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It is only a help; a disposition; a means though a fitting one, for the attainment oftrue perfection. Jerome, is an effort to attain true perfection, penance being only an auxiliary virtue thereto.

It should be noted also that the expression " fasting and abstinence " is commonly used in Scripture and by ascetic writers as a generic term for all sorts of penance.

Asceticism has to do with the moral virtues ; mysticism is a state of unusual prayer or contemplation.

It is prompted by the desire to do the will of God, any personal element of self-satisfaction which enters the motive vitiating it more or less.Such were the virtues practised by the mass of the people of God under the Old Law, and this may be considered as the first step in true asceticism.For apart from the many instances of exalted holiness among the ancient Hebrews, the lives of the faithful followers of the Law, that is the main body of the ordinary people must have been such as the Law enjoined and although their moral elevation might not be designated as asceticism in the present restricted and distorted meaning of the term, yet it probably appeared to the pagan world of those times very much as exalted virtue does to the world today.It may be prompted by selfish reasons of utility, pleasure, aetheticism, ostentation, or pride.It is not to be relied upon for serious efforts and may easily give way under the strain of weariness or temptation.

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The word asceticism comes from the Greek askesis which means practice, bodily exercise, and more especially, atheletic training.

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