Tony Kanaza tells us about the meaning of fast before Easter: Lent
At this time us, Christians, fast the Lent. This is a special time for us. We feel the fast affecting us inside, it’s really energetic. There is a kind of restfulness, renewal and peace with ourselves and the surrounding. It may sound a little bit strange that a fast, which is actually a 40 days vegan diet, can make such a change. I believe that at this time, Nature fills us with its energies. Those energies help us to do away with the unimportant and concentrate on the essence: The spirit. The goal of this fast is to transcend above the substance, in order to remind the spirit it is the more important and that it rules the substance, not the other way. We put less material energy in our body, and so it gets the opportunity to clean itself from toxins and strengthen inner powers from within.
In the natural world as well, spring is a time of renewal. There are many newborn chicks and calves. There is a surge of energy at this time, which is another reason to let cows nurse their calves and not milk them. It is reminiscent of the Jewish "Shmita” year. The idea is to let Nature keep and renew its own strength and not be exploitative. We are not the center of the universe, but just another element within, and we must remember this. The Nazarene and Galilean kitchen has plenty of special dishes for the fasting – vegan dishes with no animal products. I will later give you some vegan recipes typical to the time and the Galilee. Nature, if properly attuned with it, can teach us a lot: Its inner movement, its transformations, its inner laws. This is a curious and surprising world and I am also a part of Nature. God created Nature, with me in it. Nature exists within me and I am inside it. A divine wisdom is reflected throughout this natural order.
When I was a boy, I used to observe my grandmother`s garden, a beautiful one, undoubtedly – a true orchard. During winter, all this beauty disappeared. The branches of the vine arbor were bare, dripping water. "Granma, why is the vine dead?” I asked her. "It isn`t dead, it is just sleeping and soon it will wake, and the leaves will grow again, and in summer we shall eat grapes”. I looked at the branches again, but this time I imagined the sleeping energy of life in the dry branches. Winter passed, and the vine never disappointed. Green leaflets started to appear, and with Nature there came a huge wave of renewal, blooming that washed into everywhere. Grandma said: "But don`t forget. If we want to have beautiful flowers and fruit we must tidy the garden. We have to clean off the dry and dead leaves and take away all the old remains. That`s how we`ll make place for the new.
Revival doesn`t come from nowhere. As we understand it, spiritual and physical revival is the outcome of consenting to die, clearing away the old, devoting ourselves to the laws of Nature and the world again and again, every year in spring time. The one who devotes himself to this cycle and doesn`t clench to the old, the known and familiar, can utilize this time of renewal for a real inner renewal.” So, that`s how I feel during the days of fasting: a great thankfulness for the right to see Nature in action, around and in myself. The fasting ends on Easter and is connected to the story of Jesus` death and resurrection. This I leave for the next time. And now, the recipes!
Vegan recipes for Lent>