Editor’s Note: As we have mentioned before, Fr. Dmitry Smirnov is a very popular Russian priest, a dedicated activist in the fight against abortion, and an influential supporter of large families, homeschooling, and traditional family values. He has a huge media presence, regularly appears on television, and has numerous subscribers and fans in Russia and in other countries.
He is prized by many for his unapologetic refusal to sugarcoat anything. When discussing the necessity of submitting to one’s spouse, his explanation is very clear.
Question from a viewer:
“My husband is categorically opposed to me fasting. He believes that that fasting would have a bad effect on my health, so he makes me eat meat during Lent. Please advise me on what to do in this situation. I want to fast.”
It depends on the goal. If the goal is to cause division in the family, then you need to make a scandal, and fast. But if the goal is to strengthen the family, you need to eat whatever your husband tells you to eat, wholeheartedly. Everything depends on the goal.
Many people say it is a great sin to avoid fasting during Lent.
This is a misconception. It is a misconception that contradicts the canons of the Church.
The great sin — the enormous sin — is when a wife doesn’t listen to her husband.
It creates division in the family.
Yes, this is a great sin. Why? Because in Scripture it is written:
“Let the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33)
What does that mean? It means the wife is afraid to upset him.
To reverence your husband is like reverencing God, fearing to upset him.
If your husband is upset, then say,
“My Beloved, I will eat fish, pelmeni, a porkchop, and some dessert with jam.”
Say all of this to him. That’s all.
Do this, if he is indeed your husband:
“Wives, submit unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22)
It was the Lord who taught us to fast. The Lord said to fast, so we fast.
But if your husband says not to fast, then do not fast.
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