Tuesday, July 21, 2009

John Chrysostom: Fasting not Obligatory and Scheduled Fasting

I say this, not to oblige you to fast, but to persuade you not to give way to luxurious living nor behave like most human beings -- if in fact one ought to give the name human beings to those living in such a mean-spirited way, who like people released from their bonds and freed from some harsh prison say to one another, We have finally come to the end of the awful ocean of fasting. Others with less gumption than these are even in dread of the Lent to come. This comes about from giving themselves up to luxurious living all the remaining time, to prodigality and drunkenness. If on the contrary we too care to live a steady and modest life all the other days of the year, we would long for fasting when it had gone, and with deep satisfaction would welcome it when it was due to come around.

- John Chrysostom (around A.D. 347 to around A.D. 407), Homilies on Hannah, Homily 1, in St. John Chrysostom, Old Testament Homilies, Volume 1, pp. 65-66 (2003), Robert C. Hill translator.