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what God commands, you will be glori­ fied even more and even more highly honored before God than you were bound to be. If, then, you do what God com­ mands and perform any of these ser­ vices in addition, you will be filled with joy—if you keep them according to my commandment.” 4 I said to him, “Lord, I will guard whatever you command me. For I know you are with me.” “I will be with you,” he said, “because you are so eager to do good; and I will be with everyone who is just as eager. 5 This fast that consists of keeping the Lord’s commandments,” he said, “is very good. And so guard the fast. 6 First of all, be on your guard against every evil word and desire, and cleanse your heart from all the vain affairs of this age. If you guard these things, this fast will be complete. 7 And act as follows: when you have completed the things that have already been written, taste nothing but bread and water on the day you fast. Then estimate the cost of the food you would have eaten on that day and give that amount to a widow or orphan or someone in need. Be humble in this way, that the one who receives something because of your hu­ mility may fill his own soul and pray to the Lord for you. 8 If then you complete your fast like this, as I have commanded you, your sacrifice will be acceptable before God and the fast will be recorded. The service done in this way will be good and cheer­ ful and pleasing to the Lord. 9 Thus you should keep these things, as should your children and your entire household. When you do so, you will be blessed. Everyone who hears these things and keeps them will be blessed, and they will receive whatever they ask from the Lord.”

(V, 4) I begged him fervently to ex­ plain to me the parable of the field, the master, the vineyard, the slave who built a fence around the vineyard, the fence posts, the weeds that were removed from the vineyard, the son, and the friends who were advisors. For I understood that all these things were a parable. 2 He answered me, “You are extremely brazen in your requests. You should ask nothing at all, for if anything needs to be explained to you, it will be.” I said to him, “Lord, there is no point in showing me something that you do not explain, when I do not know what it is. And if you tell me parables without explaining them to me, there is no point in my hear­ ing them from you.” 3 Again he said to me, “Whoever is a slave of God and has the Lord in his heart asks him for understanding and receives it. And he interprets every parable; and the words of the Lord spoken in parables are made known to him. But all those who are weak and lazy in prayer hesitate to ask anything from the Lord. 4 The Lord has great compassion and gives without hesitation to everyone who asks of him. But you have been empow­ ered by the glorious angel and have re­ ceived from him this petition; since you are not lazy, why do you not ask for understanding from the Lord and receive it directly from him?” 5 I said to him, “Lord, since I have you with me I need to ask and inquire of you. For you are the one showing everything to me and speaking with me. If I had seen or heard these things without you, I would ask the Lord to clarify them for me.”



(V, 5) “I told you just now,” he said, “that you are crafty and brazen,

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