leo1No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the Cross, nor is anyone beyond the help of the prayer of Christ.

Even his many tormentors received the benefit of Christ’s prayer; all the more powerfully will it avail those who turn to him in repentance.

Ignorance has been dispelled, ill-will restrained, and the flaming sword barring the way to the land of the living extinguished by the sacred blood of Christ.

The dark night of the past has yielded to the true light of day.

Christian people are now invited to enjoy the treasures of Paradise, and the way to their lost fatherland is open once more to all who have been reborn.

Provided they do not close off for themselves that way which could be opened by the faith of a thief.

As we celebrate the wonderful mystery of this Paschal Feast, dearly beloved, we must not allow the affairs of this present life to consume us with anxiety or pride, and so prevent us from striving with our whole heart to be like our Redeemer and to follow his example, since the sole aim of everything he did and suffered was our salvation, and the communication to his members of the power that belongs to him as Head.

Was anyone, from the very first, excluded from the mercy shown to the human race when God assumed our nature, when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us? None but the unbeliever. Who, accepting Christ as the incarnate Word, does not share a common nature with him and is not born again of the same Spirit by which Christ himself was conceived?

Again, is there anyone whose own weakness is not recognizable in Christ’s? Surely in one who needed food and sleep, who was troubled and sorrowful and could be moved to tears, we can see the condition of our own servitude.

Because that nature of ours cried for the healing of its age-old wounds and the cleansing of its sinful stains, God’s only Son became the Son of Man, lacking neither the full reality of our humanity nor the plenitude of his Godhead.

The body that lay lifeless in the tomb was ours; the body that rose again on the third day was ours; the body that ascended above the heavens to the right hand of the Father’s majesty was ours.

If, then, we walk in the way of Christ’s commandments and are not ashamed to confess the price he paid for our salvation in bodily humiliation, we too shall be brought into the company of his glory.

Then all creation will see his promise fulfilled: Everyone who acknowledges me in the presence of men will be acknowledged by me in the presence of my heavenly Father.

Leo the Great (c.400-461): Sermon 66, 3-4; from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Tuesday of the Third Week in Lent, Year 1.