Advent: a plan of action

Christmas fast approaching, and naturally, and then hear the question: how best to spend it than this time must be different from the other, “nepolnogo” what, finally, spiritual meaning that is pre-Christmas period of abstinence.


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Igumen Nektary (Morozov)

Of course, such questions ask for the benefit of people more or less “churched”. For those who make only taking the first steps towards the Christian life a post (any post, be it Great or post Wednesdays and Fridays) is perceived as a feat requiring such exertion, and not to “particulars” already. Here’s how to be a happy New year with a feast with family or corporate party at work ― Yes, it’s a problem…

And it is not only the desire to eat heartily here it is! Who knows what pressure the medium is subjected to a first fasting! Sidelong glances of the unbelievers colleagues, whispers, taunts… Sometimes even to threats from the authorities comes. One of my friend his head said:

― And well, eat! Eat, I say! What other Church Charter, your Charter is me! Eat, and then fired!

So if novonatalivka’t Christian, no matter what the temptation, do not break the fast, shouldn’t I, he feels, if not a Martyr, then at least a Confessor.

And the meaning of lent, including a spiritual, understands: he does not eat when everyone is eating and drinking when everyone drinks, not because he is better or worse than anyone, but because he is a Christian.

This is similar to the sinking feeling of hunger in his stomach, a slight dizziness, caused by lack of habit to a plant-based food… And despite the seeming carelessness and physiology of its reminder this is a very effective, very important ― especially, again, at the time of the initial Christian formation.

However, it takes a year, two, three and it’s addictive ― to the more modest diet (especially as it turns out, may be not-so-humble ― how many Goodies there are lean!), and ambiguous relationship to our deeds of others that they too, in turn, get used to it.

And then the question arises about the meaning of lent. No, not about the spiritual meaning of the post itself — this is also usually the person understands before. And about what, say, the actual meaning of advent, assumption or Petrovsky. With the Great simple. And Easter holiday is exceptional and all the Lenten Liturgy sets the soul in penitential mood, and passion week with her touching songs and prayers born in the heart the desire, at least in some small measure “to postradat the Lord Christ.”

But here’s three posts — what can be said about them? Why we are just before these holidays fast — before Christmas, the Assumption and the memory of the Holy apostles? Why, for example, fasting before the exaltation of the cross or the Nativity of the Mother of God or Nativity of the forerunner? What are the characteristics of each of these three posts — not in terms of the rigor of abstinence, but in the spiritual sense, of course?

Probably every priest, to whom such voprosami turn, can offer his own answer. So do I. I think that there is no need to understand why before some holidays we fast, and before other no. That’s not the point. Parents — if they are wise and caring — often set for their children rules that are not always “logical”, but, nevertheless, useful to them. And the Church is for us the mother and, without doubt, a wise and caring. And all it has to offer to us not just useful — saving. The same is true of posts you could say.

They are not accidentally more or less evenly distributed throughout the annual circle, they set thus determined the rhythm of the Christian spiritual life, if it is possible that expression here to use. Anyone who decides to live a seriously Christian (is not a random clause: the baptized people who not only did not dare, but do not even know that it means a lot), definitely is faced with the fact how difficult all the time to be in suspense.

Yes, it is in tension because working on oneself, the struggle with the passions of the electricity demand, and serious. But when a person is constantly tense, it often leads to fatigue failure is also a fact all probably known. However, there is a solution: alternating stress intensity is greater with lesser, so much easier, evidenced by the experience, it allows to avoid internal breaking. And I think that one of the most natural, comfortable, if you will, of the ways this alternation is posts. And this is — again, in my opinion, their main sense.

Abstinence from certain types of food, more frequent attendance at religious services, extra prayers, greater rigour and care in relation to his external and internal life — perfect conditions for so hard is given to us usually samooborone. The things we used to do in my life of inertia is the path of least resistance, obviously easier. By inertia we make the same mistakes, correct what needs correction, inertia did not dare to stop and actually think seriously of inertia sin…

And post — the best way to overcome this inertia is due to the change of the same “spiritual rhythm”. I think many would agree that sometimes just the post could do with something to cope yourself, take long to make a decision, to understand something. This is not an accident, it is a pattern. The post we are little more than ordinary spiritual work through this and become spiritually more experienced and stronger. It’s in the first place. And secondly, and more importantly, the Lord sees this work and gives us the necessary strength and grace.

Photo: DmitriyNoskov,

So I think that every post is intended to become for the Christian the time, a kind of spiritual audit. If that’s the way to treat him, to approach him, and the fruits of it will be relevant.

What are the rules for such an audit, how to proceed? Share your thoughts and little “finds”.

Like a General before the battle, contemplating his plan to the smallest detail and if it thinks, it suffers often lose — and Christian, getting to the post before it needs to sit down and think about your “plan”. Something like this:

“I’m a little bad praying. Sometimes I justify myself with fatigue and the fact that I don’t have time, read “Serafimovo rule”, sometimes simply omitted morning and evening prayers, sometimes — they read hastily and without attention. But I still have time and energy to watch TV, chat with someone absolutely nothing on the phone, aimlessly surf the web. That is a little bad I pray first of all because I live sparsely and not assembled.

Does that mean post-for a change. The rule to omit or reduce for these guards, days will not. I will also closely monitor what and why I’m wasting my time, which is always “not enough.”

I’m a bad confession. To confession formally. I remember those sins, which “probably was”, not “just was”… And repent of them cold and without the participation of the heart. I don’t heed myself, as it should not listen to the quiet voice of his conscience, nor feel truly neither to confession nor at any other time.

Does that mean never go to sleep, not understanding what made the day bad not to understand why I did it. Fall asleep, those acts of God I detach, without mourning, without asking for them in prayer for forgiveness.

I was so judgmental. Many say, do not follow the words, I do not think — I say, why, and in my speeches constantly breaks the judgment, and not only when I do someone angry, and just so casually, at the same time.

Does that mean the first day of fasting will speak less, I will think about what are going to tell dare about anyone at all unless absolutely necessary not to judge…”

This “plan”, or rather a sketch of him would continue to expand, make it more wider. But I think the principle is crystal clear. Just be sure it is important during fasting, especially a long as Christmas, a few times as well here to sit down and ponder as to whether I carry out this plan, not if I retreated from him, not lost, whether jealousy? And to correct what is faulty…

There, along with the above examples of human weaknesses, things that we can’t handle for very long and that, meanwhile, a weight on our soul and not given to follow Christ, are forced to stagnate or even away from God driven. It may be different habits — from Smoking to drinking, different sins — from profanity to adultery. Different… But they have in common one thing: they tied the soul of man is invisible, but strong fetters, and he can not escape, to escape from them. And post — the best time for a godly escape from this captivity.

To determine for yourself before you begin the spiritual battle of this main, imprison the enemy to understand how he tied us up, deprives us of strength for saving “breakthrough”. To understand why, and correct People, deprives us of this enemy. Afraid to start a fight — seriously, without delays, without excuses.

And most importantly — during the time of the deed, the time of fasting to pray with prostrations, with contrition of heart that the Lord’s determination to break with the addiction, the sin, the commitment of which we are so lacking, without which we are powerless Salema on the ground, unable to aspire to our native heaven.

And, of course, there are many things that we ourselves do not notice that harms our soul from the outside or, conversely, live in it, and so separates from God. And again — we need to pray and ask the Lord showed us this — both external and internal evil that we had to hate him and to be removed or cleansed from it.

And in prayer — to watch what will happen to us post to happen, because the Lord shows us what is outside and what is inside, usually through various temptations, which opens one and another.

That’s about how I feel about hold fast, possible use. Only, of course, it is very important to understand what is said here about the “change of rhythm”, “the alternation of greater and lesser tension” correctly. First, most of these expressions are imperfect, as imperfect are words designed to reflect a particular spiritual reality.

And secondly, “change” and “alternation”, while necessary, does not mean that after a post you can relax and safely to negate something during his with the help of God managed to achieve. And then, when the time comes, the next post start all over again from scratch or even a mark significantly below it. No, just fasting should be a time of particular stress our forces to rise to new heights. And then, without this voltage, at this altitude it is necessary to continue to live. And to prepare for the new post and a new recovery — albeit a tiny, almost invisible, but for us the obvious.

It should be ideally. And very often it does not work. And still should be…

See also:

  • Advent: advice and answers priests
  • Christmas post: post yourself, not other (+Video)
  • Post: 10 useful 10 harmful things

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