AUGUST 12, 2012 -
"THE DORMITION FAST"
In our Church, it is customary that significant feasts on the Church Calendar are preceded by a period of fasting. There are four such fasts during our liturgical year: the Great Fast before Pascha, the Nativity Fast before the celebration of our Lord's birth, the Apostles Fast which precedes the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul and the two-week period known as the Dormition Fast, which is observed prior to the commemoration of the Falling Asleep (Dormition) of the Mother of God. While we fully understand the need for a lengthy period of preparation prior to Pascha and the celebration of the Nativity, and while we readily see the connection of prayer and fasting in the lives of the Apostles as they embarked upon their missionary labors, the purpose of the Dormition Fast may be a bit puzzling to us. Perhaps the following "down to earth" analogy may help to put it in the proper context for us.
If our mother was on her deathbed and her end imminent, how would we react? Undoubtedly, our lives would be altered dramatically and normal activities would come to a halt. As we kept vigil over her, we would be spending a good deal of our time in prayer, and we would not be concerned with the pleasures of worldly entertainment. Chances are even our eating habits would be modified or altered as we prepared to bid farewell to the matriarch of our family.
As the Church prepares to "bid farewell" to our Mother - the Blessed Virgin Mary - she calls upon us to show the same reverence and respect to the one who gave birth to God the Word. We are asked to reflect upon the life of the woman who is considered "…more honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim." As we fast in her honor, may we also strive to live a life in imitation of her.