burdened with life, try to comprehend it, look for meaning in everything, and you will be sure to find it.
Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) explains what is important to have time to do during the Nativity Fast 2020–2021.
What is our life filled with? Work, leisure, everyday life. We relax, flipping through the news feed, watching meaningless TV shows. Thus, we steal life from ourselves, that little time on Earth that is not allotted to us for this.
Isn’t it enough to go over the main points without diving? You should not allow yourself to be drawn into this funnel of contradictory, unverified, mostly unnecessary information for us, which draws out vital energy from us and leaves us no energy for anything else, makes us illegible and, as a result, defenseless. We ourselves open the gates of our fortress in front of everything that is directed, in fact, against us.
What to do? Replace the news with live communication. Call the one whose face you’ve already forgotten. Believe me, you will find joy and energy where you never expected, rush with a warm wind on a chilly winter day into someone’s dull, everyday life – and give hope and faith.
Try to show a genuine interest in someone. Stop being a mechanism, but at least for a short while become a person in the true sense of the word. Try to force yourself, so, as an experiment.
You will at least have an experience, perhaps one that you will yearn for.
Proceed at least from the principle: this good, perhaps it will sprout in your garden.
By pulling yourself out of your routine, you can gradually distinguish between spring water and swamp slurry. You will not be so suggestible, there will be an understanding of the true, not false, not false.
Try to lift your head to the sky, don’t just look at your feet. The sky is decorated with stars and constellations, which are especially visible on a frosty night.
The Nativity of Christ is a holiday of the heart. And for the holiday – in order for it to be a holiday – you need to prepare.
And our heart can become a wonderful light house, capable of accepting the King of Kings, or it can remain a broken, twisted shack, which even drafts bypass.
Do not be burdened with life, try to comprehend it, look for meaning in everything – and the seeker will be surely shown it.
Recorded by Natalia Goroshkova
Why Is the Nativity Fast Necessary? How to Fast Correctly, What Is Important to Do During the Fast?
- Nativity Fast Begins: How Can We Prepare for Christ’s Arrival?
- Is Abstaining from Social Media Really Fasting?
- Why Should One Fast before the Nativity?
- Fasting, the Door to Spiritual Treasure
- Nativity Fast Begins: Let Us Receive Christ in the Cave of our Souls
– Your Beatitude, over half of days in a year are fasting days. Why are there so many? Why do we need fasting at all?
– Fasting is ancient Divine establishment. The book of Genesis tells us that immediately after the Lord created man, He forbade him to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This was the first fast in the history of mankind. And, unfortunately, Adam and Eve broke this fast. We can say that the worldly history of mankind began with a violation of fasting. Therefore, an integral component of spiritual life of a person seeking to return to the fullness of communion with God is self-restraint. This is the main goal of the fast. A person should learn to curb his desires, give priority to the spiritual over the physical. This can only be achieved through years of exercise. Fasting is precisely this kind of a spiritual exercise. That is why the Church recommends that her members constantly practice fasting. In addition to many days of fasting during almost the entire year Orthodox Christians fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. This shows how important it is for our spiritual life.
– What should a person do if he cannot fast due to health reasons?
– In such cases, indulgence in fasting is allowed. A person who cannot fast in full severity should come to a priest before beginning the fast, explain the situation to him and receive a blessing for deviation from the rigidity of the fast. Usually, based on the person’s state and circumstances of his life, the priest helps to establish such a rule of fasting that the person can manage. We should not forget that fasting is not a diet, but a time of spiritual endeavor. Even if we cannot strictly abstain from food, we can read the Word of God and offer intensified prayer to the Creator.
– Fasting is not always possible at work, at a party, on the road, or in a non-church environment. To what extent should this be countered?
– In recent years, our society has become accustomed to the fact that its significant part strives to abide by church regulations in their life. Therefore, today, during many days of fasting, as a rule, a fasting menu is offered in canteens, cafes and restaurants. Co-workers at work are also usually calm and even respectful to those of their colleagues who observe the fast. Today, there are no such difficulties that haunted believers in Soviet society. Then society actively opposed religion. And openly declaring that you are fasting in Soviet times was almost a feat of confession. Nevertheless, even today our society is still far from true religiosity, because the life of a church person in a secular world carries many temptations.
We should remember that fasting is not just abstinence from certain types of food, but also time when we should teach ourselves to treat our neighbor with true Christian love. Loss of love, quarrels, contention and conflicts cannot be justified by the desire to observe the letter of the Church Charter. Indeed, the rejection of anger is a much more serious exercise for most of us than the rejection of certain types of food.
– What should a person who decided to fast not only gastronomically, but also inwardly, start from?
– We all know our heart very well: what are its main weaknesses, what are its main vices and passions. Therefore, when starting fasting, everyone can make a special promise that during fasting days he will refrain, for example, from jokes or idle talk, from anger or indignation. And when these unkind aspirations arise in our hearts, we should remember the promise we have made and try to suppress them right away. If we feel a special addiction to money or in general to material wealth in ourselves, then during this period we can take on a special commitment to carry out acts of charity. Thus fasting will become for us not only bodily, but also spiritual, inward activity.