How to Learn to Enjoy Fasting?

Advice from Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) of Boryspil and Brovary, Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Originally appeared at: Pravmir

Fasting will not bring you joy if you take on an overwhelming burden. Do not pretend to be a saint or someone you are not. Do not put on an act, but be yourself. Then you will be able to take on the load according to your condition, feelings and situation.

God does not need our pretense and external false deeds, He needs our honest heart.

The discrepancy between our internal state and external actions and the image we create leads to mental dissonance, which, in turn, leads to despondency and depression.

The load should be increased gradually, preferably under the guidance of a priest. It is better to agree in advance with the priest who knows you on all the purely personal deeds that you wish to do. And be sure to assess them according to your own strength. This will teach you a lesson in humility, without which fasting is meaningless.

Humility is what brings us real joy. And if there is no joy during fasting, there is no humility in us.