1st Discourse on Fasting [2]

1st Discourse on Fasting [2]


Saint Basil the Great


We should fast without hypocrisy and cleanse the soul from sins.

‘Pour oil on your head and wash your face’ (Matth. 6, 17). This saying is inviting you into sacramental rituals. If you pour oil on your head, you’re anointed; if you wash, you’re made clean. You have to realize within your inner self what the command means. Cleanse your soul from sin. Anoint your head with holy chrism so that you can become a partaker of Christ, and then you can enter the fast. Don’t alter your countenance, the way the hypocrites do. Your face is blackened when your inner disposition is overshadowed by a meretricious external appearance, when it’s hidden by falsehood, as if with a curtain. Hypocrites [the old word in Greek for ‘actors’] are people who assume a different face in the theatre. They may be slaves, but they often play the master; citizens, but assume the part of king. So it is in this life, too, that many people act on the stage, some keeping their deceit in their hearts, others showing it openly to other people. So don’t alter your face. Whoever you are, let other people see it. Don’t pretend to frown so that people will praise you for your self-restraint. Because no good action that’s proclaimed to many people is of any benefit and there’s no profit from fasting if it’s made public. Things which are done for show don’t bear fruit in the next life, but, instead, do no more than bring praise from other people. So hasten joyfully to the gift of the fast. It’s an ancient gift. It doesn’t age or grow old, but is always fresh. It always blossoms and bears ripe fruit.

(to be continued)

Read the first part here

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.