The Liturgy of Fasting

Dear Children of God, how are you? How is the new year and school? We hope you are attending your lessons attentively in this new year and studying well. It is also important to ask you teachers what you do not understand and something that is not clear for you. If not, you would not be able to pass your exams or else get good mark. You shall attend the church education as well, so that you could be a good, brave and generous child of God.

Dear Children of God, this season is known as “The Month of flowers.” We commemorate our Holy Mother Saint Mary, her beloved Son, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and their flight to Egypt and Ethiopia in escape of King Herold who was trying to kill baby Jesus, out of fear of Him reigning as a King.

Children, we hope you remember our last lesson on the celebration of Feasts! And for now we will teach you about “The Liturgy of Fasting.” As we have taught you in our previous lessons, fasting is to abstain from food, water and other harmful thoughts, speeches and deeds (works). Fast is the gate of righteousness; fast is the initiation of good things; fast is the way to train the life of Angels and Righteous.

Dear Children of God, according to the teaching of Holy Orthodox Church, there are seven chronical fasting seasons which are Fast of Prophets, Fast of Revelation (The Fast on the eve of Epiphany and the Birth of Christ), The Great Lent, The Fast of Nineveh, The Fast of Salvation (Wednesdays and Fridays), The Fast of Apostles and Fast of Assumption of Saint Mary. Thus, any one from the age of seven years old shall fast it unless and other wise he/she is sick. Children, are you seven years old and fasting these chronical fasts? If not, you shall start soon by informing your parents.

Dear Children of God, fast has its own liturgy. We have to pray whilst fasting but not only abstain from food and drink, by giving veneration to people, keeping peace amongst our friends and being careful of using bad words whilst talking to others. If we do these things, it is likely that we are fasting properly and pleasing God.

Another thing we should notice is the length of hour we fast or abstain from eating and drinking. It is known that we shall fast until the Divine Liturgy finishes that is 9 o’clock local time. However, there are some people who remain until the evening time from 11 until 1 o’ clock without any consumption of food or drink. But, as you are little and lack the ability, you abstain until the hour you are capable off.

How do we train to keep the liturgy of fast?

Dear Children of God, we might have difficulty to fast whilst we seek to. So, what shall we do? We can begin abstaining until few hours and then train to keep the full time of the fasting; even more. For instance, if we are served lots of foods, it is better if we eat less than usual in the fasting seasons. And on Wednesday and Fridays, we shall not eat breakfast and abstain from food and drink for few more hours. In this way, we could learn the liturgy of fast and God will give us strength to be much more. Although our body might encounter tiresome, our soul will be strong. Though we might be children, if we are seven years old and above, it is a must to keep the liturgy of fast. We have to train in abstaining from any kinds of foods, especially meat and milk products.

Do you know why dear children? If we do not learn and train the liturgy of fast from our childhood, it will become hard for us to live by the liturgy when we grow up. We have to start performing the liturgy beginning our childhood. If we have not known the liturgy of the Church until today, it is better to learn it soon and keep it until our life time.

Children, there are saints who have lived by the liturgy of the Church starting from our child. Let us for example mention the life of Prophet Samuel. He started to serve the temple when he was little child. Another remarkable story is of Saint Cyrus, son of Saint Julitta who was just a three-year-old when he became a martyr for his astonishing faith. Therefore, it shall not be our excuse to say, “I am just a child,” and seize to pray, fast and be diligent.

Dear Children of God, we have finished our lessons for today. For next time, we will teach you about the liturgy of prayer. We hope you remain well and in peace until then!

May God be with you, Amen!