Fasting

Fasting has been a part of RC history but I am wondering if other faiths in modern times still fast (I know the Orthodox do at certain times of year) but what about as regular spiritual practice? Do members of other churches practice fasting? Specifically for the purpose of?

[quote=HagiaSophia]Fasting has been a part of RC history but I am wondering if other faiths in modern times still fast (I know the Orthodox do at certain times of year) but what about as regular spiritual practice? Do members of other churches practice fasting? Specifically for the purpose of?
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Reasons To Fast

stjohndc.org/homilies/9606t.htm

“God Himself established fasting. In the Old Testament, preparation for a special holy occasion included fasting and prayer. The New Testament often mentions fasting. Our Lord fasted Himself for 40 days before going out to preach. Fasting is clearly not optional inasmuch as Our Lord said, regarding fasting ***When ** you fast * (Matt. 6:16), rather than **If ** you fast. Our Lord, speaking of His disciples, said that after His departure, they would fast: when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then they shall fast.…”

And here is a link to a small book by a Finnish Orthodox, “The Way of the Ascetics.” This is a popular book for those starting off with their attempts to begin the spiritual struggle.

This is his chapter of Fasting which gives some of the many reasons why we fast
stvladimirs.ca/library/way-ascetics-twenty.html

[quote=Fr Ambrose]This is his chapter of Fasting which gives some of the many reasons why we fast
stvladimirs.ca/library/way-ascetics-twenty.html
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Do you thnk it impedes posting on forums? :smiley:

“…Fasting tempers loquacity, says St. John Climacus. It is an outlet for compassion and a guard upon obedience; it destroys evil thoughts and roots out the insensibility of the heart. Fasting is a gate to paradise: when the stomach is constricted, the heart is humbled. He who fasts prays with a sober mind, but the mind of the intemperate person is filled with impure fancies and thoughts.”

[quote=HagiaSophia]Do you thnk it impedes posting on forums? :smiley:
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Sure does. The Orthodox e-lists go into almost terminal decline during fasting periods.

Speaking (typing) as a former Evangelical/Fundamentalist, I can say that fast is occasionally talked about from the pulpit in most Protestant churches-usually when the preacher has been going through the Sermon on the Mount and can’t avoid the topic.

Fasting is encouraged in most Protestant churches that I’m aware of, however it isn’t required during any specific time. It’s what’s we might consider a “rprivate devotion”. Some people do it, most don’t I would guess, but there are no specific days of the week or special days where it is required. It’s kind of like, “Do it if you feel like it, but don’t sweat it if you don’t.”

Scout :tiphat:

[quote=Scout]Speaking (typing) as a former Evangelical/Fundamentalist, I can say that fast is occasionally talked about from the pulpit in most Protestant churches-usually when the preacher has been going through the Sermon on the Mount and can’t avoid the topic.

Fasting is encouraged in most Protestant churches that I’m aware of, however it isn’t required during any specific time. It’s what’s we might consider a “rprivate devotion”. Some people do it, most don’t I would guess, but there are no specific days of the week or special days where it is required. It’s kind of like, “Do it if you feel like it, but don’t sweat it if you don’t.”

Scout :tiphat:
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Thank you so much for the info: I know that Orthodox Jews still fast and Orthodox Christians do, and some Catholics, but I have never heard this addressed re Protestants/Evangelicals.

My sister’s church, non-denominational (whatever that is) in Denver, just got done with a 3-week Daniel’s fast. They had only fruits and vegetables. It was a church-wide fast. Each day they prayed over different topics: one day it was the youth; one day for marriages, of course there was a day for the upcoming election, and so on. They broke their fast together last Friday night with a pitch-in dinner. I know they had lots of meat dishes and deserts to celebrate.

Their pastor is Jewish and I know that they also celebrate many of the Old Testament traditions.

Also, I have heard a Protestant friend, also in a non-denominational church, speak of fasting before she helped orchestrate The Great Banquet.

Muslims do- my friend is right now :slight_smile:

[quote=alyssa]Muslims do- my friend is right now :slight_smile:
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That’s Ramadan but then they only fast until sundown and then eat all night don’t they?

[quote=lewlo]a 3-week Daniel’s fast.
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Wow that’s discipline - but I never heard the term before, Daniel’s Fast.

[quote=HagiaSophia]Wow that’s discipline - but I never heard the term before, Daniel’s Fast.
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Me either, but I’m sure you know the story in the book of Daniel. I think someone in her church came up with the name. I could be wrong, I’ll ask her.

Mormons fast on the first Sunday of each month… called “Fast Sunday”… The recomended fast is 24 hours without food or drink, including water.

[quote=bengeorge]Mormons fast on the first Sunday of each month… called “Fast Sunday”… The recomended fast is 24 hours without food or drink, including water.
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I’d be delirious - I never knew that about Mormons. What do they say is the purpose? Simply to mortify the body and exercise the will?

[quote=bengeorge]Mormons fast on the first Sunday of each month… called “Fast Sunday”… The recomended fast is 24 hours without food or drink, including water.
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Actually it’s skipping two meals, usually breakfast and lunch. This is done on “Fast and Testimony Sunday”, the first Sunday of each month. Instead of the regular “Sacrament Meeting”, they have a “Fast and Testimony Meeting”, during which members are encouraged to “bear their testimonies”.**

The purpose of the fast is two-fold:

First, to get into a more spiritual frame of mind to prepare for “bearing their testimonies” in the meeting.

Second, to donate the amount of money saved from the two skipped meals to the church. These funds go to the LDS Church welfare fund.

Paul

**The testimony is generally “I know this Church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and I know that Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet.” They sometimes throw other things in, but these elements are nearly always there.

This is, perhaps, not quite an answer to the question which Sophia actually asked, but being a hopeless victim of stream-of-consciousness education I must mention that the best article I have ever read on the subject of fasting is Frederica Mathewes-Green’s The Joy of Filboid Studge. Enjoy. :slight_smile:

hagia Spphia,

Perhaps some do, just as some catholics don’t take their religion seriously. They can eat 1 smal meal after sundown, and 1 small meal in the morning. This includes- as he tells me- no sugars or dessert-type foods, only a small amount- nothing in excess, just enough so their nutritional needs are met. Noctice you did not ask what type of fasting- the RC norm is a small meal at midday.

[quote=alyssa]hagia Spphia,

Perhaps some do, just as some catholics don’t take their religion seriously. They can eat 1 smal meal after sundown, and 1 small meal in the morning. This includes- as he tells me- no sugars or dessert-type foods, only a small amount- nothing in excess, just enough so their nutritional needs are met. Noctice you did not ask what type of fasting- the RC norm is a small meal at midday.
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I know what the RCC rules are but I found your response on Muslims interesting - when I was in their part of the world, it was “gorge time” after sundown from the homes I was in. Very interesting - maybe there is a difference depending on countries of origin, and thanks for the info.

Hi all!

Fasting is very much a part of (orthodox) Jewish practice.

There are 6 fast days in our calendar, 2 'round-the-clock, dusk-to-nightfall fasts and 4/5 first-light-to-nightfall fasts.

The first 2 are Yom Kippur (jewfaq.org/holiday4.htm) and the Ninth of the Hebrew month of Av (jewfaq.org/holidayd.htm). They entail bans not only on eating & drinking, but on sex, bathing, and the wearing of make-up, leather and jewelry.

The other 4/5 (jewfaq.org/holidaye.htm) entail bans on eating & drinking only.

Boys over 13 and girls over 12 are obliged to fast. Pregnant women & women who have recently given birth are exempt. Someone who is sick (enough) is also exempt (as per doctor’s orders).

Regarding Yom Kippur, our Sages interpret Leviticus 16:29 and 23:27 (“afflict your souls”) as referring to fasting. Even very many Jews who are otherwise very unobservant & not religious fast on Yom Kippur; fasting on Yom Kippur is extremely ingrained. When my late father-in-law (may he rest in peace!) became ill and was told by his doctors that he must NOT fast on Yom Kippur, he was heart-broken.

Zechariah 8:18 refers to 3 of the 4/5 “half-day” fasts and the Ninth of Av. Zechariah 8:19 says:

Thus says the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful seasons; therefore love you truth and peace.

Our Sages say that the above refers to the era of the Messiah (may he come soon, in our days!), when the fast days on which we mourn the Temple’s destruction will become feast days on which we rejoice in its reconstruction.

The next fast day on our calendar is one of the “half-day” fasts, the Tenth of the Hebrew month of Tevet (see tinyurl.com/3g8do) . It will fall on Wednesday, December 22 this year.

The fifth of the “4/5” half-day fasts is the day before Passover (i.e. the morning & afternoon before the Seder on the first night of Passover). It is for first-born males ONLY but if a first-born male attends a festive meal (such as accompanies a circumcision or the conclusion of the studying of a given portion of the Talmud), he is exempt. Since one cannot always count on a circumcision being held the morning before Passover, it is the universal custom for synagogues to arrange it so that somebody always finishes studying a given portion of the Talmud that morning. He teaches it to the assenbled first-borns & then they enjoy a festive breakfast.

On all 4 of the “half-day fasts”, we read Exodus 32:11-14 and 34:1-10. At afternoon prayers on these 4 days (and on the Ninth of the Hebrew month of Av as well), we read the Exodus readings again and Isaiah 55:6-56:8. The reading from Isaiah is one of my favorites. Our Sages comment on 55:6 (“Seek you the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near”) and ask when may He be found and when will He be near. Their answer: Always! I like the message of 55:8-9, the imagery of 55:10-11 and the universalism of the last phrase in 56:7.

Be well!

ssv :wave:

[quote=Fr Ambrose]Sure does. The Orthodox e-lists go into almost terminal decline during fasting periods.
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I participate in a Carthusian interest board, and the posts there also drop to a mere trickle during Advent and Lent.

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