Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A life of great faithfulness: St. Leo the Great

Below are the collect (prayer for the day) for St. Leo’s commemoration and a passage from one of his sermons. He was a great preacher, teacher, and leader (you would have to be in order to face down Atilla the Hun!). His holiness and faithfulness, as well as his decisiveness as a leader, are all part of the reason he was accorded the honorific “Great.” Beyond this, however, was a great intellectual gift; it was his writing on the controversial topic of Christ’s two natures that ultimately carried the day at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

A wise and faithful pastor, one who lives a holy life of prayer and charity, a skilled teacher and theologian, a practitioner of God’s justice, a pillar of dynamic orthodoxy, a worthy successor to the Apostles: this is what the True Church has always sought in its bishops. May such bishops be known in our own day!

O Lord our God, grant that your Church, following the teaching of your servant Leo of Rome, may hold fast the great mystery of our redemption, and adore the one Christ, true God and true Man, neither divided from our human nature nor separate from your divine Being; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

“It is a great thing, no doubt, to have the right faith and possess sound doctrine; and sobriety, meekness, and purity are virtues that deserve high praise; but all these virtues remain vain if they are not coupled with charity. And we ought not to say that an excellent conduct is fruitful if it does not issue from Love.”

- From Sermon 48

(More on St. Leo's life may be found here and here)

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