March 2010 letter
We will soon reach the middle of the holy lent, we hope to intensify in this remainder period of the fasting our individual prayers and masses to receive communion. For this reason we include with our monthly letter the weekly schedule of masses in surrounding churches, giving you the opportunity to attend in any church.
It would be useful to learn some sayings of the church fathers regarding fasting:
v “The Temple of Solomon had two altars, one outside on which sacrifices were offered, and the other inside the Holy which is the altar of incense. Likewise man who is a temple of the Holy Spirit should have two altars: the first in the inner heart, where he provides the incense of prayers as He says if you pray go into your inner room which is the heart. And the outer altar, where he provides the body as a sacrifice by fasting and forms of austerity and asceticism” (St. Augustine).
v “Fasting of the tongue is better than fasting of mouth, and fasting of heart is better than both” (St. Isaac).
v “Fasting without prayer and humility is like an eagle with a broken wing” (St. Macarius the Great).
v “We were exiled from the earthly paradise because we did not fast, so we have to fast in order to go back to the heavenly paradise” (St. Basil the Great).
v “Abstaining of food is the least grade of fasting, it’s like only wearing a uniform of work doing what is required in his profession, and so who abstains only of food but does not pray and observe solitude” (St. Sophronius).
v “Fasting humbles the body” (St. Longinus).
v “The outside fasting by abstaining of food is not by itself enough to reach purity of heart and purity of the body, if not accompanied by fasting of the soul” (St. John Cassian).
We ask you to remember the church, its priest and all its services in your prayers, and may the blessings of St. Mary & St. Mercurius & the Holy Lent be with us all.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, March 1st, 2010