Joseph asked Abba Poemen,

'How should we fast?'

Abba Poemen said,

'I suggest that everyone

should eat a little less

than he wants, every day.' 

Joseph said to him

'When you were a young man,

didn't you fast

for two days on end?' 

He said to him, 'That's right,

I used to fast three days on end,

even for a week. 

But the great hermits

have tested all these things,

and they found that it is good

to eat something every day,

but on some days a little less. 

They have shown us

that this is the King's highway,

for it is easy and light."

The Desert Fathers,

Sayings of the Early Christian Monks, p. 99

Desert Father c. 340-450

Abba Poemen

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