Thursday, November 02, 2006
on feasting and fasting
I shall speak first about control of the stomach, the opposite to
gluttony, and about how to fast and what and how much to eat. I
shall say nothing on my own account, but only what I have received
from the Holy Fathers. They have not given us only a single rule
for fasting or a single standard and measure for eating, because
not everyone has the same strength; age, illness or delicacy of
body create differences. But they have given us all a single goal:
to avoid over-eating and the filling of our bellies... A clear
rule for self-control handed down by the Fathers is this: stop
eating while still hungry and do not continue until you are
St. John Cassian
We are preparing for the the Nativity Fast - part of that preparation is talking about it ahead of time - mental preparation. I find keeping the Fast during Advent much more difficult than during Lent. It is completely counter cultural to abstain before Christmas. I also believe that it holds more impact and spiritual punch with my children. We Feast to celebrate the Incarnation. But, I am also a firm believer of accepting hospitality as it is offered. So, we don't purposefully go out and indulge in non Fasting foods; yet we don't go on and on about how "we" are fasting and can't possibly eat what is offered.
The whole issue of food and eating is one I have struggled with over the years. Right now I am of the belief that my kids will not starve - no kidding - or suffer terribly consequences if they don't eat dinner right at 5pm. It is far more important to me that we eat together at the table rather than having them eat at 5pm. Time around the table allows for conversation.
I am interested in what others have to say on this topic.