How can Southerners and other good-hearted folks escape the Bacchanalia of ðe (the) modern West? One very important step would be returning to the Christian tradition of fasting found in the Orthodox Church, which both Protestants and Catholics have largely abandoned since their being sundered from her:
Fasting is not very alive and well in the Christian world. Much of that world has long lost any living connection with the historical memory of Christian fasting. It is as though they were Jews who heard there was such a thing as kosher and decided to make up the rules for what to eat and what not to eat because no one knew what was actually kosher.
There are other segments of Christendom who have tiny remnants of the traditional Christian fast, but in the face of a modern world have reduced the tradition to almost meaningless self-sacrifice.
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Fasting is not dieting. Fasting is not about keeping a Christian kosher. Fasting is about hunger and humility (which is increased as we allow ourselves to become weak). Fasting is about allowing our heart to break.
I have seen greater good accomplished in souls through their failure in the fasting season than in the souls of those who “fasted well.” Publicans enter the kingdom of God before Pharisees pretty much every time.
Why do we fast? Perhaps the more germane question is “why do we eat?” Christ quoted Scripture to the evil one and said, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” We eat as though our life depended on it and it does not. We fast because our life depends on the word of God.
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Christianity as a religion – as a theoretical system of explanations regarding heaven and hell, reward and punishment, is simply Christianity that has been distorted from its true form. Either we know the living God or we have nothing. Either we eat His flesh and drink His blood or we have no life in us. The rejection of Hesychasm is the source of all heresy.
Why do we fast? We fast so that we may live like a dying man – and in dying we can be born to eternal life.
Source: Fr Stephen Freeman, ‘Why We Fast’, http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/87798.htm, posted 28 Nov. 2015, accessed 1 Dec. 2015
For more on Christian fasting: http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/50335.htm