1st Discourse on Fasting [1]

1st Discourse on Fasting [1]


Saint Basil the Great


Fasting is a prophetic command

‘Sound the trumpet on the day of the new moon, in the glorious day of your feast’. (Ps. 80, 3).

This is a prophetic ordinance. For us, the readings (Is. 58, 4-6) resound louder than the trumpet and any other musical organ, announcing the awaited feast of feasts [‘If you fast for quarrels and strife, and strike the humble with your fists, why do you fast to me as you do today, so that your voice may be heard when you cry aloud? I have not chosen this fasting and such a day to afflict the soul of the humble. Nor should you bend your neck as a ring, or place sackcloth and ashes beneath you, because you shall not call this an acceptable fast. I have not chosen such as fast, says the Lord, but loose all the bonds of injustice, undo the knots of hard bargains, set the wounded free, and break every unfair agreement’]. We’ve learned the grace of the fast from Isaiah, who rejected the Jewish mode of fasting and showed us the true way. And the Lord says: ‘Do not look dismal, but put oil on your head and wash your face’ (Matth. 6, 16-17). Let us, then, behave as we’ve been taught, let’s not be seen frowning in the days to come, but let’s look at them with a smiling face, and behave as the saints would. No-body who’s faint-hearted is crowned and nobody who’s miserable wins a trophy. Don’t frown if people are taking care of you. It’s unseemly not to rejoice over the health of the soul and, instead, to be sad over the change of food and to make it look as though we enjoy the pleasures of the flesh rather than the care of our soul. Because satiety restricts pleasure to the belly, whereas fasting increases the benefit to the soul. Be glad that the doctor’s given you medication that destroys sin. Just as, in the intestines of young children, worms disappear with certain active remedies, so sin, which lies in the depths of the soul, is killed by fasting which enters the soul, provided this fasting is worthy of the name.

(to be continued)

Source: pemptousia.com




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OCN has partnered with Pemptousia. A Contemporary post-modern man does not understand what man is.  Through its presence in the internet world, Pemptousia, with its spirit of respect for beauty that characterizes it, wishes to contribute to the presentation of a better meaning of life for man, to the search for the ontological dimension of man, and to the awareness of the unfathomable mystery of man who is always in Christ in the process of becoming, of man who is in the image of divine beauty. And the beauty of man springs from the beauty of the Triune God. In the end, “beauty will save the world”.

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Pemptousia Partnership

Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person ­– the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.