Sermons

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

MARTYRDOM OF THE MACCABEES

It is not known exactly when this sermon was composed. Most likely, however, Leo delivered it on 1 August (the Feast of the Maccabees) any year between 446 and 461. Leo expresses gratitude that his flock appreciates this feast and that they especially appreciate the mother of the Maccabees ( Serm. 84B.1). He cautions them not to become complacent in the absence of government persecution, but to probe the depths of the heart, where the devil's persecutors (i.e., vices) constantly lurk ( Serm. 84B.2). With regard to these temptations which attack everyone (and these are enumerated), Leo explains: "When you see that you are waging a battle on many fronts, then must you also, in imitation of the martyrs, pursue a many-sided victory" ( Serm. 84B.2). In urging practice of the virtues which counteract vices, he employs yet another one of his aphoristic "one-liners": "Things that have been heard become tiresome if they are not taken up to be imitated" ( Serm. 84B.2).


Sermon 84B

1 August ( 446-461?)

WE GIVE THANKS, dearly beloved, to the Lord our God that, even if I should be silent, your assembly here shows how great is the solemnity of this day. You have come together with such single-minded enthusiasm and such a devout spirit that the meeting itself bears witness to the splendor of the feast, and rightly so, even if the sermon did not mention it. We have a twofold cause for joy, in that we both celebrate the Church's birthday and rejoice in the suffering of martyrs. It is proper for the Church to exult in their martyrdom--and not inappropriate--for it is adorned by their example.

You have learned the reason for today's feast very clearly, dearly beloved, from the reading of the sacred story.1. No, you

____________________
1.
Cf. 2 Mc 7.

-362-

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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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