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Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
I mention him because he has left us one of the most sweeping statements about the value of fasting.
He was known as an ascetic in an age of luxury in Constantinople and his lifestyle offended the emperor Arcadius and his wife Eudoxia so much that he was eventually banished and died in AD 407.
But even more: we will thus be a spring of water that does not fail — for others, for the demanding, exhausting, draining ministry of urban self-giving.
This gave him a pattern of divine life that got him through his crisis and kept him going for years more.
And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday.
Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed, And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?
And those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
One of the greatest preachers of the first thousand years of the Christian Church was John Chrysostom, the bishop of Constantinople in the fourth century.