1st Discourse on Fasting [3]

Saint Basil the Great


Do you think I derive its antiquity from the Law? Fasting is older than the Law. Just be patient and you’ll see the truth of this.

Fasting was the first commandment of God in paradise. When Adam and Eve broke it, it marked the fall of the human race into sin.

Don’t think that the Day of Atonement, which had been ordained for Israel for the tenth day in the seventh month (Lev. 16, 29), is the beginning of fasting. If we take a walk through history, we’ll be able to investigate its antiquity. Because it’s not something that’s recently been thought up. It’s a legacy from the Fathers. Everything that’s ancient is worthy of respect. Respect the antiquity of fasting. It’s as old as humanity itself, because it was legislated for in paradise. It’s the first commandment that Adam received: ‘You shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ (Gen. 2, 17). ‘You shall not eat’ is a legal prohibition regulating fasting and self-control. Had Eve abstained from eating the fruit of the tree, we’d have had no need of this fasting. ‘For the healthy have no need of a doctor, but the sick do’ (Matth. 9, 12).

Repentance without fasting is hollow
We’ve suffered much evil because of sin; let’s be cured through repentance. But repentance without fasting is hollow. ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; it will produce thorns and thistles for you’ (Gen. 3, 17-18). You were ordered to be tested, not, of course, to live a life of luxury. Through fasting, confess to God.

And the way of life in paradise is also an image of paradise, not merely because Adam and Eve, sitting at the same table as the angels, managed, through frugality, to resemble them, but also because all the things which the human mind later invented, wasn’t available to those who were nourished in paradise. There was no wine-drinking, no killing of animals, none of the things that confuse our mind.

Read the previous parts here (part 1, part 2)

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”.


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.


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