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Chapter XVIII.

Delight thyself rather in fastings than in feastings, mindful of that widow who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers day and night. Now, if she who was a widow, and a Jewish widow, proved herself such, what is it fitting that a virgin of Christ should now attain to? Love more than any other thing the feast of the divine word, and desire that you be filled with spiritual dainties, while you seek for such food as refreshes the soul, rather than for that which only pleases the body. Flee from all kinds of flesh and wine, as being the sources of heat and provocatives to lust. And only then, if need be, use a little wine, when the stomach’s uneasiness, or great infirmity of body, requires you to do so. Subdue anger, restrain enmity, and whatever there may be which gives rise to remorse when it is done, avoid as an abomination giving rise224224    “velut proximi criminis abominationem declina”: the text and construction are both very uncertain, so that we can only make a guess at the meaning. to immediate sin. It is fitting that that mind should be very tranquil and quiet, as well as free from all the tumults of anger, which desires to be the dwelling-place of God, as he testifies through the prophet, saying, “Upon225225    Isa. lxvi. 2. what other man shall I rest than upon him who is humble and quiet, and who trembleth at my words?” Believe that God is a witness of all thy deeds and thoughts, and take good heed lest you either do or think anything which is unworthy of the divine eyesight. When you desire to engage in prayer, show yourself in such a frame of mind as becomes one who is to speak with the Lord.

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