Chrysostom’s reflections on Lent

March 10, 2011

The words of St. John Chrysostom seem a fitting reminder this Ash Wednesday:

“Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works. 
If you see a poor man, take pity on him. 
If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him. 

Do not let only your mouth fast, 

but also the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands 

and all the members of our bodies. 

Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice.

Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin.

Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is


Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip.

Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism.

For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and

devour our brothers?

May He who came to the world to save sinners, strengthen us to

complete the fast with humility! Have mercy on us and save us.” 


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