The Great Fast…


“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor 6:2.

It’s impossible to observe the Great Fast to the letter if you live in a non-Orthodox environment, as I do. I live with my parents, both of them secularists who think that my Christian faith is a private eccentricity. To make matters worse, my father is almost a pure carnivore; that is to say, he cannot eat a single meal (except fish and chips) without a portion of beef or lamb or pork or chicken. The dilemma I face is simply this: do I make a spectacle of myself, like the Pharisee, and say to my parents, “I can’t eat that, or drink this, because I am fasting,” or do I ask nothing and refuse nothing? I make my own small sacrifices but I feel trapped at home and therefore the Great Fast is less, for me, a time of unburdening myself of the perishable things of luxury but a time of distress and frustration. Are any of you in a similar situation? I read here an interesting article about Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option.” I suppose in this sort of “utopia,” one would be free to observe the fasts of the Christian kalendar but something always holds me back.

5 thoughts on “The Great Fast…

  1. I saw the pingback on my blog site. In this life where others around us don’t share the same values, I recommend going along with your parents outwards. It can be another matter if you get your own food and go for a vegan meal. The important thing is our Idealism and seeking the real “me”, and not comparing ourselves with other people. The real purpose of Lent is an analogy for the preparation of the catechumens for Baptism. I agree it would be pharisaical to impose our religious observances on those of another philosophy of life. I suggest more reading and “alone time” in nature, which are both pleasures and an inward journey – which for me Lent is all about. How do we avoid the Three Temptations and how do we understand them?


  2. I’m surprised that you were thinking of doing the Great Fast in its entirety so soon. My advice would be to try to do it on Fridays only, making your own meals if need be. It’s hard to fast outside a community.


  3. There is a difference between solitude and loneliness. It is possible to “sublimate” loneliness into solitude and live in a different way. I encourage you to have “alone” time and make the best of it out of the house or in nature. Learn about Romanticism and discover another philosophy of life – though you already know so much about Tolkien. Spend days with your priest away from home even if you sleep on the sofa or on the floor with a sleeping bag!


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