Sunday, March 29, 2009

ALSH #13: Fasting and Spiritual Gifts

Kyrollos (Cyril) VI, Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria (+1971)

When fasting, you should fast in body, and in heart; abstaining from meat, gossip and slander. Do not say - this person is good or this person is bad. The fasting tongue is better than the fasting mouth; and when the heart abstains from wrath, that it better than both.


Fasting is an essential function for every Christian in this world. Christ Himself fasted, although He did not need to, but He wanted to teach us that the trials of the devil can only be controlled through fasting. By fasting we also receive spiritual gifts, become closer to God, and our prayers are accepted.


St Isaac the Great said, "A little cloud can obscure the sun, but after having passed, the sun reappears as it was." The same thing applies to the tribulations faced by [a true Christian], although they are difficult, they enlighten his soul after they pass.

Thank God who allows temptations and for all good things that work together for the good of them who
love and trust in the Lord. And I, myself, as you know, have received many spiritual benefits. This is one of God's blessings.

Pope Kyrollos the Sixth, Christian Behavior According to Saint Pope Kyrollos the Sixth (Cairo: St. Mina Monastery Press, 2000), 7, 43, and 68.

1 comment:

charlene said...

Father James,
If anything, I think St. Issac understates his point. When the sun disappears behind a cloud, and then reappears, I think it appears to us to be even btighter and more beautiful than it was before the cloud. This is because we recognize the contrast of sun versus no sun only when we are without it. Think how good that red meat will taste on Pascha. It doesn't taste that good when we have it every day. St. Issac's words made me think of the need for doing without in order to recognize how blessed we are to have what we do.