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For the Second Sunday in Lent: St. Leo on sanctification

February 21, 2016

This being the Second Sunday in Lent, here, from Faith and Life, is a reading from St. Leo on sanctification:

WHILE the Easter solemnity is approaching, we have before us the custom of a preliminary fast, to train us during forty days for sanctification of body and soul. For when we are about to welcome the greatest Feast of all feasts, we ought to prepare ourselves with such observance of duty, that we may be found sharers of His Death and Passion in whose Resurrection we have been raised again. But what is our share in the Death of Christ, except to cease to be what we were? or what is our likeness to His Resurrection, except the laying aside of the old man? Therefore, he who understands the mystery of his own restoration ought to strip himself of carnal vices, and cast away all the stains of sin; that when he is entering in to the marriage supper, he may shine forth in the robe of virtue. For although the benignant Spouse invites all to share the royal banquet, yet all who are invited are bound to take care that they be not found unworthy of the gift of holy food. Since the whole body of the faithful ought to aim at perfect innocence and entire purity, in order that they may be deemed worthy of being enrolled in the fellowship of those of whom it is said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God;” we must strive with all earnestness and energy, that whatever denies our secret conscience, whatever darkens the eye of our mind, may be effaced by diligent purification. For although it is written, “Who will boast that he has a clean heart, or that he is pure from sin?” yet we must not despair of attaining purity, for while it is always being asked for, it is always being received: nor does that remain to be condemned by the Judgment, which has been cleared away by confession.

—St. Leo, Twelfth Sermon on Lent

Let us lay aside the old man, and put on Christ.

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