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True fasting is to be converted in heart and will; it is to return to God, to come home like the Prodigal to our Father's house. In the words of St. John Chrysostom, it means 'abstinence not only from food but from sins'. 'The fast', he insists, 'should be kept not by the mouth alone but also by the eye, the ear, the feet, the hands and all the members of the body': the eye must abstain from impure sights, the ear from malicious gossip, the hands from acts of injustice. 6 It is useless to fast from food, protests St. Basil, and yet to indulge in cruel criticism and slander: 'You do not eat meat, but you devour your brother'
A very timely, albeit lengthy, treatise on fasting and abstinence. With Ash Monday on Feb. 19 and Ash Wednesday on Feb. 21, this is an excellent opportunity to reflect on our lives and formulate a plan for Lent.
'You do not eat meat, but you devour your brother'
Wisdom that applies to all liturgical seasons, not just Lent. Thank you for the post and ping!
posted on 02/10/2007 6:05:27 AM PST
("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
It is long, but I felt that what it says is important for all of us in The Church to think on as we approach the holiest time of the year. Great Lent is a time to look forward to as a period when we can focus on what really counts in our lives, which is to say, that we fulfill the purpose for which God created us. The ancient, scriptural practice of fasting clears the mind and the body, so that we might more clearly focus on Christ in preparation for our liberation at the Resurrection. That's not something most of us can do starting on the way to Church on Pascha.
posted on 02/10/2007 6:31:45 AM PST
(Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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