He also said, ‘Some have afflicted their bodies by asceticism, but they lack discernment, and so they are far from God.’
He also said, ‘Our life and our death is with our neighbor. If we gain our brother, we have gained God, but if we scandalize our brother, we have sinned against Christ.’
—–Sayings of the Desert Fathers
Asceticism can be defined as the rejection of the pleasures of life. It does not really matter how much we deprive ourselves in the name of God, if we do not have the discernment to know that we must interact with all of our neighbors. Our true calling as Christ followers is to be at harmony with all who are around us .Our ultimate calling is to gain the trust and friendship of those around us. In this there is Godly living. To be destructive to our neighbor is a sin against God and man.
Lord help me to be at peace and harmony with all whom you send my way. Help me to learn that each person is a part of your creation and that you love them just as you love me. Fill me with your Spirit so that I may learn of your grace and wisdom. Though that grace and wisdom I am given the key of living in love in this unloving world. May you grant this to me through the one who loves me most. Amen