Why Do We Fast?
When we fast we become like the first man before his fall. The first man used to take his food from God and to live in fellowship with Him. Through fasting we win victory with Christ over the Devil in his deceit concerning bread and through work we announce the truth of the Scriptures: “Man shall not live by bread alone”.
Christian fasting does not mean that passive side of refraining from having food but surpasses that point to the positive side of a greater release from this passive activity to spiritual activity.
This means that fasting is a holy domain for practicing and possessing Christian virtues. The Church, especially during the Lent gives this atmosphere through her rituals, hymns and readings.
So, fasting is a good opportunity for us to grow in love with Christ and to be established in Him.
How to Fast
With thanksgiving and Joy
Fasting is not a period of deprivation ... but it is an opportunity to live with Christ, free from the needs and desires of the flesh. It is the basis of Christ’s call for us to come to Him, to sit with Him and to enjoy His fellowship and He will feed us as He fed the people before. He wants us not to worry about food, body and materialistic things. He wants us to live with Him as if we were in Heaven. It is the moments and days that we assign for living as if we were in the everlasting life where we can enjoy and taste the beauty of the angelic life without care. For the Kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. This is a generous call of Christ so we live it with thanksgiving because in fact we do not deserve that life. We live it with full joy because through fasting we surpass the limits of the flesh and the senses and we become like angels, so we rejoice.
Thanksgiving, joy and love, fill the heart with insight and enlightenment.... and give the word of God a chance to work in the deep depth of our life till commandment unites with the self and becomes confined to the fear of God.
This is the feeling of that who is not worthy... Lord, I do not deserve to fast with you or to receive the blessing of the life of the heavenly creatures because I am a sinner... I am weak... So when we fast, we do that out of mere obedience to the Commandments of God and the Church system not because we are holy people who practice the Christian virtues. We fast because we need the blessing of fasting not because we deserve these blessings, which God gives those who fast. Fasting with reverence trains us to be humble and modest, not to be haughty.
Christian monasticism means to get rid of all things that are not useful. So we eat what the body needs and refrain from satisfying the body with unnecessary things. We avoid visits and meetings that are not fruitful or necessary. We devote our life to prayer, work and reading the Holy Bible.
When we fast we do not watch movies, we do not listen to worldly songs.
The aim of our life is concentrated on serious fruitful work... and we avoid what is not serious or fruitful. This simple devoutness or simple monastic life trains us to lead the life of chastity, to control the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eye and the love for possessing things.
With True Repentance
We repent the time we spent away from the fellowship of Christ - that beloved and satiating fellowship. Through repentance, we change our way of living. We direct our hearts to Christ, his love and our cordial connection with Him. Daily repentance based on examining the self and firm treatment of her wrong deeds, and taking clear decisive decisions against the deviation of the self. Repentance must be accompanied by confession before the priest and crucifying the desires in the light of Christ.
Through the Holy Mass we can receive the Holy Communion with awareness and understanding, as this is the Holy Body and Blood of the Lord. Fasting accompanied by selected readings of the Holy Bible and the spiritual books help us understand God’s commandments and reach our defiant spiritual goal. Fasting must also be accompanied with struggle against the temptation of the devil, lest the devil should tempt us to deviate from this goal.
These practices and the struggle, which need hard work, can release the soul and give depth to the inner spiritual life for deeper relationship with Christ.