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a passionate repentance

This is the fast of the First Born, the first of his victories.…

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may God stand

This is the fast of the First Born, the first of his victories. Let us
rejoice in his coming; for in fasting he has overcome.
Though he could have overcome by any means,
He revealed for us the strength hidden in fasting, Overcomer of All.
For by means of it a man can overcome that one who with fruit overcame
Adam;
He became greedy and gobbled it. Blessed is the First-Born who
encompassed
Our weakness with the wall of His great fasting.

Blessed is the King who adorned the Holy Church with Fasting, Prayer and
Vigil.

1.2
This is the fast which exalts; which appeared from the First Born
So as to extol the younger ones. There is occasion for delight for the
discerning ones in fasting;
When one sees how much he has grown. Fasting secretly purifies the soul
So it can gaze on God and grow by the vision of Him.
For the weight that is from the earth, bends it back to the earth.
Blessed is He who gave us fasts,
The sheer wings by which we fly to Him.

Blessed is the King who adorned the Holy Church with Fasting, Prayer and
Vigil.

1.3
Fasting is bright and beautiful for any who bright enough
To gaze on God. The Turbid One, stirred up by anything
Cannot fix the eye on that Clear One. He who possesses a clear eye
He can gaze upon him; as much as it is given to him to gaze.
Instead of the clarifying wine, let us clarify our thought
So that we will be able to see the Clear One
Who overcame the Evil One by means of fasting, that Disturber of All.

Blessed is the King who adorned the Holy Church with Fasting, Prayer and
Vigil.

1.4
This is the fast through which greed escapes
The peoples at the top of the mountain ; clothed in fasting he overcame
the Greedy One.
Who had clothed himself with the food of Adam's house.
The Lord of Victories gave us His weapon, He ascended on high to be an
observer.
Who would not run to the weapon by which God overcame
It is a shameful thing, my brothers, to be bested by the weapon
Which overcomes and causes to overcome all creation.

Blessed is the King who adorned the Holy Church with Fasting, Prayer and
Vigil.

1.5
Because the enemy is not visible, let us purge our thinking so that he
sees that we see him.
He is able to steal some of those whom he sees
That they have not noticed him.
When a soul undertakes a fast,
The fast bears it and gives it back to its counterpart.
Amid the volleys of sharpened arrows, hidden from view, the hidden eye
Is polished to see from whence they come.

Blessed is the King who adorned the Holy Church with Fasting, Prayer and
Vigil.

1.6
This is the instructive fast, it teaches the athlete the ways of the
contest.
Draw near to it, study, learn to struggle shrewdly.
Behold he instructed us to fast with our mouths and hearts,
Let us not fast from bread and think thoughts
In which the hidden poison of death is hidden.
Let us confess on the fast day the First Born
Who gave us the word of life on which to meditate.

St. Ephraim the Syrian, 4th century
From the First Hymn on Fasting
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