"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." John 6:68


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Ash Wednesday
Commentary of the day
Saint Leo the Great (?-c.461), Pope and Doctor of the Church
10th. Homily for Lent (SC 49 rev)

Lenten exercises: "Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God" (Jl 2:13)

The Lord has said “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners” (Mt 9:13).Therefore no Christian is allowed to hate another since no one is saved otherwise than thanks to the forgiveness of their sins… So let the people of God be holy and upright: holy so as to turn away from what is forbidden and upright so as to fulfil what is commanded. It is certainly estimable to have right faith and holy doctrine; it is very praiseworthy to repress gluttony and to be gentle and irreproachable in chastity, but these virtues are nothing worth without charity…

And so, beloved, although any time is suitable for the exercise of the virtue of charity, it is more especially urged on us by this present season. Thus, those who long to receive the Lord’s Pasch with bodies and souls made holy must strive earnestly to acquire this grace which includes the sum of all virtues and “covers a multitude of sins” (1Pt 4:8). Therefore as we are about to celebrate that most eminent of all mysteries, in which the blood of Jesus Christ wiped away all our sins, let us first of all prepare to offer the sacrifice of mercy so that, what we have been given by the mercy of God, we ourselves may show to those who have sinned against us. May wrongs be cast into oblivion, sins not draw down punishment, and may all those who have trespassed against us no longer fear to be repaid in kind…

Each one should be well aware that he himself is a sinner and so as to receive forgiveness himself he should be glad to have found someone to forgive. In this way, whenever we say according to the Lord’s command: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Mt 6:12) we shall be sure of obtaining God’s mercy.

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