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The Spirituality of Fasting, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
12- Joy of Fasting
We are not of the type of people who fast and, while fasting, long for the time to break our fast. On the contrary, when we are not fasting we long for the time when fasting will return.
A spiritual person rejoices over the periods of fasting more than he does over feast days during which he eats and drinks. Many are those who long for fasting during the fifty-day period that follows Easter and during which there is neither fasting or continual prostration. Their longing for fasting increases so strong that they rejoice at the arrival of the Apostles' fast having been deprived of the joy of fasting during the preceding fifty days.
Those who are spiritual rejoice so much at fasting that general fasts are not sufficient for them. Thus, they urge their father confessors to allow them to add their own additional fasts. They support their request with the argument that their spiritual condition becomes stronger during the period of fasting, their health improves and that their bodies become lighter.
Those who claim that fasts should be shortened and reduced in number attest to the fact that they have neither experienced the joy of fasting nor known its benefits.
God willing, we shall discuss in the coming chapters the benefits of fasting as the source of joy for the spiritual and the lifestyle for the monks.
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