The fast, it means an extra little bit on our part.
It is a given that during a fast period (like the one we are in right now) one does not eat meat and other foods, or at least tries and be modest about what one does eat. Certainly this is a very important part of preparing ourselves for whatever feast or event we have coming up, but it is only part of the equation.
In the same way that no athlete consumes a special high protein diet, only to sit on the couch and watch TV until the big game, we shouldn't simply change our eating habits only to carry on life as normal. If that kind of training doesn't work for a NHL hockey player, why would it work for us spiritually.
A period of fasting gives us an opportunity to prepare ourselves in a complete way. We change up our diet, that is certainly a necessary consideration, but we also do a little extra.
- We also should be praying more often. If you don't have a rule of prayer, talk to your priest (or your spiritual father/mother) we can figure something that works for you.
- We should try and read more scripture. If you don't read the bible at all, or only occasionally, work to make it a daily habit with just a chapter a day from the Gospels.
- We should offer more charity and alms. Examine the treats you have during the week (Starbucks, Tim Horton's, chocolate bars, movies, magazines ect) and instead of indulging yourself, offer that money to a beggar, or a homeless shelter. Purchase extra groceries so that we can put something in our Food Bank hamper. Let us fill it every week.
- We should go to Church a little more. Please note, I said "a little more", not every service. It is funny how many people can confuse attending one or two extra services in month with being stuck in a monastery for life, this is simply not the case. Take that time you would be normally hanging out at home watching cat videos on YouTube, and offer it to Christ by going to Church.
- We should go to Confession. If you go to confession more than once a year... or never, this is the time. The fast, if anything, works to cultivate in us a sense of both honesty and accountability, towards God, and our family friends, and even strangers. This can't happen in a vacuum.
From Our Dean, Father Gregory Scratch