Fasting—not a diet

Kiev, November 29, 2016


The Nativity Fast, which began for Orthodox Christians on November 28, gives everyone the possibility to change their inner world and transfigure their lives. Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, Managing Director of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, spoke about this on the first day of the fast, as reports the Information Center of the UOC.

“Today begins a special period which continues for forty days, ending with the celebration of the Nativity of Christ—the coming into the world of Him Who transformed human history, Him, Who is able to change the life of every one of us,” said Vladyka Anthony. “Many are interested in the peculiarities of the fasting diet of these days. But it’s important to understand that fasting is not a diet, and not simply a refusal of meat and dairy products. The fast is a special time, allotted for a man to analyze his inner world, to strengthen his prayer and to try to change his life.”

In his words, the suppression of desires and rejecting idle pastimes contributes to inner attentiveness and work on the soul.

Vladyka Anthony also noted that the Nativity Fast is a time for charity and good works.

“What can retirees, or large families, or invalids afford for lunch today? Christians have a tradition from ancient times: the money saved by not eating animal products is given to the poor and needy. This should be an important work on the path to Nativity,” said the metropolitan.

In this regard, helping your neighbor for the sake of Christ can invoke a response in our hearts and become the source of all our good deeds which will change the situation in society.

“In these pre-Nativity days it’s important to more often contemplate in Whom we believe, and try to comprehend what it means for us. Then an Orthodox Church will be like a home, prayer will be necessary, like breathing, and life will be transfigured. Preparation for the Nativity of Christ should not be limited only to gifts, feasts, and Christmas tree decorations. Take a look around and begin to do some good every day for at least one person. We mustn’t underestimate the power of small steps—all great changes begin this way. If we begin right now, much will change by Nativity. Christ has shown us the path of love, following Him in our daily lives, and this path leads to peace and prosperity for the whole country,” concluded Metropolitan Anthony.

Translated by Jesse Dominick


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