— Vladyka, people today are already deprived of their everyday joys, while fasting seems to be taking away the last remaining of them. How should we be fasting under these conditions?
— Earthly life was given to man so that we could achieve eternal salvation. Much in our lives does not depend on us. We do not get to choose when or where to be born, or who will become our parents.
All this is given to us by God as part of His providential care for man, while our main goal is to use all our strength to cleanse our hearts and prepare our souls for living in eternity.
We will not get much further in that by complaining about our current difficult situation. When we feel good, we often forget about God and rarely thank Him. Often we remember God only when we encounter unpleasant experiences or difficulties. This is when we begin looking for reasons why they take place in our life.
Everything is clear to a believer, because a believer is focused on spiritual life. Spiritual life is always an internal struggle, a desire to see our real selves in the true light.
When we see all our imperfection, we must correct it with all possible means. Fasting is certainly one of them.
It is wrong to think that there is some special kind of abstinence or some allowances making fasting different in the times of crisis. The only real difference here is the situation itself, forcing us to think about the meaning of our life, to comprehend the essence of the events and our actions.
One should always fast in a way that brings spiritual benefit, which will come only when we learn humility not theoretically, but to the extent of understanding our complete inability to achieve perfection on our own. Let us be kinder to those people who go through these difficult times without the gracious help that we, Christians, have in church.
As our liturgical books tell us, fasting is called to destroy and erase our inner corpulence through self-abasement and self-restraint. Fasting is a way to achieve gentleness of the soul, which makes a person able to hear God and accept another person.
Our main goal in the fast is to fall in love with God again and to regain the lost paradise.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds