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St. John Crysostom on Fasting

8. I speak not, indeed, of such a fast as most persons keep, but of real fasting; not merely an abstinence from foods; but from sins too. ... "For the wrestler," it is said, "is not crowned unless he strive lawfully." To the end then, that when we have gone through the labour of fasting, we forfeit not the crown of fasting, .... since that Pharisee also fasted, but afterwards went down empty, and destitute of the fruit of fasting. 

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Saint Theophilus on Fasting and Repentance

The prophet has said, “My tears have been my food day and night” (Ps. 42 {41}:3), and again, “A worn and humble heart God will not despise” (cf. Ps. 51 {50}:17). Let us therefore, my dear brethren, afflict our souls now with fasting while giving our bodies over to death through many kinds of suffering, until we have become companions to the angel of repentance, that he may direct his path towards us.

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St. Cyril on the Circumcision of Christ

Christ therefore ransomed from the curse of the law those who being subject to it, had been unable to keep its enactments. And in what way did He ransom them? By fulfilling it. And to put it in another way: in order that He might expiate the guilt of Adam's transgression, He showed Himself obedient and submissive in every respect to God the Father in our stead: for it is written, "That as through the disobedience of the One man, the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One, the many shall be made just." He yielded therefore His neck to the law in company with us, because the plan of salvation so required: for it became Him to fulfil all righteousness. For having assumed the form of a slave, as being now enrolled by reason of His human nature among those subject to the yoke, He once even paid the half shekel to the collectors of the tribute, although by nature free, and as the Son not liable to pay the tax. When therefore them seest Him keeping the law, be not offended, nor place the free-born among the slaves, but reflect rather upon the profoundness of the plan of salvation. ...

St. Cyril on the Birth of Christ

He found man reduced to the level of the beasts: therefore is He placed like fodder in a manger, that we, having left off our bestial life, might mount up to that degree of intelligence which befits man's nature; and whereas we were brutish in soul, by now approaching the manger, even His own table, we find no longer fodder, but the bread from heaven, which is the body of life. 

St. Cyril on the Perpetual Virginity

But in answer to those who argue that, if He were brought forth in the flesh, the Virgin was corrupted: and if she were not corrupted, that He was brought forth only in appearance, we say; the prophet declares, "the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in and gone out, and the gate remaineth closed." If, moreover, the Word was made flesh without sexual intercourse, being conceived altogether without seed, then was He born without injury to her virginity.

 
In what sense then her firstborn? By firstborn she here means, not the first among several brethren, but one who was both her first and only son: for some such sense as this exists among the significations of "firstborn." For sometimes also the Scripture calls that the first which is the only one; as "I am God, the First, and with Me there is no other." To shew then that the Virgin did not bring forth a mere man, there is added the word firstborn; for as she continued to be a virgin, she had no other son but Him Who is of the Father.
 
COMMENTARY OF ST. CYRIL, PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA, UPON THE GOSPEL OF ST. LUKE.(1859) BOOK I, PAGE 9

A New Year's Wish from Theophan the Recluse

I wished you a Happy New Year in passing, and then it occurred to me to give you a special wish for it. What, specifically? That you become new. New in what way? In the way that a new dress is new: Everything is in its place, there is not the slightest little spot or wrinkle; it billows with freshness. That is what I wish for your soul to be like. You, in body, like the dress that we are talking about, fresh from the needle, will be completely new. Our soul, however, even upon its arrival in the world, brings the old;  if this oldness is not removed from it, then it will remain old, without having tasted the new. Vanity and passions-that is what is old in the soul. Drive these out, and you will become new. 

St. Athanasius on Fasting

The holy Psalmist commanded, saying, “Blow with the trumpet in the new moon, on the solemn day of your feast”.... “if ye shall go out to battle in your land against your enemies that rise up against you, then ye shall proclaim with the trumpets, and shall be remembered before the Lord, and be delivered from your enemies.” Not only in wars did they blow the trumpet, but under the law, there was a festal trumpet also. Hear him again, going on to say, “And in the day of your gladness, and in your feasts, and your new moons, ye shall blow with the trumpets”. ... Now these things were typical, and done as in a shadow. But let us pass on to the meaning, and henceforth leaving the figure at a distance, come to the truth, and look upon the priestly trumpets of our Saviour, which cry out, and call us, at one time to war, as the blessed Paul saith;

The Vine and Our Nature

How many things in nature are combined in the same plant! In a vine, roots, green and flexible branches, which spread themselves far over the earth, buds, tendrils, bunches of sour grapes and ripe grapes. The sight of a vine, when observed by an intelligent eye, serves to remind you of your nature.

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Let the Earth Bring Forth--St. Basil

"Let the earth bring forth." See how, at this short word, at this brief command, the cold and sterile earth travailed and hastened to bring forth its fruit, as it cast away its sad and dismal covering to clothe itself in a more brilliant robe, proud of its proper adornment and displaying the infinite variety of plants. 

How God speaks?--From St. Basil

 

And God said, "Let there be...", first let us ask how God speaks? Is it in our manner? Does His intelligence receive an impression from objects, and, after having conceived them, make them known by particular signs appropriate to each of them?

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