1 April 2009

LEO THE GREAT

O admirabilis potentia Crucis! O ineffabilis gloria passionis, in qua et tribunal Domini et iudicium mundi et potestas est crucifixi. (Leo, PL 54, 340). Superb latinity, majestic theology. However can people repeat the old nonsense that we Latins see only pathos in the Crucifixion, Glory in the Resurrection only!

But we do rather indulge ourselves in the idea that our crucified Lord is ever merciful. He is, and Divine Mercy does flow endlessly from His Sacred Heart, but that is one side of a single coin. The Cross is also the tribunal, the Judgement seat, where the mundus receives iudicium, condemnation. We kneel before it on Good Friday in loving gratitude for the Blood of Salvation, but equally in the Fear of the Lord who judges the dark corners of each one of us and the dark corners of a fallen world.

3 comments:

William Hyland said...

Leo Magnus is probably by favorite Father, so it is nice to see this.

Each morning during Passiontide I have taken to praying the Litany of the Most Precious Blood, and in the evening, when I am able, reading appropriate sermons of Pope Leo and Gregory the Great.

Benedictus said...

Long time reader, first time posting a comment on your excellent blog.

As a Western Rite Orthodox Christian hailing from California, I must say that I am quite pleased with your post on St. Leo the Great's sermon on the passion. Whenever I hear both Orthodox and some Byzantine Catholic discourse on the meaning of the cross, I can always count on one thing:The east" will always come off as "mystical and triumphant", while the west will always be "rational and morbid."

And anyone taking the time to read the liturgical texts for Good Friday, will quickly come to the realization that the cross is presented presicely as the Judgment Seat, in that sin is being judged, and as the Mercy Seat, because Christ is taking on Himself the sins of the world, by which sacrifice we are pardoned, and the ancient curse is lifted from our shoulders. The singing of the Vexilla Regis, as the Blessed Sacrament is being processed back to the altar for the presanctified liturgy, speaks loudly of the triumph of the Lamb that was slain.

In short, it's all there: judgment, mercy and triumph. Doesn't sound very much like a morbid time to this Orthodox Christian!

Benedictus said...

"And anyone taking the time to read the liturgical texts for Good Friday,"

Oops! Tht should have been "But anyone taking the time..." Sorry for any possible lack of clarity!