Fasting

Fasting is useless…for those who are not familiar with its peculiarities and conditions.

– St. John Chrysostom

When you fast…

– Matthew 6:16

Macarius the Great
St. Macarius

In order to fan the flame of the crisis of your ego that is brought about by an encounter with God…fast.  God will show up.  And since that crisis will unfold throughout your life fasting, as a part of both finding your true self and of discerning God’s word in each event, will become an ongoing, central geographic mountain in this landscape.

Fasting cannot be replaced by any other discipline.

Christian fasting is never symbolic, although many justify it and teach it as such in the church.  In this it is an irony that what the very reality that going without food actually does – brings us into the presence of God and readies us to discern God’s presence – is not attainted by those who are not familiar with its peculiarities, stripping it of its reality, reducing it to a principle.

Fasting is not about control.  Fasting is not about discipline.  These are promoted by those who have not encountered God.  Those who are predisposed to reducing God to stereotypical social scripts can fast and still be distracted by their egos…intentions, thoughts, empiricism, rationality, and the like.

Fasting is about being reduced.

Docetism was an early heresy that taught that the manifestation of Christ was only apparent.  Fasting corrects this; try being hungry as a healthy dose of reality.

If you are still distracted when you are fasting, then you haven’t yet fastened enough.

Fasting should be hidden…governed by humility.

People who value speed, and productivity, and frantic activity, and wealth, and satiation will find no insight from fasting because they are already closed off to the reality of God.  The Christian is one who waits for Christ [John Cardinal Newman].

There is no ‘so that’ with fasting.

Fasting itself is confession.  Without fasting we do not confess.

You cannot be a Christian and not fast.