Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in Gods own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of Gods kingdom.
Also note the the strong parallels between +Leo's homily and the Paschal Homily of +John Chrysostom.
Our bishop, despite a packed calendar, made time last week to drive 4 hours to our small church and celebrate Divine Liturgy and the Christmas Novena. In his homily, he spoke about the need to distance ourselves from the clamor of a culture that lures us away from Christ. He invited us to join him the following morning for Safro (morning) prayers.
Let me remind everyone that our community is quite small (60 families), that include many elderly as well as mothers with young children. Since this was a weekday, the mothers were busy getting their children off to school, while the elderly lacked commutation. That left a group in the middle, whose need to work prevented their attendance. Alas, only a small contingent of 10 retirees, like myself, was able to join him. The bishop is a humble man who fully understands this and was pleased that we made time for these beautiful prayers.
I took the opportunity that morning, after reflecting on the previous night's homily, to give him an extract from the Pro Eligendo homily delivered by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger at the mass celebrated before the cardinals were sequestered in the conclave to elect the next pope. Here is that extract. These words of wisdom were spoken on April 18, 2005. They resonate even more today. Referring to Eph 4: 14:
How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - flung from one extreme to another: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and so forth. Every day new sects spring up, and what St Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4: 14) comes true.
Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be "tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine", seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires.
We, however, have a different goal: the Son of God, the true man. He is the measure of true humanism. An "adult" faith is not a faith that follows the trends of fashion and the latest novelty; a mature adult faith is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ. It is this friendship that opens us up to all that is good and gives us a criterion by which to distinguish the true from the false, and deceit from truth.
We must develop this adult faith; we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith. And it is this faith - only faith - that creates unity and is fulfilled in love.
We catholics are truly blessed to have lived during the papacy of Benedict XVI. Like Leo the Great and John Chrysostom, the record of his words will continue to nurture future generations who seek guidance in dealing with their own culture. Please remember Pope Benedict in your prayers! He shoulders great burdens.