Skip to comments.[Catholic Caucus] Day by Day -- Saints for All, Saint Leo the Great, 11-10-18
Posted on 11/10/2018 1:27:00 PM PST by Salvation
With apparent strong conviction of the importance of the Bishop of Rome in the Church, and of the Church as the ongoing sign of Christs presence in the world, Leo the Great displayed endless dedication as pope. Elected in 440, he worked tirelessly as Peters successor, guiding his fellow bishops as equals in the episcopacy and infirmities.
Leo is known as one of the best administrative popes of the ancient Church. His work branched into four main areas, indicative of his notion of the popes total responsibility for the flock of Christ. He worked at length to control the heresies of Pelagianismoveremphasizing human freedomManichaeismseeing everything material as eviland others, placing demands on their followers so as to secure true Christian beliefs.
A second major area of his concern was doctrinal controversy in the Church in the East, to which he responded with a classic letter setting down the Churchs teaching on the two natures of Christ. With strong faith, he also led the defense of Rome against barbarian attack, taking the role of peacemaker.
In these three areas, Leos work has been highly regarded. His growth to sainthood has its basis in the spiritual depth with which he approached the pastoral care of his people, which was the fourth focus of his work. He is known for his spiritually profound sermons. An instrument of the call to holiness, well-versed in Scripture and ecclesiastical awareness, Leo had the ability to reach the everyday needs and interests of his people. One of his sermons is used in the Office of Readings on Christmas.
It is said of Leo that his true significance rests in his doctrinal insistence on the mysteries of Christ and the Church and in the supernatural charisms of the spiritual life given to humanity in Christ and in his Body, the Church. Thus Leo held firmly that everything he did and said as pope for the administration of the Church represented Christ, the head of the Mystical Body, and Saint Peter, in whose place Leo acted.
At a time when there is widespread criticism of Church structures, we also hear criticism that bishops and priestsindeed, all of usare too preoccupied with administration of temporal matters. Pope Leo is an example of a great administrator who used his talents in areas where spirit and structure are inseparably combined: doctrine, peace, and pastoral care. He avoided an angelism that tries to live without the body, as well as the practicality that deals only in externals.
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THE CHRISTMAS HOMILY OF SAINT LEO THE GREAT ON THE FEAST OF THE NATIVITY - I
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Leo gave the Church this magnificent homily for the Feast:
Dearly beloved, today our Savior is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.
No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing. Our Lord, victor over sin and death, finding no man free from sin, came to free us all. Let the saint rejoice as he sees the palm of victory at hand. Let the sinner be glad as he receives the offer of forgiveness. Let the pagan take courage as he is summoned to life.
In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of Gods wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind.
And so at the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to men of good will as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvellous work of Gods goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men?
Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because in his great love for us he took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins he brought us to life with Christ, so that in him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off our old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh.
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.
Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ.
The Orthodox Church summarizes Pope Leo's homily in the opening words of the Canon of the Nativty, which we will begin to sing on November 21:
Christ is Born--Glorify Him!
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