If there is no element of asceticism in our lives, if we give free rein to the desires of the flesh (taking care of course to keep within the limits of what seems permissible to the world), we shall find it hard to train for the service of Christ. When the flesh is satisfied it is hard to pray with cheerfulness or to devote oneself to a life of service which calls for much self-renunciation.
Because of this, I feel I am performing a work of love, not of hostility. I do not aim to accuse the contemporary world and monasticism but to enrich the world with the values that monasticism can and should contribute to it. Our world needs monks who are different from itself. Please God, this essay will help them to sing more clearly and beautifully the part they have to sing in the immense symphony of the present time. To Love Fasting: The Monastic Experience(prologue)
In fact, according to physicians, the functioning of the digestion depends less on the brain than on hormonal mechanisms and autoregulators. However, during a fast, the digestive system gets an increasing rest. About ten hours after a meal, the contractions stop and the feeling of hunger disappears; five or six hours later the glucose stops coming directly from the intestines and begins to produce itself from the reserve of glycogen contained in the liver. From then on, the body works on itself in a closed circuit, becoming itself the source of the energy it uses. Instead of destroying an appropriating to himself nourishment taken from outside, man enters a state of nonviolence and detachment relative to the outside world.
I commit her to memory. When I'm alone, I feel a strange yearning, the hunger of a man fasting not because he believes but because he's ashamed. Not the cleansing hunger of the devout, but the feverish hunger of the hypocrite. I let her go every evening only because there's nothing I can do to stop her.