Wednesday 10 February 2016

On Fasting: From a Homily in the Leabhar Breac

'It is by food that Esau lost his birthright, and sold it to his brother; through fasting the noble prophet acquired a victory, and was rescued from the lions' den; through fasting Moses, the son of Amri, received the written law; through it the people of God were rescued from the Amalecites through fasting the people of Ninive were saved; through fasting Elias wrought such miracles, on earth; through it David did penance, so as to have his sins forgiven; through it the people of Juda saved Jerusalem in the time of Ezechias, King of Juda, from the Assyrians, so that over 175,000 were destroyed; through it Peter was loosed from prison; Cornelius, the Centurion, received the Holy Ghost before baptism, and Paul vouchsafed revelations through prayer and alms and the fruit of fasting; through fasting the people of God came through the Red Sea with dry feet; through it Moses merited the love of God: through it the manna was got from heaven in the desert for ten years; through it Moses received the written law face to face with God; through it Moses was fifty days and nights without food on Mount Sinai; through it Moses acquired victory over the Amalecites; through it the Jordan opened a passage for the people of God; through it Jesse, the son of Nun, conquered the seven districts of Canaan and tumbled Jericho; through it Jonas was saved in the whale's belly; through it the youths in the fiery furnace were preserved unhurt; through it Nebuchodonosor was freed from the visitation with which he had been afflicted; through it fifteen years were added to the life of Ezechias; through it the sun went back in its course for him; through it people are preserved from the power of the evil one, by having Christ remain fifty days and nights without food for the children of Adam; through it one is directed to the road to heaven, and God's grace is increased; through it, when properly observed, there is an increase of love and charity, and the wonders that are wrought in the world and all the plagues staved off from man and all are the result of fasting.'

Homily XXXVII 'On Fasting' - Original Irish text in R. Atkinson, ed., The Passions and Homilies from Leabhar Breac, 274. Translation from Rev. Sylvester Malone, Church History of Ireland from the Anglo-Norman Invasion to the Reformation, Vol. II, (London, 1880), 54-55.

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