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Matthew 6:17

But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face;
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Vainglory can find a place not only in the splendor and pomp of worldly wealth but even in the sordid garment of sackcloth as well. It is then all the more dangerous because it is a deception under the pretense of service to God. When one dazzles by immoderate adornment of the body and its raiment or by the splendor of whatever else one may possess, by that very fact one is easily shown to desire ostentacious display. This person deceives nobody by a crafty semblance of holiness. But if, through extraordinary squalor and shabbiness, one is attracting others’ attention to one’s manner of professing Christianity, and if one is doing this of choice and not merely enduring it through necessity, then one may determine by one’s other works whether one is doing it through an indifference toward needless adornment or through ambition of some kind. Indeed, the Lord has forewarned us to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing: “By their fruits you shall know them.” Trials of one kind or another tha...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
The forty days' fast, my dear brethren, is not an observance peculiar to ourselves; it is kept by all who unite with us in the profession of the same faith. Nor is it without reason that the fast of Christ should be an observance common to all Christians. What is more reasonable, than that the different members should follow the example of the head. If we have been made partakers with him of good, why not also of evil. Is it generous to exempt ourselves from every thing that is painful, and with to partake with him in all that is agreeable? With such dispositions, we are members unworthy of such a head. Is it much for us to fast with Christ, who expect to sit at the table of his Father with him? Is it much for the members to suffer with the head, when we expect to be made one day partakers with him in glory? Happy the man who shall imitate such a Master. He shall accompany him whithersoever he goes. (St. Bernard Serm, in Quad.) Wherefore, my dear brethren, if the taste only has caused...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
Men of old would anoint themselves with oil after bathing as a mark of their joy and well-being. So you also, O reader, should appear joyful when you fast. The oil used to anoint we also understand to mean almsgiving. Our Head is Christ, Which we should anoint with deeds of mercy; and our face, that is our senses, we should wash with tears of repentance. ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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