Dean Franck is a first year student in the Master's of Divinity Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.
It is a great blessing to be provided ecclesiastical occasions in which we can delve deeper into our Orthodoxy Christian spirituality. This time of the year we experience the Nativity Fast, and not only the fast but the pure starting ground it provides us for spiritual work. “Fasting isn’t an end, but rather a means for purification from the passions. This is why the Fathers liken it to a sword or a knife which cuts off the passions.”
The genuine essence of fasting should be our expression of repentance. In abstaining from the earthly pleasures we recognize ourselves as sinners before the Lord as we unworthily approach His Nativity. “Let us observe the fast not only by refraining from food, but by putting away all material passions, so that we, who are enslaved by the tyranny of the flesh, may become worthy to partake of the Lamb. While fasting in the body, brethren, let us also fast in the spirit. Let us loose every bond of injustice, let us undo the noose of harsh bargains and cancel every unjust account. Let us give bread to the hungry and bring the homeless poor into our home, that we may receive great mercy from Christ our God.”
Not only does the Nativity aspire to help us see the Truth, it creates social awareness as we eliminate personal items which can be given back to the whole body of Christ. “The Fathers of the Church insist that fasting must be accompanied by almsgiving. The faithful should cut out something and offer that to somebody who is in need. In other words, it’s an act of love.”
As we go forward with the Nativity season, and the Nativity Fast, may we have joy in our hearts for the opportunity to feel the Birth of Christ within us. May we all look to the Holy Mother of God as the Greatest Example in our ascetic labors.
In order to view the full article about the fast, please click at www.pemptousia.com.
The Orthodox Christian Network offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance OrthodoxChristian life. Through our strategic partnership with Pemptousia, we are able to share similarcontent from Mount Athos, Greece. Pemptousia is published by the “SAINT MAXIM THE GREEK” Institute for the Research, Preservation, and Promotion of Spiritual and Cultural Traditions and is available online, in several languages. The article above is an example of the wealth of their Orthodox content.
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