Preparation for Holy Communion
10 Things 
3. Fasting is generally a part of preparation for Holy Communion.
Since the chief thing we must do to prepare for Holy Communion is try to live a Christian life, we should fast according to the typikon of the church (that is, according to the fasting rules for various days of the year), and according to our strength, and always under the guidance of our confessor.
Any confessor has many fasting rules for different people, depending on their spiritual maturity, physical health, zeal and strength of will.
In our day, there is much misunderstanding about fasting. Many people see our fasting tradition to be any or all of the following:
1. Fasting is not applicable to lay people, but only to monks.
2. Fasting is only done during short parts of the year, and usually with accommodations to our apparently difficult modern life – for instance, abstaining from meat on the first week of Great Lent and Holy Week.
3. Fasting is obligatory for three days, or perhaps a week before receiving Holy Communion, but usually not at any other times.
4. Fasting is a set of arbitrary rules, which have little or no application to daily life, but a person feels “bad” when they do not fast, which is a good part of the time.
5. There is one fasting rule for everyone, and it is too hard to do, so in essence, fasting is not attempted, except perhaps in the case of #3, above.
6. Some are even influenced by sectarian ideas and believe fasting is some sort of attempt to be “saved by works”.
None of these things is remotely true. Fasting is a way of life; it is the way to life. It is not arbitrary rules that make us feel “bad’ when we do not follow them. If the reason for fasting is understood, it is immediately apparent that it is not just a set of arbitrary rules. It is also not a set of optional rules. It has never been “only for monks”.
An explanation of fasting is not part of the scope of this document, so the interested person, included the one “who has trouble fasting”, should talk to his confessor. Of course, if his confessor does not fast (and there is no medical reason), he should find another confessor!
From St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texas – www.orthodox.net
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