St John Climacus – On Fasting
“Eat, drink, and be merry”, these are the words of the rich man in the parable recorded in Luke 12:16-21, but God replies saying: “Fool! This night your soul is required of you”. So what is wrong with enjoying the good things in life, after all, the rich man worked hard to fill his barns didn’t he?
In The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Saint John Climacus explains that it is not food but rather finding comfort in food or over-eating which is evil. That is gluttony, “the prince of passions”, which enters a person through the nature of foods, and whose offspring are fornication, hardness of heart, sleepiness, “laziness, talkativeness, familiarity in speech, jesting, facetiousness, contradiction, a stiff neck, obstinacy, disobedience, insensibility, captivity, conceit, audacity, boasting, after which follows impure prayer, whirling of thoughts…”. From these, he concludes, proceed “waves of filth