BROTHER: What are fasting and prayer?
OLD MAN: Fasting is the subjugation of the body, prayer is converse with God, vigil
is a war against Satan, abstinence is being weaned from meats, humility is the
state of the first man, kneeling is the inclining of the body before the Judge, tears
are the remembrance of sins, nakedness is our captivity which is caused by the
transgression of the command, and service is constant supplication to and praise of
BROTHER: Are these able to redeem the soul?
OLD MAN: When internal things agree with external, and manifest humility appears
in the hidden works which are from within, verily, a man shall be redeemed from
the weight of the body.
BROTHER: And what is internal humility?
OLD MAN: The humility of love, peace, friendship, purity, restfulness, tranquility,
subjection, faith, remoteness from envy, and a soul which is free from the heat of
anger, and is far from the grade of arrogance, and is redeemed from the love of
vainglory, and is full of patient endurance like the great deep, and whose motion is
drawn after the knowledge of the spirit, and before whose eyes are depicted the
fall of the body, and the greatness of the marvel of the Resurrection, and the
demand for judgement which shall come after the revivification, and its standing
before the awful throne of God. If the soul has these things, redemption shall be
BROTHER: Is there any man who fasteth that shall not be redeemed?
OLD MAN: There is one kind of fasting which is from habit, and another from desire,
and another from compulsion, and another from sight, and another from the love of
vainglory, and another from affliction, and another from repentance, and another
from spiritual affection; for although each of these seems to be the same as the
other in the mind externally, yet in the word of knowledge they are distinct. Now
the way in which each is performed by the body is the same, and the way in which
each is to be undertaken is wholly the same by him who travelleth straightly on the
path of love, and who beareth his burden with patient endurance spiritually, and
who doth not rejoice in his honor.
|A Holy Conversation
Fasting and Prayer
from E. A. Wallis Budge, "The Paradise of the Holy Fathers,"
Seattle: St. Nectarios Press, 1984, pp. 263-264