Sermons

By Pope Leo I; Jane Patricia Freeland et al. | Go to book overview

DAYS OF FAST IN DECEMBER

Leo extols the benefits of fasting (prescribed by both the Old and the New Testaments) in a number of his sermons. In Serm. 19.2 he refers to the spring fast of Lent, the summer fast after Pentecost, the autumn fast in the seventh month (September) and the winter fast in the tenth month (December). Leo upholds the necessity of bodily and spiritual fasts, stressing that abstinence from food must be completed with prayer and almsgiving.

He also enumerates works of mercy which must accompany fasting: defending widows, taking care of orphans, consoling mourners, making peace between factions, welcoming travelers, relieving the oppressed, clothing the naked, tending to the sick ( Serms. 13.1(2) and 16.1). These public fasts derive a great beauty from the strength communicated to individuals when all pursue a common goal.

In Serm. 9 from the November Collections of 443, Leo asks his flock to reveal any hidden Manichaeans. Here, in Serm. 16.1 from the December Fast of 443, he warns his people to beware of heretics, naming Basilides, Sabellius, Photinus, Arius, and Eunomius. He mentions that Manichaeans had been investigated and brought to trial ( Serm. 16.4).


Sermon 12
17 December 450

IF WE REFLECT upon the beginning of our creation with faith and wisdom, dearly beloved, we shall come to the realization that human beings have been formed according to the image of God precisely with a view that they might imitate their Designer. Our race has this dignity of nature, so long as the figure of divine goodness continues to be reflected in us as in a kind of mirror.

Indeed, the Savior's grace re-fashions us to this image on a daily basis. What fell in the first Adam has been raised up in the second. But our being re-fashioned has no other cause than the mercy of God. We would not love him but for the fact that

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Sermons
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Abbreviations vii
  • Select Bibliography ix
  • Introduction 1
  • His Elevation to the See of Peter 17
  • Annual Collections 34
  • Days of Fast in December 49
  • Christmas 76
  • Epiphany 132
  • Days of Fast in Lent 166
  • Lenten Sermon on the Transfiguration 218
  • Passion of the Lord 225
  • Ascension 322
  • Pentecost 330
  • Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul 352
  • Commemorating Alaric's Invasion of Rome 360
  • Martyrdom of the Maccabees 362
  • Feast of St. Lawrence 365
  • Days of Fast in September 368
  • On the Beatitudes 394
  • Against Eutyches 401
  • Indices 405
  • Index of Holy Scripture Numerical References to Leo Indicate Sermon.Section(subsection) 427
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