Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Another Homily on Fasting

"But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face..."
Matthew 6:17

This is the meaning of the words "anoint your head": bridle and restrain your inner man from every evil, and incline him to everything that is good. This is the meaning of the words "and wash your face": cleanse your body from the committing of every sin, every impurity and every evil. Keep your senses from everything that is superfluous and dangerous. Restrain your eyes from constantly wandering through the diversity of this world; restrain your ears from listening to anything that does not serve the soul's salvation; restrain your nose, lest your soul inbreathe the smell of this world that turns quickly to a stench; restrain your tongue from talking too much, deceit, and from unseemly speech; restrain your stomach from craving much food and drink; restrain the whole of your body from becoming over-refined and demanding of you more than it needs for survival. Along with this, restrain your hands and your feet from taking you into sin, into the abuse and torment of others, into foolish merrymaking, into godless amusements, into immorality. In contrast, make your whole body into a true temple for your soul; not a wayside tavern, where criminals gather to share ill-gotten gains and plan new attacks, but a temple of the living God. This is the fasting that leads to salvation. This is the fast that Christ teaches, a fast free of hypocrisy, a fast that drives out evil spirits and brings man a glorious victory and many fruits, both in this life and the next.
It is important to note here that Christ speaks first of the head and then of the face - first of the soul and then of the body. The hypocrites fasted only in the body, and showed this fasting to men by bodily means. In contrast to this, Christ puts interior fasting in first place: that of the soul, and then the outward, bodily fasting, not in order to undervalue bodily fasting - for He Himself practiced bodily fasting - but to begin at the beginning: first to purify the source and then the river; first to cleanse the soul and then the soul's mirror. A man must first strive to make fasting his own, in his mind, heart and will, and then fulfill it willingly and joyfully in his body. And so bodily fasting should be joyful, not sad. This is why the Lord uses the words "anoint" and "wash"; because, as these give pleasure and joy to the physical man, so fasting - of both soul and body - must give pleasure and joy to a man's soul. For fasting is a weapon, a very powerful weapon, in the battle against the evil spirit. How could a Christian not rejoice when he arms himself by fasting against his soul's most fearsome opponents? How could his heart not rejoice and his face not be radiant when he sees in his hands a weapon from which the enemy flees in confusion? Gluttony makes a man gloomy and fearful, but fasting makes him joyful and courageous. And, as gluttony calls forth greater and greater gluttony, so fasting stimulates greater and greater endurance. When a man realizes the grace that comes through fasting, he desires to fast more and more. The graces that come through fasting are countless. By fasting, a man lightens both his body and his spirit from the weight of darkness and grossness. His body becomes light and vigorous, and his spirit bright and clear. By fasting, a man lifts his soul above its earthly prison and penetrates through the darkness of animal life to the light of God's Kingdom, to his own true homeland. Fasting makes a man strong, decisive and courageous before both men and demons. Fasting also makes a man generous, meek, merciful and obedient.

By fasting, Moses was made worthy to receive the Commandments from God's hands.

By fasting, Elijah closed the heavens, so that there was no rain for three years; by fasting, he called down fire from heaven onto the idol-worshippers, and by fasting made himself so pure that he was able, on Horeb, to talk with God.

By fasting, Daniel was saved from the lion's den, and the Three Children from the burning fiery furnace.

By fasting, King David lifted up his heart to the Lord, and God's grace descended on him and he sang the sweetest and most surpassing of prayers that any man, before the coming of Christ, has ever raised to God.

By fasting, King Jehoshaphat crushed his enemies, the Ammonites and the Moabites. (II Chronicles 20:23).

By fasting, the Jews were saved from persecution by Haman, the imperial deputy. (Esther 4:3).

By fasting, the city of Nineveh was saved from the destruction that the prophet Jonah had prophesied for it.

By fasting, John the Baptist became the greatest of those born of woman.

Armed with fasting, Saint Anthony overcame all the hordes of demons and drove them from him. What? Only Saint Anthony? An uncountable army of Christian saints, both men and women, have purified themselves by fasting, strengthened themselves by fasting and become the greatest heroes in human history. For they conquered that which it is most difficult to overcome - themselves. And, in conquering themselves, they conquered the world and Satan.

Adapted from a Homily by St. Nikolai Velimirovic
Taken from St.Ignatius of Antioch Orthodox Church Mission Monthly Newsletter for March 2007
Technorati tags;
fasting lent spiritual struggle nikolai velimirovic


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Nik,
I just called to say thanks for your comment and support about my brother being brainwashed, I can only agree with you it's like people like him have eyes but they do not see...
Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you but I have been computerless for over a month because my last one broke and I had to get some money together to replace. In those internet cafes the time goes way too fast and I just can not do what I can do in the comfort of my own home.
Anyway Thanks again your support was much appreciated.
Take care x

10:14 PM  
Blogger Nikola said...

No problems, glad to be of service. God bless!

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buy xanax online overnight delivery buy xanax pills online - xanax drug bars

5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buy xanax xanax drug test dot - results xanax overdose

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

diazepam 5mg 10 mg diazepam generic valium - diazepam 7 years old

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buy zolpidem online zolpidem 10mg beipackzettel - zolpidem generic northstar

1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

diazepam 5mg buy diazepam online cheap - valpam 2 diazepam 2mg

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buy diazepam online diazepam muscle relaxant dosage - diazepam 5mg for cats

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buy xanax xanax generic names - best place order xanax online

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

diazepam generics diazepam schedule v drug - buy diazepam online australia

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buy valium diazepam diazepam no prescription 10mg - buy valium online cheap

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cheap soma online pass drug test soma - carisoprodol 350 mg uses

2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

soma price soma drug dangerous - what is carisoprodol 350mg

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cheap valium online no prescription valium effects drug - valium purchase

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

carisoprodol soma carisoprodol 350 mg get you high - where can i buy soma online

7:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buy valium online valium for sale cheap - generic brands of valium

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

soma 350 mg where to buy soma - buy soma online no prescription

1:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

soma drug soma intimates promo code 2012 - buy soma online legal

3:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

soma muscle carisoprodol many get high - soma 250 drug interactions

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Center Detox Drug Treatment buy prednisone online - buy prednisolone

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deramaxx 100mg Tablets buy fluconazole no prescription - cheap diflucan no prescription , [url= ]generic diflucan no prescription [/url]

4:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parkside Internal Medicine Fishers In lexapro online pharmacy - lexapro pills , [url= ]lexapro price [/url]

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tfv order zithromax no prescription - cheap zithromax no prescription, [url=]generic azithromycin [/url]

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tmd buy maxalt online - buy cheap maxalt, [url=]buy generic maxalt [/url]

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sob order gabapentin - buy neurontin without prescription , [url= ]purchase gabapentin [/url]

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, adipex online no prescription - buy adipex without prescription , [url= ]order adipex [/url]

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1 cymbalta cost - cymbalta online, [url=]buy cymbalta[/url]

1:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Υоur own writе-up features establisheԁ
necessaгy to me. It’s quitе infοrmаtiνe and you're naturally very educated in this region. You have got opened up my personal face to be able to varying opinion of this matter using interesting and sound articles.

Also visit my blog post - Meridia

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tо be аble tο preview pгeciѕelу what thе Casinо ended up being wіth regaгԁs to
wіthout needing to ѕρеnԁ mаnу
harԁ-eаrned money is uѕually a pleasant apρгoach to
mаkе a decision in the eνent that Casino іѕ to your lοving.
To help get bу gamblіng, mаny оf us οught tο participate
in senѕible and also behave ѕmart.

Takе a loοk at my web blοg - best Us online casino

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just about all you shοuld do can be tуpe іn the
actuаl discount code рer of the preliminary
6 dеbris, and they'll complement your own down payment, approximately 200%. if you are participating in casino Bonus, you are participating in your personality of the adversary over the card.

3:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home