St. John Chrysostom on fasting

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 sinful.
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 and sisters?
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.
St. John Chrysostom


“The evil speaker eats the flesh of his brother and bites the body of his neighbor. Because of this Paul utters the fearful saying, “If you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another (Gal 5:15). You have not fixed your teeth in his flesh, but you have harmed in a thousand ways yourself and him and many others, for in slandering your neighbor, you have made him who listens to the slander worse…Besides this, you have struck at the common welfare of the Chruch herself, for all those who hear you will not only accuse the supposed sinner, but the entire Christian community….”
St John Chrysostom


  1. Very good and wise words. Our fasting must be much more than just abstaining from certain food. This focuses on where the heart must be and how our actions must be affected.


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