One of the many blessings of being at Holy Resurrection Monastery is our extended community. This blessing showed its face again yesterday. The kids from a family in the village made a ‘Smart Christian’s Survival Guide to Holy Week and Pascha’ poster and put it on our monastery billboard. It had plenty of helpful advice, but by far the community favorite was ‘Don’t Get Hangry!’. It also offered a scriptural quote from Matthew 4:4 reminding us that we are not to live by bread alone.
Hangry is a word that is a combination of angry and hungry. It is that frustration and anger that occur as a result of being hungry. This word should become a staple for us Byzantines during the Great Fast. We’ve all been there. We are fasting, hungry, and get a bit short tempered with other members of our families, communities, friends, and even strangers. I’m reminded of the teaching we receive from some early Fathers of the Church about how it does no good to fast from food if we devour our brother with our mean-spirited words. Let’s remember this during Holy Week.
What should we do if we give in to hangriness as a result of fasting?
We should be grateful! We should thank our good God!
Don’t get me wrong. First, we should repent for getting hangry. This means that we decide that we want to turn from the anger we experienced and move towards greater patience. Repenting and going to confession is a reason for joy. It should renew us. We should apologize to the person with who we got hangry. Then comes the unexpected reason to be thankful to God.
Most of the time we are unable to see an issue until it makes itself very clear. Certain circumstances allow the issue to present itself. In our example of hanger, someone who is not usually angry may experience anger when hungry from extended fasting. The view of oneself as not suffering from the vice of anger may be shattered in this scenario.
This is what we want, right?
A surgeon needs to know what is wrong to perform the operation. Sin is our sickness, and we want to operate on that sickness. The first step is always seeing just what the sin is and then we can go from there. Getting hangry can bring our sickness to light and allow us to reach out in prayer to God and ask Him, the Divine Physician, to help us heal. It allows us to see our weakness, and humble ourselves, thus working towards the defeat of pride.
Sin itself is not good, but where sin abounds grace abounds even more. We do not sin for this reason but after we have sinned we know that it can, by the grace of God, work towards our good and healing.
But if you do, call the Divine Physician, and give glory to God!
Pray for me.
I’ll pray for you.