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Moderation, Abstinence


We say: If I hadn’t seen it, I would not have been tempted, if I hadn’t heard it, my heart would not have ached, if I hadn’t tasted it, I would not have wanted it…You see how much temptation comes from our eyes, hearing and taste. Not being resolute in their hearts with good intentions, many people suffer from having glanced carelessly with lustful eyes, listened with ears that are not accustomed to differentiate between good and evil, savored with a voracious taste. Unrestrained by reason and God’s commandments, the sin-loving and rapacious flesh had induced them into various earthly passions, obscured their minds and hearts, deprived them of inner peace and enslaved them. How careful one must look, hear, taste, smell, feel — how one must preserve one’s heart, so that through our external feelings, no sin will enter it as though through a window, and worst still — the devil himself, to vanquish us with his lethal poison.

If you throw yourself upon food and drink with voracity, then you will be flesh, but if you fast and pray, you will be spirit. "Do not get drunk on wine…instead be filled with Spirit" (Ephes. 5:18). Fast and pray, and you will accomplish a great deed. One who is repleted is incapable of accomplishments.

Just as a newborn child is unconcerned to what he is wearing, so should the Christian — child in Christ — be indifferent to the variety and sophistication of garments, regarding Christ as his best attire, just as it is written: "For all of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" (Gal. 3:27). But a passion for expensive and sumptuous clothing is appropriate for people of this age "For the pagans run after all these things" (Mat. 6:32). Exquisite clothing is the idol for people of this age. O how earthly-minded are we, who have been summoned to commune with God — who has promised us an inheritance of incorruptible and eternal blessings! How unclear are is our understanding of incorruptible blessings. How senseless are we when we attach significance to trivial matters and do not value incorruptible blessings: spiritual peace and joy, nearness to God, treasures of virtue, piety, everlasting joy in the next world. Therefore, you should learn how to value spiritual blessings and despise the corporeal as perishable and insignificant.

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