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The Spirituality of Fasting, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

36- Vanquishing the body

 

St-Takla.org         Image: Daniel in the lion's den by Gustave Dore صورة: دانيال النبي في جب الأسود للفنان جوستاف دوريه

St-Takla.org Image: Daniel in the lion's den by Gustave Dore, from Dore's Bible Illustrations

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: دانيال النبي في جب الأسود للفنان جوستاف دوريه، من صور لوحات الكتاب المقدس

While fasting, say to the body: “Let go of the soul and release it from your bonds that it may delight in God. You fast that your soul may be released from the bonds of the body. Desire for food is one of these bonds. These are also other ties such as bodily lusts.

Defeating the body through fasting, is also accomplished by staying away from marital relationships, provided it is done "with consent.” (1 Cor 7:5). As the Prophet Joel says about fasting, “Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room.” (Joel 2:16), and as was said about king Darius when he cast Daniel into the den, he “spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him.” (Dan 6:18).

Even the mere adornment of the body was referred to by the Prophet Daniel in his fast. He said: “nor did I anoint myself at all“ and “till three whole weeks were fulfilled.“ and “I ate no pleasant food.” (Dan 10:3).

Vanquishing the body is not an aim in itself but rather a vehicle for the soul.

Vanquishing the body is necessary lest it should digress and lead to the destruction of the soul. On this matter, the apostle says in earnest, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Cor 9:27). When the body is vanquished, the soul takes control and the body not resisting, but collaborating with it and submitting to its leadership.

Therefore, control your body and keep it wisely from all futile enjoyment, luxury, and lust.

It is not enough that you fast, for you also need to overcome the lust for food.

This leads us to asceticism in fasting as another virtue:

Asceticism:

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