.
Back to Fasting
 
Chrysostom
True Fasting

Let us set a guard upon our ears, our tongues, and minds, and not think that bare fasting till the evening is sufficient for our salvation. What profit is it to fast, and eat nothing all the day, if you give yourself to playing at dice, and other vain pastimes, and spend the whole day many times in perjuries and blasphemies? The true fast is abstinence from vices. For abstinence from meat was appointed upon this occasion, that we should curb the tone of our flesh, and make the horse obedient to his rider. He that fasts ought, above all things, to bridle his anger, to learn meekness and clemency, to have a contrite heart, to banish the thoughts of all inordinate desires, to set the watchful eye of God before his eyes and his uncorrupted judgment; to set himself above riches, and exercise great liberality in giving of alms, and to expel every evil thought against his neighbour out of his soul. This is the true fast. Therefore let this be our care; and let us not imagine, as many do, that we have fasted rightly, when we have abstained from eating until evening. This is not the thing required of us; but that, together with our abstinence from meat, we should abstain from those things that hurt the soul, and diligently exercise ourselves in things of a spiritual nature."

John Chrysostom (347–407) is known in Christianity chiefly as a preacher, theologian and liturgist, particularly in the Eastern Orthodox Church.