The Romanian Orthodox Bishop of Canada explains, at the beginning of Great Lent, how we can drive away personal selfishness through the act of fasting. Bishop Ioan Casian says that the main remedy lies in love for God and other people.
“Through the love of God and of the neighbour one fasts of his own selfishness; through prayer you fast from the worldly conversation and turn your attention and dialogue to the One who made everything and Who seeks man in the cool of the day (Genesis 3: 8).”
“Purity is keeping away from the abominations of the passionate world and evils; the steadfastness comes from the feeling of God’s presence in us that gives man the strength of verticality similarly to a son who grows under the lee of his father, who protects him like the gardener who protects his garden plants when they are young, helping them to grow and reach maturity.”
“Fasting means light because God is light. By fulfilling the commandments, which are the words of God – light, we enlighten ourselves with the light of divine grace.”
“Virtues are the presence of the light of God’s grace in our souls and bodies. Love, prayer, purity, steadfastness are just as many manifestations of God’s grace in the person who fast.”
The Romanian Orthodox Bishop of Canada noted that Lent is a time of blessing and imitation of the fast practiced by the Son of God.
“We enter into the work of fasting of the Saviour Christ because we enter into the order of Heaven, that is, obedience to the Word of God,” Bishop Ioan Casian wrote.
“The readings of the Holy Scriptures during Lent multiply and it does nothing but remind us, make us present the Word of God among us and in us and thereby re-create us planting us on the Word of God, giving us the true knowledge resulting from the obedient tasting according to God from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that is done by sharing the Body and the Blood of Christ at the Divine Liturgy.”
His Grace emphasized that the true and full fast is the one observed in the entirety of the person – body and soul.
“Through the two fasts aside, the body is relieved of the weight of the food and the soul from the darkening of the passions. These result in the enlightenment of the life of the person practicing the fast.”
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