by St. John of Kronstadt, from My Life in Christ
Fasting is a good teacher: (1) It soon makes everybody who fasts understand that a man requires very little food and drink, and that in general we are greedy and eat a great deal more than is necessary—that is, than our nature requires. (2) Fasting clearly shows or discloses all the infirmities of our soul, all its weaknesses, deficiencies, sins, and passions; just as when muddy, standing water is beginning to be cleaned it shows what reptiles and what sort of dirt it contains. (3) It shows us all the necessity of turning to God with the whole heart, and of seeking His mercy, help, and salvation. (4) Fasting shows all the craftiness, cunning, and malice of the bodiless spirits, whom we have hitherto unwittingly served, and whose cunning, now that we are enlightened by the light of God's grace, becomes clear, and who now maliciously persecute us for having left their ways.
Great Martyr James the Persian
You astounded all, long-suffering James, by enduring horrible tortures with great patience. As the evil assembly performed the slaughter, you uttered prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord. Through your sufferings you received your crown, and came to the throne of the heavenly King, Christ God. Entreat Him to save our souls!
Kontakion, Tone 2
You listened to your faithful wife and contemplated the judgment of God, holy James; you despised the threats and commands of the Persians, accepting the cutting of your body as though you were a vine. Therefore you were revealed as a martyr worthy of honor.