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The Spirituality of Fasting, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
38- Fasting Accompanies Charity
He who hungers while fasting sympathises with the hungry. For this mercy, God accepts his fast as He said, “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt 5:7). Out of its concern for charity, the Church chants the hymn of “Blessed are those who show mercy to the needy” during Lent.
Out of His concern for charity, the Lord said in Isaiah's prophecy: “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness … To let the oppressed go free … Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Is 58:6, 7).
During the age of martyrs and confessors, the Church used to preach that:
If you have nothing to give to those in need, then fast and offer them your food.
Do not fast to save food for yourself, but rather that you fast and give the food you saved to the needy, and we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other pages. It has been the custom for many churches during the days of fasting to hold banquets for the poor so as not to embarrass the poor by having them eat all by themselves, the whole congregation eat together.
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