Monday, February 24, 2014

The Purpose of Fasting

"For us who believe in theosis, asceticism’s very purpose is the retraining of the will, not for the sake of mere self-discipline, but rather because the will has to become receptive to divine grace in order to receive it." - Fr. Andrew

" Bringing our body and our will into greater submission to God strengthens us in the work of repentance. But the fast of Great Lent is far more than changing our eating habits. It includes increasing our time at prayer. The services are longer and we should make every effort to attend – at least more services than we have been attending. Fasting includes what we do with the goods of this world. Denying ourselves the benefit of our own riches, we share them with those who have less. This action conforms our heart to the heart of God and teaches us compassion." - Fr. Stephen 

"Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works. If you see a poor man, take pity on him.If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him. Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice. Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin. Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful. Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip. Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism. For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and devour our brothers?" - St. John Chrysostom

"None of these actions earns us anything because we are not saved by such works. But neither is the grace at work in us a legal concept. Grace is the very Life of God dwelling in us, changing us from one degree of glory to another. Grace is the 'Lord concealed in the innermost sanctuary of our being, stimulating us to carry out the commandments…' We do not keep the Fast. The Fast keeps us." - Fr. Stephen

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