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Fasting and the body

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Fasting and the Body
Fasting and the Body

+ “It is strange, while we care and increase our concern for our bodies, and eat delicious food for our health, and go out in the open air; we find our souls at the end subject to the diseases and the pains. At the same time, the saints, who scorned their bodies and mortified them with work and permanent prayer, are more healthy and safe!

And while our bodies, which were cared for, disintegrate and produce a bad smell after death; the neglected and the scorned bodies of these saints, remain fragrant and produce pure scents, even after death!

It is a strange matter really, since we appear as if we build, while we destroy without being aware of that, and while they destroy, through wisdom they build!”

“He who finds his life will loose it, and he who looses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt 10:39)

+ “We do not fear an external enemy, because our enemy is inside us, and every day the war starts inside of us by us and on us. If we are victorious in it, as soldiers for Christ, all external matters become easy for us, and peace prevails, and all our senses are submitted to us. At that time, we do not fear any external enemy if the inside was subjugated for us and defeated for our will.

We should not think that the external fast from food alone is sufficient for the perfection and the safety of the heart and the purity of the body, unless the fasting of the soul was helping it from inside. Because the soul also has dangerous kinds of food. If the soul was used to them, it will fall deeply in sin and will go astray. Gossip, rage, jealousy, envy, and hatred are the foods that lead the soul to destruction.

Also every lust and all deviating desires of the heart are considered food to the soul that feed it as if a poison, and then it remains without a share of the heavenly bread. If we were devoting all our powers to abstain from all these types of food, with a strong sacred fast, taking into consideration the physical fast, at that time the body becomes with the soul an accepted sacrifice, and the heart a pure place for holiness.

If we were fasting according to the body only and we are tied by sins and vices, then humiliating our bodies will not benefit us anything as long as that sacred part in us is impure.

When our external man is fasting, our duty is to control the inner man and prevent him from each food that spoils him. This inner man is the one that the apostle urges us to offer in purity before God, as our priority, to be worthy for the dwelling of Christ in him”.

By: St. John Cassian