Dormition Fast begins today

The Dormition Fast runs from August 1- August 14

Here is something for this liturgical fast:

“Father,” someone once asked their priest, “I have a difficult time observing the Dormition Fast. What should I do?”

“Well,” the priest responded, “just keep the first week, and then keep the second week, that should be enough.”

Is this acting a bit smart?

But there is much truth here. As we know, the Dormition Fast is just a total of two weeks. It’s an intense and necessary two weeks as the Church gathers together at the death bed of Mary, the ever-Virgin Mother of God.

Our Holy Church teaches us, that the gesture of those whom we love is near death: we ought to stop in our tracks and gather at their bedside. Today, we find ourselves at a nursing home, hospice or even the hospital.

The Apostles (except Thomas) and those with them had been scattered across the world spreading the Gospel were miraculously gathered together at the bedside of the Church’s Mother to bid her farewell from this life.

This is good spiritual advice: “We ought to keep this fast as carefully and attentively as possible because we love God’s Mother. She helps us, she loves us, and with the boldness of a mother she intercedes on our behalf to her Son and our God. It is not that Christ does not know our needs, but, because that is what a loving mother does!”

Are you convinced to keep the Dormition Fast? Here are a few tips:

Go to Church. Run to Church. We will be open for business. The feast of our Lord’s Transfiguration always falls in the midst of the fast.

Pray. Yes, pray. That you come to Church you will surely be praying, but, consider intensifying your daily devotions. Look in your prayer books for special prayers that you can add to God’s Mother during this season. Maybe even keep it up after the 14 days!

Fast. We got the whole way to #3 without even mentioning food. Do your best to abstain from meat and dairy as you are able. The Church provides strict directives as they always do, but, work together as a family to come up with a plan. At the least, do more than you have done in the past.

Read. Pick up for meditation the Bible; read a few paragraphs of the Catechism, “Christ Our Pascha”, read a biography of a saint: Metropolitan Sheptytsky, St. Nectarios, St. Mary of Paris; read a spiritual book like, “How to Be a Sinner” by Peter Bouteneff; read an account of the Virgin Mary’s passing and bodily assumption to heaven: “The Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God” by Saint John Maximovitch. It is short only 70 pages.

Confess. If you have not been to the Mystery (Sacrament of) Confession in more than a month, then it is time to be confessed of your sins. This is the perfect opportunity to renew your relationship with Jesus Christ through sacramental confession.

This is a short but prayerfully intense season and our participation in it has the potential to greatly enhance our spiritual life. Do not allow this special time with God’s Mother to pass by without a thought, it is time to be with her, and to pray with her to her Son, and our God.

–Saint Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church, New Haven, CT