O my soul, give yourself up to repentance; be united to Christ in thought; cry out with groans: “Grant me pardon for my evil deeds that I may receive from you, who alone are good (cf. Mk 10,18), absolution and life eternal”…
Moses and Elijah, those fiery towers, were great in their deeds… First among the prophets, they spoke freely to God; astonishingly, and unbelievably, they took delight in approaching him to pray and converse with him face to face (Ex 34,5; 1Kgs 19,13). All the same, they took care to have recourse to the fasting that brought them to God (Ex 34,28; 1Kgs 19,8). Therefore fasting, together with deeds, brings about life eternal.
By fasting, devils are repulsed as by a sword for they cannot bear its joys. What they love is the gamester and drunkard. But if they see the face of fasting they are unable to support it; they flee far away from it as Christ our God teaches, saying: “It is by fasting and prayer that demons are cast out” (cf. Mk 9,29). This is why we are taught that fasting brings us to life eternal…
Fasting restores to those who practice it the father’s house from which Adam was cast out… God himself, the friend of man (Wsd 1,6), first entrusted to fasting the man he had created, as to a loving mother, as to a teacher. He had forbidden him to taste of one tree only (Gn 2,17) and if the man had observed this fast he would have dwelt with angels. But he rejected it and so found anguish and death, the sharpness of thorns and thistles and the sorrow of a miserable life (Gn 3,17f.) Now, if fasting is shown to be of value in Paradise, how much more must it be so here below to win us life eternal!
Saint Romanos Melodios (?-c.560), composer of hymns
I’m especially struck by that last paragraph. I had never thought about it in that light, that Adam and Eve were given a fast by God when they were forbidden to eat from the fruit of one tree. That our first parents fasted in Paradise… That truly is something to ponder in this season of Lent.
Quotation taken from Daily Gospel Online.
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