Monday, November 15, 2010

The Nativity Fast and Orthodox Tradition


For us, the Nativity Fast serves to refresh the last part of the year - mystically renewing our spiritual unity with God and preparing us for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ.

St. Leo the Great wrote: “Four periods [of the year] have been set aside as times of abstinence, so that over the course of the year we might recognize that we are constantly in need of purification, and that amid life’s distractions, we should always strive by means of fasting and acts of charity to extirpate sin, sin which is multiplied in our transitory flesh and in our impure desires.”

According to Leo the Great, the Nativity Fast is a sacrifice to God [in return for] the gathered harvest.

The Holy Hierarch stated, “Just as the Lord has generously granted us abundance of the fruits of the earth, so should we, during the time of this Fast, be generous to the poor.”

According to St. Symeon of Thessalonica, “…the Nativity Forty-day Fast represents the fast undertaken by Moses, who, having fasted for forty days and forty nights, received the Commandments of God, written on stone tablets [of the Law]. And we, fasting for forty days, will reflect upon and receive from the Virgin of the living Word - not written upon stone, but born, incarnate, and we will commune of His Divine Body.”

The Nativity Fast was established to allow us through repentance, prayer and fasting to cleanse ourselves before the Nativity of Christ, so that with clean heart, soul, and body, we might reverently meet the Son of God, Who has come into the world and so that in addition to bringing the usual gifts and sacrifices, we might bring Him our clean hearts and a desire to follow His teachings.

May God grant that we all spend the salvific days of the Nativity Fast in such a way as to be a great benefit to our souls.

Source

Related Links:

Why the Nativity Fast Has Been Established

The Nativity Fast, Otherwise Known As Advent, Has Begun
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