St. Jerome on Fasting

Tantum tibi ieiuniorum inpone, quantum ferre potest. Sint pura, casta, simplicia, moderata, non superstitiosa ieiunia. Quid prodest oleo non vesci et molestias quasdam difficultatesque ciborum quaerere? Caricae, piper, nuces, palmarum fructus, simila, mel, pistatia, tota hortorum cultura vexatur, ut cibario non vescamur pane. Audio praeterea quosdam contra rerum hominumque naturam aquam non bibere nec vesci pane, sed sorbitiunculas delicatas et contrita holera betarumque sucum non calice sorbere, sed conca. Pro pudor, non erubescimus istiusmodi ineptiis nec taedet superstitionis! Insuper etiam famam abstinentiae in deliciis quaerimus. Fortissimum ieiunium est aqua et panis; sed quia gloriam non habet et omnes pane et aqua vivimus, quasi publicum et commune ieiunium non putatur. - Epistula LII, ยง12.

St. Jerome by Caravaggio

Only impose on yourself such fasting as you can handle. Let your fasts be pure, chaste, simple, moderate, and lacking superstition. What does it profit to abstain from oil and go hunting for food that is a burden and difficult to prepare? Dried figs, pepper, nuts, dates, refined flour, honey, pistachios, the whole harvest of gardens is shaken out so that we don’t make a meal of bread. Further still, I hear some people, contrary to the nature of the universe and humanity, neither drink water nor eat bread, but sip delicate little concoctions of pulsed herbs and beet juice from a shell, disdaining the use of a cup. Shame! How do we not blush at such vanities and feel disgust at this superstition! On top of this, we seek a reputation for abstinence in such dainty delights. The strongest fast is water and bread. But because it holds no glory since we all live by bread and water, no one considers something so common and ordinary a proper fast.