April 7, 2016
Germanus and Cassian finally begin to talk with Abba Theonas about the relaxation of Pentecost; that is, how one approaches a festal season and moderation of ascetical practices. Theonas starts by emphasizing the importance of discretion and right judgment arising out of a well formed conscience so that one avoid extremes. During such a season a person wouldn't want to indiscriminately maintain disciplines so as to overly weaken the body or fain asceticism before others or relax disciplines too much so as to lose control of the passions one has labored to overcome during Lent.
Celebration and relaxation should not simply be considered in a worldly fashion. As Christians we want to protect the nobler festival of the mind and the joy of incorruption above all things. The relaxation we embrace should reflect that joyful reality and we should not give way to the gross indiscretion of the world and fail to abstain from overly rich foods or eat a great deal more than usual. The celebration lies within and we don't want to overemphasize the satisfaction of carnal desires.
Attention then turns to Lent as tithing of a portion of one's life to God for the sake of greater emancipation from one's sins and passions. Likewise, Theonas goes on to explain we are to tithe the first fruits of every day to God. Before any worldly work is done, our thoughts must turn to God and we must offer Him first our sacrifice of praise.