“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.