Hymn 4

This is the healing fast, let us love its aid, let us rejoice in its medicine.
The fast[er] descended form Mt. Sinai, to the smitten camp Ex 32-31
It healed the hidden pains of the soul
It bound the great wound of the mind.
The fast supported the fall of that people in the desert.
Let us give praise for the mercies,
For good fasts are like medicines for us.

Let us give praise to the First Born, whose herd
Busies itself with books, the blessed pastures.

O Fast that makes rich, let us take from its treasure and become rich in its fullness
For Adam, in the beginning, suffered a loss by means of food; he made a transaction and became poor,
O Fast that makes us rich!
When it repays the debts of Adam,
Though it makes the stomach poor,
It fills the Treasure House of the soul with the wares of [eternal] life.
Let us give praise to the First Born.
For his good fast is a veritable armour for our weakness.

O fast that liberates, free the eaters from the yoke of greed.
For the lordship of the belly it is weak and worn out,
It is not fit for freedom. Let the belly cease from its (Greed) service.
Let it serve the spirit by life-giving words.
Fill your inner-self with teaching, nourishment of the soul
Let us give praise to the First Born, whose herd
Busies itself with books, the blessed meadow.

O fast that teaches, it invites our weakness, to rise and shine victorious
The sackcloth, its clothing, is like armor; humility is like a weapon
It clothes the weak heel with firm habits [Gen 3:15]
So as to pound and crush the pleasures that weaken
Which are unseen dragons
Blessed is he who gave the fast to Eve,
To overcome the snake and its greed.

Behold the fast that overcomes, it refrains youth and children from food
O how fallen is the Evil One, even young girls enter into contest with him.
The Faster carries hidden crowns,
He rises and distributes to the crowd of fasters.
Lo how the Evil One howls when he sees the luminous camp
Let us give praise to the First Born, who overcame with the fast
He causes even now his athletes to overcome

Behold the fast that adorns, it invites us to set its adornments upon our ugliness
The tears of fasting break forth to wipe away our filth, to whiten our stains.
In its sackcloth is hid the Garment of Glory.
From its ashes the breath of life is exhaled. Gen 2:7; Adam's exaltation1
Come O you ugly ones and be adorned at no cost.
Blessed is he who invites and calls us
To the pure and delightful feast of that beautiful one.

Put aside on the fast day, O proud ladies, all adornments and fineries which bloom like flowers
Esther possessed the adornments of royalty
But since she saw that it was of this world, she ran to the fast.
And it brought down and gave to her heavenly beauty and spiritual brilliance
She entered and asked by it from the king life for those condemned to death.
Blessed is the king who adorned his holy church
With [the opportunity for] prayer and vigil on the fast day.

Let us not be ashamed of the sackcloth nor of those who wear it, for it is a victorious weapon.
The one so clothed undertakes a trial and test of humility which overcomes all.
It was a sackcloth that subdued proud Haman
Before that humble one. The "Fast" made its request,
By the greedy mouth for the silent faster.
Blessed is he who gave us the Fast;
That made war with Haman by means of his own mouth.

Put aside you youth, the adornments of your bodies at the time of your fast.
For the three lads in Babylon were able
To be adorned with every adornment. Because they hated gold they became as gold.
The false one cast them into the great oven,
The fasters were beautiful in the fire like choice gold.
Blessed is he who gave us the Fast,
Which purifies the rust of greed from our thoughts.

Behold the fast that gives joy; for it is able to overcome compulsion with discipline.
Jonah cried out as in a courtroom and declared Ninevah guilty
But [the city] choose the fast [which] knows the strategy
[As] a skillful legal advocate, [it] entered, spoke, was declared blameless, and silenced Jonah.
The decree of the [Divine] King was loosened
Praise be his merciful deeds
Which are as a spiritual mouth pleading for the penitents

Behold Our Blessed Lord, as well as Moses and Elijah prepared the path for the Fast[er]
Though they measured and marked a [more moderate] way for the weak.
They themselves went along without moderation, for they possessed a supernatural power.
Bread did not support them, nor natural food.
The strong one lept beyond the path and its inns. (see 1
Let us give praise on the Fast day
For the mercies he gave, namely, a weapon for our weakness.

Who is so tolerant as to forgive one who is overcome by the belly.
For a day-long fast is but a short interval yet its reward is so great.
If the skillful one can go forth [in the fast] for weeks,
And those of average ability for a half of a week,
Then even the lowest are not deprived of a short interval.
Let us give praise to the First Born,
For he desires to save each person by any means possible.

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