Dear brother and sisters,
Blessed beginning to the Dormition Fast to you all!
Fasting is not what we talk so much about today, meaning that to fast is to abstain from food and drink. Diet is, of course, only one half of fasting. The other half (and perhaps the most important half) is the rejection of, or to be more correct, liberation from everything that enslaves us. Fasting is the liberation from our passions and temptations.
Fasting does not make us miserable, it makes us free. Not in a political sense of freedom, where we think we are free to do whatever stupidity we desire. A sad example of this kind of "freedom" is what happened in the last two days in Virginia. Proper fasting in a Christian tradition makes us free and independent from all unnecessary earthly pleasures and temptations. Fasting opens us up to truly and completely belong to God, for Him to dwell in us and work through us.
During the Dormition Fast, every other day starting today, we will be posting special prayers to the Theotokos that she would help us, through her prayers before her Son and our Lord, to make this (short) fasting period spiritually and physically beneficial to us.
Please see below for the first prayer.
Most merciful Virgin Theotokos, Mother of compassions and love for mankind, my most beloved hope and aspiration! O Mother of the most sweet and most desired Savior, Who exceeds every love, Jesus Christ, the Lover of mankind and my God, the Light of my darkened soul! I, exceedingly sinful and hopeless one, fall down before you, to you I make my prayer, O well-spring of compassion, Virgin Mary, who bore the Abyss of compassion and Depth of mercies and love for mankind: Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, I painfully cry out to you. Have mercy on me, for I am all in wounds, for I have fallen among brutish thieves, for I am stripped naked of the garment in which the Father clothed me. Therefore I lie stripped of every good deed, my wounds stinking and festering before my madness. O Theotokos, look down on me with your merciful eye, I humbly pray to you and despise me not, who am all in darkness, all in filth, all immersed in the mire of passions, terribly fallen and unable to stand. Take pity on me and grant me a helping hand, lift me up out of sinful depths, O my Joy! Deliver me from those who surround me, make your face to shine upon your servant, save the perishing, cleanse the filthy, raise up the terribly fallen: for you can do all things, as you are the Mother of the Almighty God. Pour forth on me the oil of your compassion and grant me to overflow the wine of compunction, for I have acquired you as truly the only hope in my life, do not turn away from me as I flee to you, but behold my grief, O Virgin, and the longing of my soul and accept this prayer and save me, O Intercessor of my salvation. Amen.