TOTAL BODY FASTING
“The fast should be kept not only by the mouth but also by the eye, ear, feet, hands, and other members of the body.” John Chrysostom (349-407)
St. John Chrysostom implies fasting is not only abstinence from food, but from sins also. “The fast,” he insists, “should be kept not by the mouth alone, but also by the eye, the ear, the feet, the hands and all the members of the body: the eye must abstain from impure sights, the ear from malicious gossip, the hands from acts of injustice.” It is useless to fast from food, protests St. Basil (329-379), and yet to indulge in cruel criticism and slander: “You do not eat meat, but you devour your brother.”
I find fasting to be difficult in this sense; by fasting we are apt to become cranky, short tempered, quick with our tongue, and critical and slanderous as St. Basil suggests. Learning to fast from food is relatively simple but the other fasting is a test …a major testing. The same mouth that takes in no food might just bite your head off.
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Jesus