Showing posts with label Fasting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fasting. Show all posts

Friday, March 29, 2013

St. Isaac the Syrian on Fasting

Christ fasting for forty days after His Baptism, and being tempted by the devil, 12th century mosaic from the Basilica of St. Mark, Venice, Italy (source)
 
St. Isaac the Syrian on Fasting

The man who during his whole life loves the conversation of this yoke-mate fasting is a friend of chastity. Just as the satisfaction of the belly is the source of all evils, and as the slackness of sleep kindles the lust of fornication, so fasting, vigil, and wakefulness in God’s service by withstanding the sweetness of sleep through crucifying the body throughout the day and night, are God’s holy pathway and the foundation of every virtue. Fasting is the champion of every virtue, the beginning of the struggle, the crown of the abstinent, the beauty of virginity and sanctity, the resplendence of chastity, the commencement of the path of Christianity, the mother of prayer, the well-spring of sobriety and prudence, the teacher of stillness, and the precursor of all good works. Just as the enjoyment of light is coupled with healthy eyes, so desire for prayer accompanies fasting that is practiced with discernment.
When a man begins to fast, he straightway yearns in his mind to enter into converse with God. For the body that fasts cannot endure to sleep upon its pallet all the night through. Fasting naturally incites wakefulness unto God, not only during the day, but also at night. For the empty body of a faster is not greatly wearied by the battle against sleep. And even if his senses are weakened, his mind is wakeful unto God in prayer. It is better for a man to desist from his liturgy because of weakness due to fasting, than because of sloth due to eating. When the seal of fasting is set upon a man’s lips, his thought reflects with compunction, his heart pours forth prayer, gloom lies upon his countenance, shameful thoughts are far removed from him, cheer cannot be detected in his eyes, and he is an enemy of lusts and vain conversations. No one has ever seen a discerning faster enslaved by evil desires. Fasting with discernment is a spacious mansion for every good thing; but he who neglects fasting makes every good totter. For fasting was the commandment that was given to our nature in the beginning to protect it with respect to the tasting of food, and in this point the progenitor of our substance fell. There, however, where the first defeat was suffered, the ascetic strugglers make their beginning in the fear of God as they start to keep His laws.
And the Saviour also, when He manifested Himself to the world in the Jordan, began at this point. For after His baptism the Spirit led Him into the wilderness and He fasted for forty days and forty nights. Likewise all who set out to follow in His footsteps make the beginning of their struggle upon this foundation. For this is a weapon forged by God, and who shall escape blame if he neglects it? And if the Lawgiver Himself fasts, who among those who keep the law has no need of fasting? This is why the human race knew no victory before fasting, and the devil had never experienced defeat from our nature; but this weapon has made him powerless from the outset. Our Lord was the firstborn Leader of victory, so as to set the first crown of victory upon the head of our nature. When the devil, that foe and tyrant, sees a man bearing this weapon, he is straightway frightened and he recollects and considers that defeat which he suffered in the wilderness at the hands of the Saviour; at once his strength is shattered and the very sight of this weapon, given us by our Commander-in-chief, burns him. What weapon is more powerful and gives more boldness to the heart in the time of battle against the spirits of wickedness, than hunger endured for Christ’s sake? For the more the body toils and endures hardship when the phalanx of the demons encompasses a man, the more his heart is given succour by the power of confidence. He who has armed himself with the weapon of fasting is afire with zeal at all times. Elias the zealot also pursued the work of fasting when he was zealous for God’s law. Furthermore, fasting reminds the faster of the commandments of the Spirit and it is an intermediary between the old Law and the grace given us by Christ. He who is negligent with respect to fasting is slothful, heedless, and feeble in the other ascetical struggles as well and he manifests an inception and an evil token of slackness in his soul, thus giving his antagonist an opportunity for defeating him. It is evident that he who enters naked and unarmed into the struggle will retreat from it without gaining the victory; for his limbs were not shielded with the warmth of fasting’s hunger. Such is the nature of fasting, that whoever perseveres in it will possess an unshakeable mind, one ready to encounter and repel all the troublesome passions.
It is said concerning many of the martyrs, that when they foreknew, either by revelation or by information received from one of their friends, the day on which they were to receive the crown of martyrdom, they did not taste anything the preceding night, but from evening till morning they stood keeping vigil in prayer, glorifying God in psalms, hymns, and spiritual odes, and they looked forward to that hour with joy and exultation, waiting to meet the sword in their fast as ones prepared for the nuptials. Therefore let us also be vigilant, we who are called to an unseen martyrdom so as to receive the crowns of sanctification, so that we may never give our enemies a sign of denial with any member or part of our body. 
St Isaac the Syrian, First Collection, from Homily 37. Source.
   
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

St. Dorotheos of Gaza on the Great Lenten Fast

Icon of Christ Pantocrator, St. Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai (source)
 
St. Dorotheos of Gaza on the Great Lenten Fast

In the Law, God laid down that the sons of Israel should each year give tithes of all they possessed, and if they did so they were blessed in all their works. The holy Apostles, knowing this to be for the help and advancement of our souls, resolved to fulfil it in a better and higher way, namely, for us to deliver up a tithe of the very days of our lives as if to consecrate them to God, so that we may be blessed in all our works, and each year to be unburdened of the whole year’s sins. They elected to consecrate out of the three hundred and sixty-five days of the year, seven weeks of fasting, and so they ordained; but our Fathers, in their time, thought it advisable to add another week, both to train and better prepare themselves to enter on the labor of fasting and to honor with their fasting the holy number of forty days which our Lord fasted. The eight weeks, subtracting Saturdays and Sundays, makes forty days, but we honor Holy Saturday with a fast because it is a very holy day and the only Saturday fast of the year.

The seven weeks, without Saturdays, gives thirty-five days, and if we finally add the half of the brilliant and light-giving night, this makes thirty-six and a half, which is exactly a tenth of three hundred and sixty-five. For thirty is the tenth of three hundred, six is the tenth of sixty, and the tenth of five is one half. Here then, are the thirty-six and a half days, the very tithing of the whole year as one might say, which the holy Apostles consecrated to penance for the cleansing of our sins of the whole year. Whoever, therefore, keeps careful guard over himself, as is fitting during these holy days, will be rewarded with blessings, brothers, even if it happens that, being a man, he has sinned either through weakness or carelessness. You see, God gave us these holy days so that by diligence in abstinence, in the spirit of humility and repentance, a man may be cleansed of the sins of the whole year and the soul relieved of its burden. Purified, he goes forward to the holy day of the Resurrection, and being made a new man through the change of heart induced by the fast, he can take his part in the Holy Mysteries and remain in spiritual joy and happiness, feasting with God the whole fifty days. Paschal time, as has been said, is the resurrection of the soul and the sign of this is that we do not kneel in church during the whole season up to Pentecost.

Everyone who wants to purify himself of the sins of the whole year during these days must first of all restrain himself from the pleasure of eating. For the pleasure of eating, as the Fathers say, caused all men’s evil. Likewise he must take care not to break the fast without great necessity or to look for pleasurable things to eat, or weigh himself down by eating and drinking until he is full.

There are two kinds of gluttony. There is the kind which concerns taste: a man does not want to eat a lot but he wants it to be appetizing. It follows that such a person eats the food that pleases him and is defeated by the pleasure of it. He keeps the food in his mouth, rolling it round and round, and has not the heart to swallow it because he enjoys the taste. This is called fastidiousness. Another man is concerned about satisfying himself. He doesn’t ask for fancy food nor does he care especially about whether the taste is nice or not, he only wants to eat and fill his stomach. This is gluttony. I will tell you how it gets its name: margainein means to rage furiously, to be mad; according to the profane, margos is the name given to the man who rages furiously or is mad. When this disease or mania for packing his belly full of food comes upon a man, therefore, it is called gastromargia, the madness of the stomach, whereas laimargia is the madness of the palate. These must be guarded against and abandoned seriously by the man who desires to be cleansed of his sins. They accord not with the needs of the body, but with its vicious inclinations, and if they are tolerated, they lead a man into sin. As is the case with legitimate marital union and fornication, the practice is the same but the object is different. In the one case, there is copulation in order to raise a family, in the other, to satisfy a desire for pleasure. The same is true with feeding: in one case it is a question of the body’s needs and in the other of eating for pleasure. The intention is what makes it a sin. A man eats to satisfy a need when he lays down how much he will take each day and, if what he has determined on overloads him, takes a little less, or if he is not overloaded and his body is weakened, adds a little. And so he estimates exactly his need and he bases his conclusion not on pleasure but on preserving the strength of his body. And what he takes he receives with prayer, deeming himself unworthy of that comfort and he is not on the look out to see if others, as is likely, because of special need or necessity are given special attention, lest he himself hankers for that comfort or think it a trivial thing for the soul to be at rest.

One day when I was in the monastery, I went to see one of the elders–and there were many great men among the elders there. I discovered that his disciple sat down to eat with him, and in private I said to the young man: You know, brother, these elders whom you see eating and taking a little recreation are like men who had deep purses and kept at work, always putting something into them until they filled them up. And after sealing them up they went on working some more and amassed another thousand crowns, so as to have something to draw on in time of need, and so they preserved what was sealed up in the purse. And so it is with these elders. They persevered in their labors, always storing up treasures for themselves, and after sealing up the treasure they worked a little more, and they hold these treasures in reserve for times of sickness and old age so they have something to draw on, and still preserve the treasures they have stored up. But we haven’t even a purse to draw on!

As I was saying, therefore, we ought, even if we take food out of necessity, to consider ourselves unworthy of any kind of special relief or even of monastic life itself–and not take food purely for pleasure, and in this way food will not bring our condemnation.

Enough about sobriety in eating. We must not only keep a sharp watch over our diet, but keep away from all other kinds of sin so that as our stomach keeps fast, so also may our tongue as we abstain from calumny, from deceit, from idle talk, from railing and anger and all other vices which arise from the tongue.

So also let our eyes keep fast. No looking for trivialities, no letting the eyes wander freely, no impudent lying in wait for people to talk to. The same with the hands and feet, to prevent them from doing anything evil. Fasting in this way, as Saint Basil says, is an acceptable fast and, leaving behind all the evil to which our senses are inclined, we may come to the holy day of the Resurrection, renewed and clean and worthy to share in the Holy Mysteries, as we have already said.

First we go out to meet our Lord and receive him with palms and olive branches and seat him on the colt and come with him into the Holy City. What does this mean, sitting on a colt? He is seated on a colt that he may convert the soul (which, as the Prophet says, has become irrational and is compared to senseless beasts) into an image of God, and subject it to his own divinity. What does it mean, going to meet him with palms and olive branches? When someone marches out to war against an adversary and returns victorious, all his own people go before him with palm branches to mark his victory. The palm-branch is the symbol of victory. Again, when one man is injured by another, he desires to approach an authority who can vindicate him. He carries an olive branch and calls out, asking to be heard and helped. The olive branch is the symbol of mercy. Therefore, we go out to meet our Master Christ with palms because he is victorious–for he conquered our enemy–and with olive branches–for we are asking his mercy. May we, by asking, conquer through him and be found carrying the emblems of his victory, not only the victory by which he won for us, but also the victory which we won also through him by the prayers of all the Saints. Amen.
   
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Friday, December 7, 2012

St. Silouan the Athonite on the Saints and Monastics

St. Silouan the Athonite (source)
 
St. Silouan the Athonite on the Saints and Monastics (amateur translation)
The world is upheld through the prayers of the Saints. And the monk is called, that he might pray on behalf of the world, for this is his whole being. In this resides his service, and because of this he should not be burdened by worldly cares. The monk must live in continuous continence. If, however, he is occupied by worldly cares, then he is forced to eat more, and from this comes injury in general, for he who eats as is appropriate cannot pray in a befitting manner. Grace loves us to live in a body withered through asceticism.
(http://agioritikoslogos.blogspot.com/2012/12/blog-post.html)
 
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Repentance, Asceticism and the World

Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Savior (http://fedoroff.net/_ph/21/587793415.jpg)
  
Blessed Theodora also narrated that one monk asked Abba Isiah: Why is it that those who live in the world with their negligence toward fasting, neglect for prayer, running away from vigils, and lack of humility; with their taking pleasure in food, living according to their passions, ‘devouring’ each other, spending the entire day cursing and swearing – how is it that they do not fall, and do not even say that they sin? Yet we monks, with our fasts; vigils; sleeping on the ground; eating only bread; abstinence from wine, oil, and all bodily comfort; with mourning and sobbing – we say we have lost our souls, have deprived ourselves of the Kingdom of Heaven, and are condemned to torments? Are not the Law and the commandments given to everyone equally?
  
The good Father shed tears and sighed from the depth of his soul and said: You said well, my son, that worldly people do not fall. This is because after they have fallen once, terribly and bitterly, they cannot get up nor do they have any place further to fall. The devil has no need to wrestle or fight against those who are always lying down and never get up. Monks – at times vanquishing and at other times being vanquished; attacking and attacked – they still antagonize the devil. Worldly people, because of their senselessness and ignorance, because of their love for the world and worldly things, remain in their first downfall, not even seeing or realizing their fall. You must understand that not only do you and I – we who only seem to be monks, while not living the monastic life – have need to always weep and lament, but even the great Fathers – in other words, the true ascetics and hermits – had need to be constantly weeping. Listen to this carefully and judge for yourself. Lying is from the devil, as says the Lord (Jn. 8:44). To look upon a woman to lust after her, He put alongside fornication; to be angry with one’s neighbour, He equated with murder, and declared that there is need even to account for every idle word. Who is he, or where do we find anyone who never was tempted by a lie; or by lust for a woman, and was not stained; and would not therefore have need of repentance? For all have sinned, and come short, of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).
  
However, know this, that whether one is a monk or a layperson, a bishop or a king – unless one gives himself totally to the Cross, in other words, gives himself to asceticism in humbleness of mind, he cannot be a true Christian. The Lord Jesus Christ our God beatifies such when He says: Blessed are the poor in spirit for their’s is the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt. 5:3). He did not say the “rich,” but the “poor.” Again: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled… Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted (Mt. 5:6,4).
  
So where is mentioned here those who lord over luxurious tables and all worldly things, and live in dissoluteness and excess, and enjoy everything to satiety, with laughter, with obscenity, and without fear of God? There are some unfortunate people in the world who say that fasting is demanded only for monks, along with all sufferings and the heavy yoke; people in the world can have pleasures, rest and all sorts of comforts. O you senseless and slow of heart! Do you not hear what the Lord says: Blessed are they which do hunger… for they shall be filled (Mt. 5:6), and Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger (Lk. 6:24-25). And Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it(Mt. 7:13-14).

This and all similar words are meant not for monks – because there were as yet no monks when Sweetest Jesus our God was teaching this – but for people living in the world, those who lead a bustling life, filled with material love. If the Lord was teaching this only for monks, then people in the world are more to be pitied and more unfortunate than even animals, since they would thereby be deprived of the holy commandments and the Beatitudes. If the Law is common to all, then common too are the yoke and the Beatitudes, the Judgement and Hell.
  
When the monk heard this from the Abba, my good Teacher, he was struck with amazement, and sighing deeply he fell to the feet of the honourable Father and said: So, holy Father, we need great labour, much sweat and asceticism. Pray for me, holy Father.
And the Abba blessed him and let him go.
(Taken from the book Matericon: Instructions of Abba Isaiah to the Honorable Nun Theodora pp. 81-83, published by St. Paisius Serbian Orthodox Monastery; http://lessonsfromamonastery.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/this-is-a-hard-saying-who-can-hear-it/).
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Selected Quotes of the Fathers on Fasting


Selected Quotes of the Fathers on Fasting
"...We must then so moderate our rightful use of food that our other desires may be subject to the same rule. For this is also a time of peace and serenity, in which having put away all stains of evil doing we strive after steadfastness in what is good. Now is the time when generous Christian souls forgive offences, pay no heed to insults, and wipe out the memory of past injuries. Now let the Christian soul exercise itself in the armour of justice, on the right hand and on the left, so that amid honour and dishonour, evil report and good, the praise of men will not make proud the virtue that is well rooted, the conscience that has peace, nor dishonour cast it down. The moderation of those who worship God is not melancholy, but blameless."
St. Leo the Great - "Lent the Season of Purification" (The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers)

"If anyone, while keeping fast, adds something to it by his own will, or if he fasts seeking men's praise or some gain from it, such a fast is abomination in the eyes of God. And so it is in all things. Every good action, which is done not merely from the love of God, but is mingled with one's own will, is unclean and unpleasing to God."
St. Barsanuphius and St. John - 'Directions in Spiritual Work' (The Philokalia)"

"And though every day a man lives may rightly be a day of repentance, yet is it in these days more becoming, more appropriate, to confess our sins, to fast, and to give alms to the poor; since in these days you may wash clean the sins of the whole year."
St. John Chrysostom - "The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers"

"It is remarkable that, however much we trouble about our health, however much care we take of ourselves, whatever wholesome and pleasant food and drink we take, however much we walk in the fresh air, still, notwithstanding all this, in the end we sicken and corrupt; whilst the saints, who despise the flesh, and mortify it by continual abstinance and fasting, by lying on the bare earth, by watchfulness, labours, unceasing prayer, make both their souls and bodies immortal. Our well-fed bodies decay and after death emit an offensive odour, whilst theirs remain fragrant and flourishing both in life and after death. It is a remarkable thing: we, by building up our body, destroy it, whilst they, by destroying theirs, build it up - by caring only for the fragrance of their souls before God, they obtain fragrance of the body also."
St. John of Kronstadt - 'My Life in Christ'"

"The heart cannot remain firm in purity, so as not to be defiled, if it will not be crushed by fasting. It is impossible also to preserve holiness without fasting, and the flesh will not submit to the spirit for spiritual activity, and prayer itself will not rise up and act because natural needs predominate. And the flesh will be compelled to become feverish. And from thoughts the heart is aroused and is defiled, and through this, grace departs, and the unclean spirits have boldness to rule over us as much as they wish."
St. Paisius Velichkovsky - 'Field Flowers'"

"My brethren, it is not possible for these things to come about in one day or one week! They will take much time, labor, and pain, in accordance with each man's attitude and willingness, according to the measure of faith (Rom, 12:3, 6) and one's contempt for the objects of sight and thought. In addition, it is also in accordance with the fervor of his ceaseless penitence and its constant working in the secret chamber of his heart (Mt. 6:6) that this is accomplished more quickly or more slowly by the gift and grace of God. But without fasting no one was ever able to achieve any of these virtues or any others, for fasting is the beginning and foundation of every spiritual activity. Whatever you will build on this foundation cannot collapse or be destroyed, because they are built on solid rock. But if you remove this foundation and substitute for it a full stomach and improper desires, they will be undermined like sand by evil thoughts, and the whole structure of virtues will be destroyed (cf. Mt. 7:26; Lk. 6:49). To prevent this from happening in our case, my brethren, let us gladly stand on the solid foundation of fasting. Let us stand firmly, let us stand willingly!"
St. Symeon the New Theologian - "The Discourses"

"When He had therefore fasted for forty days and for forty nights, and afterwards was hungry, He gave an opportunity to the devil to draw near, so that He might teach us through this encounter how we are to overcome and defeat him. This a wrestler also does. For in order to teach his pupils how to win he himself engages in contests with others, demonstrating on the actual bodies of others that they may learn how to gain the mastery. This is what took place here. For, desiring to draw the devil into contest, He made His hunger known to him. He met him as he approached, and meeting him, with the skill which He alone possessed, He once, twice, and a third time, threw His enemy to the ground."
St. John Chrysostom

"The outward man perishes through fasting and self-control, but the more he does so, the more the inward man is renewed..."
St. Gregory Palamas - "Homilies"

"Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works. If you see a poor man, take pity on him. If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him. Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye, and the ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice. Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin. Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful... Let the ear fast... by not listening to evil talk and gossip... Let the mouth fast from the foul words and unjust criticism. For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and devour our brothers?"
St. John Chrysostom - "The Proof of Fasting"
(All quotes taken from: http://scienceofsalvation.blogspot.com)

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A short story of Elder Paisios, Fasting and Discernment

Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain (http://www.rel.gr/photo/displayimage.php?album=3&pos=49)

A short story of Elder Paisios, Fasting and Discernment (amateur translation)
Two visitors, who appeared to be hard pious people, continued to look with disapproval on the Elder who was [boiling milk] being careful not to let it overflow or burn. Eventually one of them couldn’t stand it anymore and said to the Elder:

“Elder Paisios, we are in the first days of Lent, we have a strict fast, and you are boiling milk to drink?”

The Elder was silent. He did not respond. He took off the pot because the milk was boiling. Next, he went to the cell, brought six small, old, porcelain cups, arranged them in a row and carefully filled them. He waited a while for them to cool, while all were looking on in amazement, silently.

The two pious people saw all this with disgust, because they were thinking that because there were six people visiting and six cups, the monk therefore would dare to offer them milk during these days of strict fasting.

Elder Paisios took the filled cups one by one and placed them on a wooden tray, carried them seven meters away and left them on the ground, at the edge of a bush.

He placed them all there in a row, and then came and sat beside us and began to make a slow, strange whistling with his mouth, gazing towards the bushes.

A few minutes hadn’t passed before a viper appeared cautiously and later five baby snakes—her children.

I held my breath.

The snakes came, and passed all of us slithering, slowly reaching the cups, and gently began to drink their morning milk...
(amateur translation of text from: http://agioritikesmnimes.pblogs.gr/2010/02/581106.html)

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Selected Hymns from Forgiveness Sunday

Adam and Eve lamenting across from Paradise from which they were exiled (http://www.srpskoblago.org/Archives/Decani/exhibits/Collections/Genesis/CX4K2306_l.html)

Doxastikon of the Stichera - Tone 6.
Adam sat opposite Paradise and, lamenting his nakedness, he wept, ‘Woe is me ! By evil deceit was I persuaded and robbed, and exiled far from glory. Woe is me ! Once naked in my simplicity, now I am in want. But, Paradise, no longer shall I enjoy your delight; no more shall I look upon the Lord my God and Maker, for I shall return to the earth whence I was taken. Merciful and compassionate Lord, I cry to you, ‘Have mercy on me who am fallen’.

Doxastikon of the Aposticha - Tone 6
Through eating Adam was cast out of Paradise. And so, as he sat in front of it, he wept, lamenting with a pitiful voice and saying, ‘Woe is me, what have I suffered, wretch that I am! I transgressed one commandment of the Master, and now I am deprived of every good thing. Most holy Paradise, planted because of me and shut because of Eve, pray to him who made you and fashioned me, that once more I be filled with your flowers.’ Then the Saviour said to him, ‘I do not want the creature which I fashioned to perish, but to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth, because the one who comes to me I will in no way cast out.’

Idiomela of the Praises
Plagal of the First Tone
ʺWoe is me!ʺ cried Adam in lament, “that a serpent and a woman have deprived me of intimate communion with God; and eating from the tree has estranged me from the Paradise of delight. Woe is me, for I cannot bear the disgrace! Once the king of all God’s creatures on the earth, I am now viewed as a hostage because of one piece of illicit advice; and though once vested with the glory of immortality, I, as mortal, carry about the skin of deadness lamentably. Woe is me! Which lamentation shall I enlist to collaborate with me? But You, Friend of man, who fashioned me from the earth, and who donned compassion; recall me from servitude to the enemy and save me.”
 
The stadium of virtue is now open; those who wish to compete, enter therein, girded for the good contest of Lent, for those who compete according to the rules shall receive their laurels rightfully. Taking up the full armor of the Cross, let us do battle against the Enemy. As an impregnable wall, we have the Faith, prayer as our breastplate, and acts of mercy as our helmet. Instead of sword, there is fasting, which cuts every evil from the heart. He who does this shall attain a true crown from Christ, the King of all, on Judgment Day.
 
Plagal of the Second Tone
Adam was evicted from Paradise as one disobedient, after partaking of its luxury. Moses saw God, after cleansing the eyes of his soul by fasting. Hence if we desire to become residents of Paradise, let us divorce ourselves from baleful delights, and desiring to see God, as did Moses let us fast the Four Times Ten. By sincerely persevering in prayer and supplication, let us suppress the passions of our souls; let us avert the swellings of the flesh; thus lightened, let us set off on the journey to things above, where the choirs of angels in unbroken song sing praise to the undivided Trinity, to see the irresistible beauty of the Master. O Son of God and Giver of Life, we who set our hope on You entreat: Make us worthy of dancing with the armies of angels, O Christ, at the intercession of Your Mother, the Apostles, Martyrs and all the Saints.
 
Doxastikon of the Praises - Plagal of the Second Tone
The time has come—the start of our spiritual contests, the victory over demons, the full armor of self‐control, the angels’ dignity, the confidence before God. Thereby did Moses become conversant with the Creator, and heard the invisible voice. Lord, through fasting make us worthy to worship Your Passion and holy Resurrection, as You love humanity.
 
Jesus Christ: "Extreme Humility" (Icon courtesy of www.eikonografos.com used with permission)
 
 
Forgive me and may God forgive us all!
 
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kontakion of St. Romanos on Adam and Eve, or on Fasting

Christ God cursing Adam, Eve and the Serpant, Fresco from Decani Monastery (taken from: http://www.srpskoblago.org/Archives/Decani/exhibits/Collections/Genesis/CX4K2302_l.html)


Kontakion 51 of St. Romanos the Melodist - ON ADAM AND EVETone 1
Prooimion
Devote yourself, my soul, to repentance, be united to Christ by thought,
Crying out with groans, “Grant me pardon for my evil deeds,
That I may receive forgiveness and eternal life”.
1.
Let us await the blessed hope through works and faith
As many of us as observe the teachings of the Lord and Saviour.
That is why we honour and love the achievement of fasting
That is honoured by Angels,
By keeping it Prophets, though earthly beings,
Became partners of the heavenly choirs.
Christ was not ashamed to accomplish
This; for he fasted willingly;
Through this he underwrote for us eternal life.

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!