Beloved, the time of fast is here. Let us prepare the cold and barren cave of our hearts through increased prayer, fasting, and alms giving that we may be ready for the birth of the Saviour, Who ever existed and ever shall be!
It is a wonderful thing that, however much we trouble about our health, however much care we take of ourselves, whatever wholesome and pleasant food we eat, whatever wholesome drinks we drink, however much we walk in the fresh air, still, notwithstanding all this, in the end we are subjected to maladies and corruption; whilst the saints, who despised their flesh, and mortified it by continual abstinence and fasting, by lying on the bare earth, by watchfulness, labours, unceasing prayer, have made both their souls and bodies immortal. Our well-fed bodies decay and emit an offensive odour after death, whilst theirs remained fragrant and flourishing in life as well as after death. It is a wonderful thing: we, by building up, destroy our body; whilst they, by destroying, built up theirs; they, by only caring for the fragrance of their souls before God, obtained the fragrance of their bodies also. Brethren! understand the problem, the purpose of your life. We must mortify our body with its many passions, or our carnal passions, through abstinence, labour, prayer, and not animate it and its passions through dainties, satiety, and slothfulness.
Saint John of Kronstadt
My Life in Christ