26 February 2008

What Fasting Does for the Soul

As we are about to undertake the customary sacred fast of Quinquagesima, we must realize that what soap does for human bodies, this is what fasting supplies to Christian souls: it cleanses the filth off the senses, it washes away the offenses of the mind, it removes the crimes of the heart, it removes the blemishes from the heart, and with marvelous splendor it leads the entire human being to the luster of charity. And just as Spring curbs and reins in all the violent storms, clears up the sky’s complexion, gives peace to the earth, and calls forth and rouses to living vigor the whole body of the world, which had been buried in the death of winter; so too does fasting quiet every conflict, restore peace to one’s limbs, enkindle souls lulled to sleep and deadened by the chill of negligence, and bring virtue to life and thaw it out entirely. (St Peter Chrysologus)

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