The Christian-Orthodox teaching about fasting in St. John Chrysostom’s work
GE SubjectsSpirituality and ethics
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AbstractAttempting to present the teaching of St. John Chrysostom about fasting, we must specify from the very beginning that this holy father does not ascribe the fasting a medical and culinary meaning, in the sense of diet change or variation of foods, but a spiritual meaning. In the spiritual sense, fasting is not a mere moral exercise of willpower and control of the physical passions and urges, but a freely accepted sacrifice out of love and respect to God. The man who loves God is happy to offer Him this sacrifice, which consists of renouncing food, drink and amusement, games, and, first and foremost sin. Such a believer does not darken his face but maintains his good mood, showing people the joy emerging from fasting, because naturally, anyone feels joy when he makes an act of charity and sacrifice for the person he loves, for God who is love (I John, IV, 16). And the sacrifice from love is discrete, it wants to remain unknown to others. This sacrifice for God is a fountain of indescribable gifts for each faster. Fasting is the abstinence of all urges, all senses, all physical impulses so that you can hear God, so you can feel God in your heart. This is fasting according to St. John Chrysostom: a process of purification of body and soul, so that God may dwell in our being. Fasting is the discipline that makes the life of Christ blossom within us.
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