Monday, March 5, 2018

Elder Nikon of New Skete: "If Christ benefited from fasting, then I will fast too!"

Christ being tempted and overcoming the devil in the desert (source)

“When man practices asceticism, the devil often gets in over his head. 
Because he knows what a weapon the fasting is! What power the fasting has! 
That is why, during the fasting seasons, during the Great Lent, Dormition Fast and now in the Nativity Fast, which is an easy fast, the devil is getting crazy seeking to destroy our fast by determining us to argue with each other, determining us to judge, to look at what the others are doing to lose the reward we will receive from God for fasting. 
During the fasting seasons we should be more cautious, more vigilant, in a deeper state of awakening and more prayer. 
Let the fast be not only of our stomach
Let it be of our eyes also, for the  ears to fast from what they hear, and the  tongue to fast from what it says, to fast from everything! 
Let us fast, but know that because we will make the devil to suffer, he will attack us! 
Do not worry at all about this! He can not do anything! If he could, then he would! 
And if you hear a smart one telling you that Scripture says that it is not a sin what goes into the mouth, but what comes out of it, what he or she says, that it is important, as Christ says, and not what you put into your mouth. 
And they want to say, using the Christ’s words, that fasting is not necessary, because Christ Himself said that what comes out of your mouth, that will condemn you, not what you put into your mouth. 
If somebody tells you such a thing, tell him or her too: If Christ benefited from fasting, then  I will fast too! If I will perform more miracles than Christ, then I will immediately interrupt my fasting. Meanwhile, if He benefited from fasting, then I will benefit even more! 
Continue to fast! And let the smart ones in their cleverness!”
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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