Monday, February 14, 2011

An Excerpt from "Thoughts on Fasting and Temperance" by St. Sebastian

Such is the mercy of God's condescension towards us, that we should be again restored to the former dignity, which we had enjoyed through His love to man, and which mercy we did not carefully keep. Fasting is a type of the future life, an imitation of the incorruptible existence...Do not flee from the difficulty of fasting, but set up hope against the trial, and you will obtain the desired abstinence from food. Repeat to yourself the words of the pious: "Fasting is bitter, but paradise is sweet; thirst is tormenting, but the spring, from which he who drinks will thirst never again, is at hand." The body is importunate, but the immaterial soul is much stronger—strength is dead, but nigh is the resurrection. Let us say to our much-craving stomach what the Lord said to the tempter: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Luke 4:4). Fasting is not hunger, but a little abstinence from food, not an inevitable punishment, but a voluntary continence, not a servile necessity, but a free selection of the wise. Pray and you will be strengthened; call, and a prompt helper will come to your assistance.

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