Delight thyself rather in
fastings than in feastings, mindful of that widow who did not depart
from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers day and
night. Now, if she who was a widow, and a Jewish widow, proved herself
such, what is it fitting that a virgin of Christ should now attain to?
Love more than any other thing the feast of the divine word, and desire
that you be filled with spiritual dainties, while you seek for such
food as refreshes the soul, rather than for that which only pleases the
body. Flee from all kinds of flesh and wine, as being the sources of
heat and provocatives to lust. And only then, if need be, use a little
wine, when the stomach’s uneasiness, or great infirmity of body,
requires you to do so. Subdue anger, restrain enmity, and whatever
there may be which gives rise to remorse when it is done, avoid as an
abomination giving rise224224 to immediate sin.
It is fitting that that mind should be very tranquil and quiet, as well
as free from all the tumults of anger, which desires to be the
dwelling-place of God, as he testifies through the prophet, saying,
“Upon225225 what other man
shall I rest than upon him who is humble and quiet, and who trembleth
at my words?” Believe that God is a witness of all thy deeds and
thoughts, and take good heed lest you either do or think anything which
is unworthy of the divine eyesight. When you desire to engage in
prayer, show yourself in such a frame of mind as becomes one who is to
speak with the Lord.