SENSIBLE ADVISE FOR ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS
Fasting for the Pregnant Woman / Fasting when family members resist.
Fasting is something that must be done by the heart as well as by the stomach. The nursing or pregnant woman should not follow the strict fast. She should fast according to the Spirit. This is not hard to do. If you need to have meat, then pan fry a hamburger patty, without salt-and-pepper and as the medicine that it is for your body. If you are out and you get a hamburger then don’t get it with your favorite toppings. If you eat cheese, then don’t eat pizza, which is cheese on steroids. If you eat yogurt, eat plain yogurt, and not with the flavorings that you normally love to eat. If you eat fish, eat simple fish, but not trout almandine. There are a hundred ways in which you can fast in spirit.
A pregnant or nursing mother is eating foods that her body needs so that she can feed the children that she loves, and is responsible for. She can also show her love for God by eating the foods that her body needs and considering them to be more medicine than food.
All of the things that I said above, certainly apply when a woman is eating alone. When she is alone, she is her own master and she can eat what she wants. Sometimes her family dynamics demand accommodations when not eating alone.
When we have trouble following advice, it is because of two reasons. Either the advice is asking us to do something that is way beyond our capacity, or because of our pride, we don’t want to follow advice. The Christian must be careful to try to discern the difference.
There are spiritual fathers who tell spiritual children to do things that are ridiculous and impossible – for instance, there are men that are stupid enough to tell a married couple to abstain from sexual relations because of their idea about sexual relations. This has broken up many marriages. The rule here, by the way, is that the wife’s body belongs to your husband and the husband’s body belongs to the wife. I feel constrained to say there is no “Patriarchy” here or any power dynamic, this is simple Christianity. If a person can abstain from sexual relations that is fine and good, but what about their partner? It is a mockery of fasting to say that “I don’t
want to do this” when the partner is not strong enough and falls into sin.
Source: Fr Seraphim Holland
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In Christ service,
Fr Methodius Abbah JM Kariuki
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