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The Spirituality of Fasting, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
33- Fasting Accompanies Seclusion and Stillness
The following statement was repeated twice in the book of the Prophet Joel: “Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly.“ (Joel 1:14,2:15).
Call a sacred assembly, namely “retire”, so that you may find time for spiritual nourishment.
In seclusion, you keep silent, and since you have no one to talk to, you talk to God. However, do not remain secluded in sin or in vain thoughts, but do so in order that your fast may not become visible to anyone except to your Father in Heaven who sees in secret. Moreover, one who fasts may be in such a state of asceticism, hunger, and weakness that one is unable to make any effort. Seclusion is therefore more suitable for him.
When a person fasts, his soul is occupied with internal work with God. Speaking hinders one's prayer, preoccupation and contemplation. Meetings and visitations hinder one's devotion to God and may lead one into making mistakes.
In fasting, the Lord Jesus Christ retired to the mountain, in seclusion with God, the Father, and devoted Himself to contemplation.
Our Fathers' fasted in the same way in the wilderness. As for you, retire as best as you can, and if you are forced to mingle, do it within the limits of necessity. Rid yourself of lost time and of every trivial word.
This brings to mind another fast which is:
Fasting of the tongue, thought, and heart:
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