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St. Leo on Lenten Duties

February 14, 2013

This is another repost from last year – a quote for Ash Wednesday from Faith and Life: Readings Compiled from Ancient Writers, and it is from St. Leo:

WE have come, dearly beloved, to the beginning of Lent, that is, to the more earnest service of our Lord ; and as we are entering on a kind of contest of holy exertion, let us prepare our souls for strife with temptation, and understand that exactly in proportion to our greater heartiness in pursuing our salvation will be the vehemence of our enemies’ assault. But stronger is He that is in us than he that is against us, and we have force through Him in whose power we confide; for it was to this end that our Lord allowed Himself to be tempted by the Tempter, that, as we are guarded by His aid, we should be instructed by His example. For He conquered the adversary by authorities from the Law, not by the exertion of superior might; that by this means He might at once put a higher honour on man, and inflict a heavier punishment on the adversary, in that the foe of mankind was conquered not as it were by God, but by man. He therefore fought then, that we too might fight afterwards; He conquered, that we too might conquer likewise. For there are no works of virtue without the trials of temptation, no faith without probation, no conflict without a foe, no victory without an engagement. This life of ours lies in the midst of snares, in the midst of battles. If we do not mean to be deceived, we must keep watch; if we do mean to conquer, we must fight.

–St Leo, First Sermon on Lent.

As J.C. Ryle said, “True Christianity is a fight.”  Lent is a reminder of that.

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