And they gathered together to Mizpah, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah.
Read Chapter 7
Leo of Rome
At one time the Hebrew people and all the Israelite tribes, because of the offensiveness of their sins, were held under the heavy domination of the Philistines. In order to be able to overcome their enemies, as the sacred history shows, they restored strength of soul and body with a self-imposed fast. They had judged rightly that they deserved that hard and wretched subjection because of neglect of God’s commandments and the corruption of their lives, and that in vain did they fight with weapons unless they had first made war on their sins. By abstaining, therefore, from food and drink they imposed the penalty of severe punishment on themselves, and to conquer their enemies, they first conquered the enticement of gluttony in themselves. In this way it happened that the fierce adversaries and harsh masters yielded to those who were fasting whom they had overcome when they had been full.
We too, dearly beloved, situated as we are among many struggles and battles, if we wish to overcome our enemies in the same way, we may be healed by the same practice. Indeed, our situation is the same as theirs, seeing that they were attacked by bodily adversaries, we by spiritual enemies. If our spiritual enemies may be overcome by the correction of our lives bestowed on us through the grace of God, even the force of our bodily enemies will also give way to us. They will be weakened by our correction, since not their merits but our own sins made them onerous to us.
Therefore, dearly beloved, in order that we may be able to overcome our enemies, let us seek divine help by observing the commands of heaven, knowing that in no other way can we prevail over our foes except by prevailing over ourselves as well. - "Sermon 39 (Recension a) 1.2"