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Let us bring the sighs of the publican as an offering to God: On fasting with the abbess of Bistrița – Vâlcea Monastery

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Stavrophore Anastasia Honcioiu, Abbess of Bistrița – Vâlcea Monastery, urges everyone “to bring to God the sighs of the publican” and to avoid despair by putting our trust in God.

The abbess agreed to answer a few questions about fasting and preparing for the feast of the Lord’s Nativity.

Basilica.ro: How should we fast?

Stavrophore Anastasia Honcioiu: Let us fast with the body, but also with the spirit – restrain from any sin. Let us bring as an offering to God the sighs of the publican, with repentance, that He may forgive us our sins. Let us bear fruit worthy of repentance, correct ourselves by practising virtues, and acquire the Holy Spirit.

Stavrophore Anastasia Honcioiu, abbess of Bistrița – Vâlcea Monastery. Photo: Bistrița – Vâlcea Monastery

Basilica.ro: How to guard our minds against negative influences during the fasting season?

Stavrophore Anastasia Honcioiu: Through humble prayer: “this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21). This means that every sin, demon, and uncleanness goes away with prayers and fasting. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Basilica.ro: How to avoid despair in the hard times we are going through?

Stavrophore Anastasia Honcioiu: By faith. By trusting that God will never leave us. We are the ones who depart from Him and spend time away from Him, disobeying His commandments.

“God, how are we going to spend our hard times?” / “Call upon the Saints for help, and you will pass victorious!”

“Times are not hard. Sins are burdensome!” (Father Proclu)

With God, everything is possible. Have faith without hesitation, and you will overcome all the trials and tribulations of life. Let’s look at the saints and follow their faith!

Basilica.ro: Please send a Christmas message to our readers.

Stavrophore Anastasia Honcioiu: Christ is Born! He is truly born! God indeed became man and, most importantly, gave us all the means so that each of us, if He wills, can unite with Him, with the magnificent Lord Christ, Who, according to His humility and kindness, became like the mortal man.

He took our sins upon Himself to deliver us from them. That is why He became Man! That is why He received the name of Jesus the Saviour!

“May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17). Amen.

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