Tag Archives: fasting

More or less in Poetry Month.

It’s National Poetry Month, and also Lent, which is a helpful confluence. “Less TV and more poetry” sounds to me like going in the right direction. But I don’t watch TV… What about my own tendencies to less housework, less attentiveness, less prayer…? Clearly, these things must be worked out on an individual basis, and may God give you wisdom. We are early in the month and I don’t think I’ve overindulged in poetry yet. I want to take advantage of the reminder and post a couple of poems before the month is over.

My thoughts about children’s books and Lent converge on this excerpt from Richard Wilbur’s More Opposites, which I think one of The Most Fun collections of poems and drawings. I don’t even require another person to read Wilbur’s humorous poems to — they often make me chuckle contentedly or muse to myself. I see that I already posted this particular one, but it was years ago, and I for one can benefit from a rereading.

The illustrations of this question in the book include a simple drawing of people with distressed faces holding their tummies. I think the cartoon at bottom makes a similar companion to the poem. It’s

#15 in the More Opposites book:

The opposite of less is more.
What’s better? Which one are you for?
My question may seem simple, but
The catch is — more or less of what?

“Let’s have more of everything!” you cry.
Well, after we have had more pie,
More pickles, and more layer cake,
I think we’ll want less stomach-ache.

The best thing’s to avoid excess.
Try to be temperate, more or less.

-Richard Wilbur

There is a Mennonite cookbook titled More With Less, from which I gleaned many good cooking ideas in the early days of my homemaking career. But more valuable than the actual recipes was the refreshing concept that one might have more health and more enjoyment of eating and probably more money to spend on other things if you ate less.

Of course this is something we need to keep in mind all the time, not just during Lent. The church fathers caution us not to eat so much food that we aren’t able to pray after eating it; an overfull stomach hinders prayer. If it’s possible that Less Food = More Prayer….

Let’s just pause and think on that.

(re-post from 2013)

He started off by fasting.

“… Adam chose the treason of the serpent, the originator of evil, in preference to God’s commandment and counsel, and broke the decreed fast. Instead of eternal life he received death and instead of the place of unsullied joy he received this sinful place full of passions and misfortunes, or rather, he was sentenced to Hades and nether darkness. Our nature would have stayed in the infernal regions below the lurking places of the serpent who initially beguiled it, had not Christ come. He started off by fasting (cf. Mk. 1:13) and in the end abolished the serpent’s tyranny, set us free and brought us back to life.”

— St. Gregory Palamas, The Homilies Vol. II

What to eat during Lent.

gl P1030688During the Vespers of Forgiveness last Sunday, the vestments were changed to purple. We began this season of the year — approximately a tithe? — that seems to convey the heart of Orthodoxy, because it calls us back to our First Love and to real Real Life. As someone reminded me this week, Normal Life is what Adam and Eve had in Paradise, when they walked and talked with God in the garden. It can take a lot of effort to put aside the usual cares and concerns for a season, and to do whatever is necessary to reach an awareness of our great need for Christ, and to receive His love and forgiveness, which is the healing of our souls.

My heart has been full-to-bursting, or to weeping, especially in the extra services that we have during Lent, and extra-extra during this first week. I’m learning more about kairos, that time that is timeless, and that gives us a taste of Heaven. This is my view when I look up. I can read, in the circle around the icon of the Savior, “He hath looked out from His holy height. The Lord from Heaven hath looked upon the earth to hear the groaning of them that be in fetters.”gl dome clean week

I’ve never been able to attend the services of the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete as much as this year, and it has been the greatest blessing. On Thursday evening I arrived early enough to get a picture before the service began, and then another toward the end, during Great Compline. I wish you could hear the choir, who sang like angels.gl P1030689gl P1030693

Along with my heart, but in the chronos kind of time that won’t stop ! my to-do list is full-to-bursting as well. The garden is ready for me to plant some spring vegetables, and every day is a new scene out there. I’m behind as usual, and glad that the flowers and sprouts don’t wait for me, but they go on springing.  New miniature Dutch irises emerged in the pouring rain, because they didn’t want to be late in showing their own Lenten vestments.P1030674

Three of the children and their families are coming a various times in the next week, starting this very morning. I can’t wait to see the grandchildren, and I hope they can play in the garden without having to play in the rain.

I made about twelve quarts of satisfying soup yesterday, and next weekend I’ll be preparing an agape meal for 100 as a memorial to my husband. I’ve never done that kind of event before, and I’m glad I’ll have some helpers.gl soup 3-16

So there is much to ponder and write about, but not much time (chronos), it seems, for the writing part.

I will post some links from my files to a few Lenten recipes, at the bottom of the post, but first I want to share something that has been going around for a couple of weeks, but bears repeating, a message from Abbot Tryphon reminding us about the kind of feasting we can enjoy during Lent:

FAST from self-concern and FEAST on compassion for others.
FAST from discouragement and FEAST on hope.
FAST from lethargy and FEAST on enthusiasm.
FAST from suspicion and FEAST on truth.
FAST from thoughts that weaken and FEAST on promises that inspire.
FAST from shadows of sorrow and FEAST on the sunlight of serenity.
FAST from idle gossip and FEAST on purposeful silence.
FAST from problems that overwhelm you and FEAST on prayer that sustains.
FAST from criticism and FEAST on praise.
FAST from self-pity and FEAST on joy.
FAST from ill-temper and FEAST on peace.
FAST from resentment and FEAST on contentment.
FAST from jealousy and FEAST on love.
FAST from pride and FEAST on humility.
FAST from selfishness and FEAST on service.

Thank you, Father Tryphon! Now, as to earthly food, some recipes I have posted in the past that are suitable for Orthodox fasts are these:

Italian Flag Soup

Indian Chickpea and Spinach Stew

Vegetable Bean Soup

Turkish Green Beans

Korean Kale Salad

Yams Roasted with Coconut and Curry

Gingerbread Pear Bundt Cake

Pat-in Pie Crust

God bless you all, my Dear Readers. And to those of you who may be celebrating Western Easter soon, may you have much grace during Holy Week.