Since my childhood I have had quite strange and all together interesting perceptions of the Great fast period. It is foremost due to the «picture», which primarily impresses a child: the usual church changes its clothing. Purple-colored dressing, strange cold of uncovered altars and icons which are always enfolded with different embroidered cloths as well as church banners – they are also left without clothing.
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So much time has passed away but my visualization of the fast is still the same. That is why I have so many inner controversies. I don’t want to be sad during the fast, my inner self says to me. When I see snowdrops blooming all around, I cannot penetrate too much into sorrowful church setting.
So, my sober mind says, what is all this about?
Actually, every year I manage to live the fasting period in a different way. I’ll say immediately that it is a pity to waste this time, to dismiss an opportunity to change something. In order not to have it happened I write to myself in advance what I like the fast for and what it means to me.
- A fast is not sad. It’s just a time when God decides to be silent. It’s like when mum or dad or a beloved one is away on business. For instance, for 40 days and you can associate with them only by Skype, on Wednesdays and Fridays, and on Sundays they can come to see you. Separation teaches to be responsible – you suddenly understand that it’s so good that your parents are near you every day.
- Fasting is not about excluding meat. Since I don’t like it that much. For me it means dedicating some time to prepare simple but fresh and nutritional food; and in this way to manifest respect to my body given to me by God. Yes, I am always short of time to take care of my stomach but later it harms me.
- Fasting is finally about finding more time for prayer and silence to stay with those who need my presence – relatives, friends, or strangers.
- It’s about working a little bit more but not wasting time for secondary or even harmful things.
- It’s about resting a little bit more (only if the point 4 in its second part is accomplished)
- It means to thank daily for everything one has. In order to learn to be ready to sacrifice everything I have. As Job once did and as Jesus once did.
- It is an opportunity to appreciate every minute of feeling good. Since I know how it feels like to wake up in the morning with fear. When I just get up and quietly go to work – I learn to be grateful for the most precious things in my life.
Looking through the drawings made by a CP boy purchased in a charitable auction sale, which are incredible works, I understand how much each of us can do. My small contribution has immediately returned to me a hundredfold. Fasting is about our heart growing with warmth and love which flourish inside of us.