Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Christian Tradition - 22 February - The True Passover

"Now that divine power has been made manifest in the assumption of human weakness, there must be no sadness among the faithful to cast a shadow upon the paschal solemnity, no sorrow in recalling the events of the past, since our Lord could so use the malice of his enemies that their evil intentions served the purpose of his mercy. At the time of the exodus, Israel's freedom was restored through the blood of a lamb and the wrath of the destroying angel was averted through the sacrifice of a beast. And if this deliverance was marked by the institution of a solemn festival, how great should be the joy of Christian people, for whose sake the almighty Father spared not his only Son! He delivered him up for us all, so that the death of Christ might become the true passover and unique sacrifice, no longer saving a single people from subjection to Pharaoh, but delivering the whole world from bondage to the devil."

Lent is, I suppose, the re-appreciation of how deeply we were imprisoned in sin and serves only as the penitential preface to the joys of Easter. Leo's cheerful admonishment gives me pause -- good pause, but pause all the same as I "repent through Lent"....

Leo the Great (AD 400-461), bishop of Rome, Sermo 9 de passione 2: PL 54, 343.

No comments: