(from Gr. askesis, "athlete"
) A life of struggle - the crucifixion of the desires of the flesh, through a life of prayer, fasting, and self-denial. Through asceticism the Christian fights temptation to sin and thereby grows in spiritual strength. Such spiritual classics as The Philokalia
and The Ladder of Divine Ascent
give directions for the ascetic life (see Luke 9:23; Gal. 5:24).