A monk asked a very great elder expert in understanding the teachings and the Holy Scriptures saying:
`Father what will I do when I go somewhere outside in the country or to a monastery and there they will lay a table before me and invite me to dine, to eat with them? And the dishes will be all those which I refrain from and which I don`t eat? Will it be good to ask them to give me other dishes I eat or would it be better to go away from their table so that I may not break my habit of fasting?
The elder answered saying :
`Son for this we have a command and teaching from the mouth of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ the Caregiver for all goodness, for our benefit and salvation when saying:
«Do not show your fasting to men by any means, but wherever you will go and the will lay the table for you, eat everything they serve you with, not doubting about anything and do not show your fasting to people» [Luke 10, 8].
So who am I, my son, to teach you and advise you in a different way, with a different, better and more useful teaching for you than that of Jesus Christ the Lord?
According to the word of the Lord I say to you and advise you : Wherever you will go and they will lay a table for you, eat what they put before you for the glory of God and not doubting about anything. If you return and go to your cell, then keep your rule of fasting in secret.
If you don`t want to do like this, then you should not get out to go somewhere outside your cell.
Excerpt from the Egyptian Patericon.