Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Dormition Fast begins

For many Catholics of the various Eastern Rites, as well as for most Orthodox Christians, today marks the beginning of the fifteen day Dormition Fast. For those of us who are Roman Catholics, we refer to the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin as the Assumption. For all of us the ancient solemnity, which we observe as a holy day of obligation, on 15 August marks the Virgin Mary being taken bodily into heaven, either without dying, or after dying.

The fast consists of eating less in general as well as not eating certain kinds of foods (i.e., meat and diary- shellfish are permitted throughout and if one chooses to keep the fast only consumes alcohol and olive oil on days when it is permitted). I welcome these times because it is also important for me to pray more, read Scripture and other spiritual reading, as well to give alms and perform more conscious acts of charity for others. Frankly, without more prayer, spiritual reading, and alms-giving such fasts would be pretty meaningless. So, to all my brothers and sisters who join in, may God, through intercession of the Blessed Virgin, draw you closer to Himself, closer to others, and closure to creation as we endeavor more consciously to usher in God's reign.

It also seems notable that this year the Dormition Fast falls during Ramadan, meaning Christians and Muslims have the opportunity to fast, pray more intensely, and act more charitably together. May the God of Abraham, who is the Father of Jesus Christ, bless us during this chosen time.

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