Monday, 30 March 2015
As we come to the end of Lent it might be worth having a quick look at what fasting is about. There is so much confusion. It is not a total giving up of food. It is not a hunger strike. St John Chrysostom says fasting has two functions: the first 'is to break our attachment to material things. There is nothing wrong with such pleasure ( food ) but when we do without food we are reminded that the only true and lasting source of joy is spiritual.' Secondly it is to express solidarity with the poor and urge us to generosity.
Bishop Kallistos tells a story of when he was the more modestly named Peter Ware and an undergraduate in digs. He told his landlady of his fasting. One day enquiring what he could or could not eat the landlady shouted up the stairs, 'Mr. Ware, are you still on your diet?'