∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼
My brethren, it is not possible for these things to come about in one day or one week! They will take much time, labour, and pain, in accordance with each man’s attitude and willingness, according to the measure of faith (Rom, 12:3, 6) and one’s contempt for the objects of sight and thought.
In addition, it is also in accordance with the fervour of his ceaseless penitence and its constant working in the secret chamber of his heart (Mt. 6:6) that this is accomplished more quickly or more slowly by the gift and grace of God. But without fasting no one was ever able to achieve any of these virtues or any others, for fasting is the beginning and foundation of every spiritual activity. Whatever you will build on this foundation cannot collapse or be destroyed, because they are built on solid rock.
But if you remove this foundation and substitute for it a full stomach and improper desires, they will be undermined like sand by evil thoughts, and the whole structure of virtues will be destroyed (cf. Mt. 7:26; Lk. 6:49). To prevent this from happening in our case, my brethren, let us gladly stand on the solid foundation of fasting. Let us stand firmly, let us stand willingly!
– St. Symeon the New Theologian, “The Discourses”