Lenten Fasting

“…let our every care be for the salvation of souls, and for ways of curbing the motions of the flesh and demonstrating a real fast. Abstinence from food, after all, is undertaken for this purpose, to curb the exuberance of the flesh and bring the beast under control. The person fasting ought most of all keep anger in check, learn the lesson of mildness and kindness, have a contrite heart, banish the flood of unworthy passions, keep before one’s eyes that unsleeping eye and that incorruptible tribunal, avoid becoming enthralled by  money, be lavish in almsgiving, drive all ill-will to one’s neighbor from the soul. This is real fasting, as Isaiah says when speaking as God’s mouthpiece: ‘I did not choose this fast, says the Lord-not to bend your neck like a dog collar, nor to make your bed of dust and ashes, not to call a fast of this kind acceptable, says the Lord.’ So what kind, pray? ‘Loose the bonds of crippling contracts, he says, ‘share your bread with the hungry, welcome the homeless poor into your home.’ And if you do these things, he says, ‘then your Light will burst forth like the dawn, and your healing will emerge.’” (St.John Chyrsostom, The Fathers of the Church – Homilies on Genesis 1-17, pgs.113-114)