The first step of fasting is abstinence from expensive and hearty food. This will ease the belly and body from the burden coming from abundant food. Also, the imagination is clean, because the vapours of food are cast away by the light of fasting.
We need to acknowledge the steps of fasting in order to learn what the true meaning of abstinence is and love its beauty:
- The first step is abstinence from expensive and hearty food. This will ease the belly and body from the burden coming from abundant food. Also, the imagination is clean, because the vapour of food are cast away by the light of fasting.
- The second step is the moderate consumption of dried and fresh vegetables, water – which eases the strictness of fasting, cutting as a sword the instinct of gorge.
- The third one is the suppression of all evil deeds as well as abstinence from talking too much. Thus, by eliminating the pleasures that soften and tear the body apart, the virtues may blossom as well as the rightful words and heavenly chants.
- The forth step is to cast away from their first manifestation, visual memories that attack the mind and prevent the soul from the pleasure of taking them into consideration.
- The fifth step is to keep distance from all the temptations of the eyes and ears, opening and closing them as a window, so that our thinking may not be troubled.
- The sixth one is deleting all memories, scenarios stoked in the brain through constant meditation to the word of God.
Passing through all these steps of fasting, the mind is freed from the lust of the worldly things, being able to rise higher towards God, delighted by joy and unspeakable happiness.
For, fasting helps us watching and keeping within our soul the gifts we have received from God. Let us take the example of Adam. As long as he did not eat from the forbidden tree, he had all the other fruits to delight with. But when he abandoned fasting and tasted from the forbidden fruit, he lost them all.
Ven. Teolipt of Philadelphia