Archimandrite Andrew (Konanos): Do not Fast without Love

How to fast properly

I would be very glad to hear that you are fasting these days. If you do it with love and humility, of course. With love for God, His Most Pure Mother, and people. If I see you buying ham in the supermarket, then be aware: I will not be tempted. I will think that you are buying it for your little kid. If you buy cheese, I will assume that you are following the doctor’s strict order to eat dairy products. If I see you buying beef, I will believe that you are likely lacking in iron and that you are anemic. Even living next door if I detect a smell of a chicken fried steak cooking, I will come to the idea that you eat meat, however you do not judge others as I do it so often, which is much worse.

In general, these days I try to radiate light and kindness where my darkened mind wants to sow poison, evil, and condemnation. Once again, I ask myself the same question: my soul, why do you care about anyone’s life but only not your own?

If you do not know something, you better not talk. Of course, all of us are not silent, we make some conclusions and comments. Try to always be as sincere, open, real, genuine, and truthful as possible before God.

I remember how on a hot summer day walking down a street in Athens together with one priest we decided to buy canned sparkling water. However, I hesitated because beer was sold in the same red can as sparkling water was. I was thinking whether I should buy it or not, and I bought it in the end. Then walking near the Acropolis I heard, “To your health, father!”. The fellow traveler pointed to beer. I answered, “It is sparkling water, not beer”. Then I said to myself: even if it was a beer, so what? Is it a tragedy to drink cold beer in the summer?

Do not admonish others and do not dwell on their remarks that you sat down or walked wrong, that you eat or dress wrong, people may get some things wrong. After all, the point is that you have a clear conscience before the Creator. Live on, life goes on, do not pay attention to these little things. Most importantly, always live with God. We talk a lot about everything, but in fact we know little. So often we judge and condemn others.

One Wednesday I uploaded a photo of Greek salad to my Facebook page. Someone wrote me in the comments, “Shame on you, father, how could you put cheese in a salad on a fasting day!” Nowadays, there is madness everywhere. I do not want to say that, but this is reality.

Having chosen the suitable life rhythm, live and enjoy life. The most important thing is to be responsible before God and five or six close people who know you well, your soul, and your being, with whom you are yourself. Do not pay attention to society, let them live their own lives, and you go live your own, constantly improving it.

Good luck in all your affairs!

From the Facebook post on August 11, 2018

Translated by Julia Frolova

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