Sunday, February 11, 2024

Quinquagesima Sunday 2024

Since we are about to undertake the holy fast of Quinquagesima, as is the custom, we should know that what soap gives to the body, fasting confers on the mind of a Christian. It purifies the filth of the senses, washes away the offenses of the spirit, dissolves the crimes of the heart, takes away its blemishes, and with marvelous splendor brings the whole man back to the brightness of purity. And just as spring checks and represses all the tumults of stormy weather, calms the face of heaven, gives peace to the earth, and calls all the body of the world that was buried in the death of winter and raises it to the strength of life; so does fasting assuage all conflicts, return peace to the members (of the body), enkindle minds that were unconscious and dead with the chill of negligence, and inspiring them to virtue with all zeal. Fasting, my brethren, is the rudder of human life, it rules the whole ship of our body, it raises high the heart... (St Peter Chrysologus, bishop of Ravenna from 433-ca 450, First Sermon on Quinquagesima. This is one of the earliest attestations of the development of Fore-lent in the Western church.)

Ss Peter Chrysologus, Romuald and Peter Damian, by Giuseppe Milani, from the Duomo of Ravenna 1767. (Image from Wikimedia Commons by José Ruiz)

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