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Wednesday. [I Cor 7:12-24; Matt. 14:35-15:11] Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. The Lord said this not because He did not favour fasting, or because He considered it not necessary for us — no, both He Himself fasted, and taught the apostles to do so, and He established fasts in his holy Church; but He said this so that we would not only fast by eating little or only uncooked food, but rather so that we would keep the fast in our soul, not indulging it with desires and passionate inclinations. And this is the important thing. Fasting serves as a powerful means for this. The foundation of the passions in the flesh; when the flesh is emaciated, then it is as if a hole is dug under the passions and their fortress is destroyed. Without fasting, overcoming the passions would be a miracle, similar to being in a fire and not being burned. How can he who profusely satisfies his flesh with food, sleep and rest, keep anything spiritual in mind and in his intentions? For him it is as easy to renounce the earth, to contemplate and strive for the invisible world, as would be for an old, decrepit bird to take flight and soar.