Thursday, November 14, 2013

40 Days until Christmas!...Let's start fasting!

And so it begins again...that time of year in which most people begin feasting in honor of the "Holiday Season."  But we Christians are called to something very different...we are called to fast!  This might sound a little depressing...but actually, it should excite us!  The challenging discipline of prayer, fasting and almsgiving should awaken in us the desire to prepare a place in the darkness of our hearts for the coming of the Light of the World who alone can satisfy every desire that we have!

Today is the Feast of St. Philip the Apostle, and the fasting period which begins this evening after vespers is named after him.  The Philip's Fast, or Nativity Fast, is a fast of 40 days in preparation for the celebration of the great mystery of the Incarnation--of God taking on human flesh so that we might partake of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).  We invite you to join us in this fast so that together we may prepare a place in our hearts and in our world for Jesus (two places that desperately need Him)!  The traditional fast prescribes abstinence from meat and dairy products, but if this is not practical for you, we invite you to pray about the way that God is calling you to pray, fast and give alms during this time.

Below is a beautiful prayer from the Emmanuel Moleban which you may want to use!:

O God and Father, the Almighty One, you created the human race in your image and likeness, and when we fell through disobedience, you promised to send a Savior. When the fullness of time had come, your favor rested on your only-begotten Son, and he was born of the Virgin Mary. Thus, what Isaiah the prophet foretold was fulfilled: "Behold, the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, which means 'God with us.'" His birth filled all creation with light; he gave us the baptism of repentance, and restored our ancient dignity. Now, most compassionate Lord, you bring us to these honored days of the Christmas Fast that we may do battle with the desires of the flesh and draw strength from the hope of resurrection. Receive us, then, as penitents and forgive our wrongdoing, those done knowingly and unknowingly, through malice and through weakness. And may our prayers, our fasting, and our works of mercy rise up before you as incense, as sweet spiritual fragrance, that in company with the Magi and the shepherds we too, with pure hearts, may be found worthy to bow down before the Nativity of Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. To him, together with you and your all-holy Spirit, belong glory, honor, and worship, now and ever and forever. Amen.

Know that we are praying for you!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the reminder that all great feasts of the Liturgical year are preceded by fasting.


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