Today is "Clean Monday" for Eastern Rite Catholics across the globe. We are tightening our belts and going temporarily vegan for as much of Lent as possible, the first week and Holy Week at the very least. Those faint of heart (that's me) can take some eggs and cheese in the intermittent weeks, with fish for celebratory days such as the Feast of the Annunciation. That is also the reason your Byzantine friends may catch themselves doing a little eye-rolling when they hear the (gasp) Roman Catholic fast of abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Fridays...
Big whiff, Biff, say the Byzantines!! :D
Here is Saint John Chrysostom on fasting. QUOTE Do you fast? Prove it by doing good works. If you see someone in need, take pity on them. If you see a friend being honored, don't get jealous of him. For a true fast, you cannot fast only with your mouth. You must fast with your eyes, your ears, your feet, your hands, and all parts of your body. UNQUOTE
Whatever your fasting ideal, the time is nigh to get serious about it. The joyful soul-making sorrow of the Lenten spring is upon us.
art credit: CasaBeltran
From Catholic Exchange.
QUOTE Aside from what the Church law of fast and abstinence requires of us, we should come up with a personal program for spiritual growth. This is our personal maintenance program. I have always recommended that we come up with something negative and something positive.
By something negative, I mean that each person should commit themselves to giving up something or a number of things. This sacrifice should be serious and demanding. The self-control that we exercise in giving up a legitimate pleasure strengthens our will and curbs the inclinations of our passions.
By something positive, I mean that each one should also do some kind of act that we would not normally do on a regular basis. Attending daily Mass, visiting the sick, volunteering time at the parish or praying a Sunday evening Rosary with the entire family are positive acts of virtue that have helped many people progress in their relationship with God.
Lenten practices of penance have great benefits for our spiritual lives. A serious Lent will be like a spring cleaning which will purify the clutter that has accumulated in our souls. A serious commitment to penance will also help us to conquer addictions, obsessions and compulsive behavior. A serious Lent will purify our soul and allow us to experience a deeper interior freedom. UNQUOTE