My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,



The Lord Jesus Christ says:

"Moreover, when you fast, do NOT be like the hypocrites, with a
sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may
appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have
their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash
your face, so that you do NOT appear to men to be fasting, but
to your Father who is in the secret place and your Father who
sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:16-18).

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted
by the devil. And when He HAD FASTED FORTY DAYS AND FORTY
NIGHTS, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him,
he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become
bread. But He answered and said, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread
alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ (Matthew 4:1-4).

Our Lord Jesus Christ off fasting and in the end abolished the serpent’s tyranny, set us free, and brought us back to life, as Moses foretold. After fasting on the mountain Moses received tablets, the work of God, and later received again, on the second set of tablets, the law written by the finger of God… Also, the whole Hebrew nation, while Moses was fasting on the mountain for their sake, were indulging themselves to their own detriment. They ate and drank and rose up to play, as the Scripture says (Exodus 32:6), and their sport was worshipping an idol, for it was then that the incidents surrounding the fashioning of the calm took place among them.

Saint Gregory Palamas writes, "Sensual pleasure causes ungodliness as well as sin, but FASTING AND SELF-CONTROL RESULT IN THE FEAR OF GOD AS WELL AS VIRTUE. Why? Because eating one fill, even of humble foods, is a hindrance to the purifying mourning, godly sorrow, and contrition in our souls, which bring about unswerving repentance leading to salvation. For without a contrite heart we cannot really lay hold or repentance. It is the restriction of self-indulgence, sleep, and the senses according to God’s will that crushes our hearts and makes us mourn for our sins.

When that rich man in the Gospel said to himself, "Eat, drink and be merry" (Luke 12:19), the wretch made himself fit for the eternal flames and unfit for this present life. Let us, on the contrary, brethren, tell ourselves to be temperate, to fast, to keep watch, to be restrained, to be humble, and to suffer hardship for our salvation. Then we shall finish this present life in a good way pleasing to God and inherit the blessed life without end."

Saint Gregory Palamas continues: "In this time OF FASTING and PRAYER, brethren, let us with all our hearts forgive anything real or imaginary w have against anyone…having good thoughts and disposition within us before God and men. In this way, our fasting will be readily received. We shall rightly call upon Him as our Father by grace and we can boldly say to Him, "Father, forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matthew 6:12).

Again, he who schemes against our souls another means to render our prayer and fasting useless, SELF-CONCEIT. Because that Pharisee was conceited when he fasted and prayed, he was sent away empty-handed (Luke 18:10-14). We know, however, that people with PROUD HEARTS ARE UNCLEAN AND UNACCEPTABLE TO GOD, AND WE ARE WELL AWARE THAT WE OWE GOD MANY LARGE DEBTS AND PAY BACK VERY LITTLE. So let us forget those things which are behind as worthless, and reach out towards those things which lie ahead (cf. Phil. 3:11). Let us fast and pray with contrite hearts, self-reproach, and humility that our fasting and our regular attendance and presence in God’s Church may be pure and pleasing to Him.

Another of the evil one’s methods of making our toil and fasting and prayer fruitless is to persuade us TO ACCOMPLISH THEM HYPOCRITICALLY FOR THE SAKE OF VAINGLORY. This is why the Lord COMMANDS US in the Gospel, saying, "Enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly" (Matthew 6:6).

"When we practice both spiritual and bodily fasting and pray, for us too, the fire of fleshly desire will be extinguished with the help of good Angels, and anger will be tamed like a lion. We will become partakers of prophetic food with hope, faith, and an inner vision of good things to come, and we will be able to tread on serpents and scorpions and over, all the power of the enemy.

"Fasting which is neither like this nor carried out in this way is more akin to the evil angels, for their own abstention from food is accompanied BY ANGER, HATRED, PRIDE, AND OPPOSITION TO GOD. As servants and helpers of the good, WE ARE THEIR OPPONENTS. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood", says the Apostle, "BUT AGAINST PRINCIPALITIES, AGAINST POWERS, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD, AGAINST SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS" (Ephesians 6:12). We do not resist them just by fasting, BUT WE USE THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS TO PROTECT US, THE HELMET OF SAVING WORKS OF MERCY, AND THE SHIELD OF FAITH (cf. I Thessalonians 5:8; Ephesians 6:16). Also, the sword of the Spirit, which is more than sufficient for defense, that is, God’s saving word to us (Ephesians 6:14-17). So let us fight the good fight (I Timothy 6:12), keep THE FAITH FIRM, QUENCH ALL THE FIERY DARTS OF THE EVIL ONE (cf. Ephesians 6:16) and, when we have been proclaimed victors in everything, we shall attain to pure heavenly crowns and rejoice eternally together with the Angels in Christ Himself, our Lord.

To Whom belong all glory, might, honor, and worship, together with His Father without beginning, and the All-Holy, Good, and Life-Giving Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen. [Source: Saint Gregory Palamas.  The HOMILIES]


"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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