1st Discourse on Fasting [4]

1st Discourse on Fasting [4]


Saint Basil the Great


Through fasting we return to paradise
4. Because we didn’t fast, we left paradise. Let us fast, then, so that we can return to it. Look at Lazarus, who entered paradise through fasting (Luke 16, 20-31). Don’t imitate Eve’s disobedience, don’t accept the serpent again as a symbol, urging us to eat and take care of the body.

If people are ill, we don’t prescribe a variety of foods, but fasting and diet. And don’t make the excuse that you’re ill or weak. Because you aren’t telling me your justifications, but Him Who knows. Tell me, you can’t fast? You can, though, stuff yourself your whole life long and wear away your body with the weight of food. Yet I know that doctors tell patients not to eat and to go on a diet. So how do you, who can do one thing, pretend that you can’t do the other? What’s easier on the stomach, to get through the night on the frugality of a diet or to lie there, heavy with the weight of too much food. And it [the stomach] probably doesn’t just lie there, but makes you toss and turn because it’s stuffed so full and is worried that it may burst open. Unless you’re saying that helmsmen find it easier to save a ship that’s overladen than one that’s well-equipped and light. Because in the first instance, a ship founders in the slightest storm, because of the weight of its cargo, whereas one whose cargo is properly arranged easily ploughs through the storm, because there’s nothing to stop it riding the waves. So it is that the bodies of people who are always full because of over-eating are more susceptible to illnesses. But when you ingest plain, light food, the harm you’re expecting from the illness is avoided, just as a ship avoids a storm. And any irritation that’s already present is overcome as if it were a passing turbulence. And if you say that indulgence is more beneficial than diet for patients, it’s as if you’re saying that rest is more tiring than running or relaxation than struggling.

The richness and variety of foods is what caused various forms of illness. The strength that the body needs is easily provided and afforded by the self-sufficiency and frugality of those being nourished. But once you start adopting a variety of rich foods, then you can’t tolerate them in the end and this is what causes different illnesses.

Read the previous parts here (part 1, part 2, part 3)

Source: pemptousia.com




Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is a 501(c)3 and an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America . It is a recognized leader in the Orthodox Media field and has sustained consistent growth over twenty-two years. We have worked to create a community for both believers and non believers alike by sharing the timeless faith of Orthodoxy with the contemporary world through modern media. We are on a mission to inspire Orthodox Christians Worldwide. Click to signup to receive weekly newsletter. 

Join us in our Media Ministry Missions! Help us bring the Orthodox Faith to the fingertips of Orthodox Christians worldwide! Your gift today will helps us produce and provide unlimited access to Orthodox faith-inspiring programming, services and community. Don’t wait. Share the Love of Orthodoxy Today!

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”.

About author

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.