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Leo the Great: “In vain do we deny our body food if we do not withhold our heart from iniquity, and restrain our lips that they speak no evil.”

11 February 2016

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“As we are therefore beginning this sacred season, dedicated to the purification of the soul, let us be careful to fulfill the Apostolic command that we cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit (IICor. 7:11), so that restraining the conflict that exists between the one and the other substance, the soul, which in the Providence of God is meant to be the ruler of the body, may regain the dignity of its rightful authority, so that, giving offense to no man, we may not incur the contumely of evil mongers. With just contempt shall we be tormented by those who have no faith, and from our wickedness evil tongues will draw weapons to wound religion, if the way of life of those who fast be not in accord with what is needed in true self-denial. For the sum total of our fasting does not consist in merely abstaining from food. In vain do we deny our body food if we do not withhold our heart from iniquity, and restrain our lips that they speak no evil.”

– St. Leo the Great – ‘Lent the Season of Purification

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