Brethren and fathers, now that we have fasted for the first week we appear to each other somewhat different to what we were, leaner and paler. But even if our outward nature is wasting away, as the Apostle says, the inner is being renewed day by day. For what it is to see a body healthy-looking and sleek through pleasure; this it is to understand what follows for the soul through self-mastery, so that by humbling the body we shall bring about the beauty of the soul, that beauty which the holy David longed for when he prayed, Lord, by your will you have granted power to my beauty.
Brethren and fathers, the season of Lent, when compared to the whole year, may be likened to a storm-free harbour, in which all who are sailing together enjoy a spiritual calm. For the present season is one of salvation not for monks and nuns only, but also for lay people, for great and small, for rulers and ruled, for emperors and priests, for every race and for every age. For cities and villages reduce their hubbub and bustle, while psalmody and hymns, prayers and entreaties take their place, by which our good God is propitiated and so guides our spirits to peace and pardons our offenses, if, with a sincere heart, we will only fall down before him with fear and trembling and weep before him, promising improvement for the future.