Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 17 October |
Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius of Antioch
Aleteia logo
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Fasting: What Good Is It to Abstain From Meat If You Devour Your Brother?

Minerva Studio/Shutterstock

Corazones.org - published on 02/11/16

If you fast, let it show in your works!

In the words of St. John Chrystostom:

“The value of fasting consists not only in avoiding certain foods, but in renouncing all sinful attitudes, thoughts and desires. Those who limit fasting just to food are not taking advantage of the great value it contains. If you fast, let it show in your works!”

“If you see a brother in need, take pity on him. If you see a brother being praised, do not be jealous. In order for fasting to be true, it cannot involve only fasting with the mouth; you must also fast with your eyes, ears, feet, hands and your whole body; your entire interior and exterior.”

“You fast with your hands when you keep them pure through selfless service to others. You fast with your feet when you are swift to love and serve. You fast with your eyes when you do not look at impure things, or when you do not scrutinize others in order to criticize them. Fast from all that puts your soul and your holiness at risk. It would be useless to deprive your body of food, but to feed your heart with sordid things, with impurity, with egoism, with rivalries or with comforts.”

“You fast from food, but you allow yourself to listen to many vain and worldly things. You should also fast with your ears. You should fast from listening to things that people say about your brothers and sisters, to lies about others, especially gossip, rumors or harsh words that harm others.”

“Besides fasting with your mouth, you must fast by not saying anything that could harm anyone else. After all, what good is it for you to abstain from meat if you devour your brother?”

What does St. John Chrysostom teach us through this reflection?

He teaches us that days of fasting should especially be days of abstaining from the disordered or even just exaggerated use of our other senses: not looking at what I should not, not saying what I ought not, not desiring what I must not, not seeking to satisfy all my emotional or spiritual needs; not seeking to fill my loneliness by looking immediately for company; not wanting to know everything; not requiring immediate answers to every question that comes to my mind; etc.

We fast by seeking conversion. Therefore, let us fast from all activities that are contrary to virtue. Perhaps your fast will consist in serving others more (fasting from your laziness and comfort). Just as the Virgin Mary asks us to pray from the heart, we must also fast with our hearts. It may be that we need to fast from our anger, being friendlier, more loving and easier to get along with on days of fasting. Or maybe I have to fast from pride, actively seeking humiliation, or carrying out concrete acts of humility, etc.

Article originally published by corazones.org.Translated from the Spanish, by Matthew Green.

Tags:
FaithLent
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Philip Kosloski
A scientist describes the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima
2
AVENIDO BROTHERS
Agnès Pinard Legry
Three brothers ordained priests on the same day in the Philippine...
3
Cerith Gardiner
Archbishop gives little girl a beautiful response about why God a...
4
difficult people
Zoe Romanowsky
How to love people you don’t really like
5
SKULL AND CROSSBONES
Margaret Rose Realy, Obl.OSB
The ‘Tree of Death’ haunts many a cemetery
6
SQUID GAMES
Philip Kosloski
How the violence in ‘Squid Game’ can impact your soul
7
Larry Peterson
This is the only officially recognized Marian apparition in the U...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.