The Shepherd, March 2006

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FROM THE FATHERS

“THE ANGEL RAPHAEL bears witness … and exhorts us to give alms freely and generously, saying us us: Prayer is good with fasting and almsdeeds; for alms delivereth from death, and the same purgeth away sins (Tobit 12:9-9). He shows us that prayer and fasting are not enough, and that they are to be assisted by almsdeeds; that supplication alone avails little to obtain what we ask, unless joined to good works and acts of mercy. The Angel reveals, and makes clear to us, and confirms to us, that our requests become efficacious through almsgiving, that our life shall be delivered from dangers by almsgiving, that our soul shall be delivered from death through almsgiving.”

Holy Hieromartyr Cyprian of Carthage, + 258 A.D.

“The just and merciful Receiver of the prayers of man has laid it down, that our own generosity is the measure of His fairness to ourselves.”

Saint Leo the Great, Pope of Rome, + 461 A.D.

“OUR LORD,while teaching the Apostles how the worst demon is to be expelled (Mark 9:29), gives us all rules for our life; that is, He would have us know that all the more grievous attacks of evil spirits or of men are to be overcome by fastings and prayers; and again, that the anger of the Lord, when it is kindled for vengeance on our crimes, can be appeased by this remedy alone. But fasting in general is not only abstinence from food, but also from carnal delights, yea, from all vicious passions. In like manner prayer taken generally, consists not only in the words by which we call upon the Divine mercy, but also in all those things which we do with devotedness of faith in obedience to our Maker.”

Venerable Bede of Jarrow, + 735 A.D.

FASTING AND PRAYER are the two pillars of faith; two living fires that burn up the evil spirits. Through fasting, all bodily passions are calmed and destroyed, especially promiscuity; through prayer, all other passions of soul, heart and mind are calmed and destroyed: evil intentions and evil deeds, revenge, envy, hatred, malice, pride, ambition and the others. By fasting, the vessels of body and soul are cleansed of their filthy contents of worldly passions and vices; by prayer, the grace of the Holy Spirit is drawn down into the empty, cleansed vessel - and the fullness of faith consists in the abiding of God’s Spirit in man.”

Saint Nicolas (Velimirovic) of Ochrid, + 1956 A.D.

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