Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers


3 Entries

According to St. Gregory the Sinaite there are three degrees in eating: ;temperance, sufficiency, and satiety. Temperance is when someone wants to eat some more food but abstains, rising from the table still somewhat hungry. Sufficiency is when someone eats what is needed and sufficient for normal nourishment. Satiety is when someone eats more than enough and is more than satisfied. Now if you cannot keep the first two degrees and you proceed to the third, then, at least, do not become a glutton, remembering the words of the lord: "Woe unto you that are full now, for you shall hunger" (Lk. 6:25). Remember also that rich man who ate in this present life sumptuously every day, but who was deprived of the desired bosom of Abraham in the next life, simply because of this sumptuous eating. St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain, A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel

Sleep is a particular state of nature, an image of death, inactivity of the senses. Sleep is one, but, like desire, its sources and occasions are many; that is to say, it comes from nature, from food, from demons, or perhaps, sometimes, from extreme and prolonged fasting, through which the flesh is weakened and at last longs for the consolation of sleep. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step19: On Sleep, Prayer, and Psalmody With the Brotherhood

The partaking of food has three degrees: abstinence, adequacy and satiety. To abstain, means to remain a little hungry after eating; to eat adequately, means neither to be hungry, nor weighed down. But eating beyond satiety is the door to belly-madness, through which lust comes in. But you, firm in knowledge, choose what is best for you, according to your powers, without overstepping the limits... St. Gregory of Sinai (Instructions to Hesychasts no. 6)

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