Believers should keep the fast even in little things, because this is a manifestation of true fidelity to Our Lord God, said His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on March 7.
“There are no little things in spiritual life, and everyone should remember that the Church offers us fasting for our salvation, in order to train and strengthen our faith and loyalty to the Lord, as well as our will and power of spirit,” said the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church in his sermon after the Great Compline at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.
“Sometimes people around you eat non-fasting food, and you don’t really want everyone to know about you, about your life, and even more so about your religious views, and you feel uncomfortable to refuse non-fasting food, especially if there is nothing else on the table. If any of you find yourself in such a situation, certainly, you should remember that this has nothing to do with the experience of martyrs and confessors, but there is a small test of our loyalty. The test, the results of which neither our life, nor health, nor our well-being depend on – we might only experience some discomfort in communicating with others.”
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill noted that people have repeatedly turned to him personally with similar questions.
“I have been asked more than once: “What should I do in such a situation? I don’t really want people to know that I’m a believer. Maybe it’s not a big deal, if I don’t keep the fast?” But I never answered that it’s okay. No, this is very serious and significant, because our loyalty to the Lord is manifested even in little things,” said the Patriarch.
The Primate of the Russian Church stated that “today many people don’t keep the fast.”
“Some people explain it with having health issues, some people – with inconvenience, and others – with difficulties with cooking. In other words, we cannot even make this very small effort to express our love for the Lord and show our loyalty to Him through the discipline of fasting, through this small feat,” he added.
Therefore, Patriarch Kirill encouraged “everyone to observe the fast”, with the exception of those who are sick, infirm or carry out some responsible ministry.
In conclusion, he expressed his wish that abstinence “from a certain kind of food, from pleasures, from idle talk, from everything that destroys the integrity of our life” would contribute to the believers’ “spiritual growth, strengthening in faith, and true piety, through which God’s power appears to us, which gives us health and wisdom, helping us in many circumstances on our life path.”