Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works : If you see a poor man, take pity on him; If you see a friend being honoured, do not envy him. Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice. Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin. Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful.
Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip. Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism. For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes but bite and devour our brothers? May He who came to the world to save sinners strengthen us to complete the fast with humility, have mercy on us and save us!
For this end are fasting and Lent appointed, and so many days of solemn assemblies, prayers and teachings, in order that by this earnestness to be cleansed in every possible way from the sins which we had contracted during the whole year… Let everyone consider with himself what defect he has corrected, what good work he has attained to, what sin he cast off, what stain he has purged away, in what respect he has become better! Let no one rest on the fast merely while continuing unreformed in evil practices. For it is possible that he who omits fasting may obtain pardon, but it is impossible that he can have an excuse who has not amended his faults.
The fast of Lent has no advantage to us unless it brings about our spiritual renewal. It is necessary while fasting to change our whole life and practice virtue. Turning away from all wickedness means keeping our tongue in check, restraining our anger, avoiding all gossip, lying and swearing. To abstain from these things is the true value of the fast. Accept the fast as an experienced educator by whom the Church teaches us piety.