Sermons (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 93)
Publication Year: 1996
Published by: The Catholic University of America Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
History records very few details about the early life of Pope Leo, the first of only two popes referred to as "the Great." He was born-probably sometime during the 390's—into a family of Tuscan origin1 that had settled at Rome. We can judge from the quality and style of his writings ...
His Elevation to the See of Peter
At the time of his election to the See of Peter on 29 September 440, Leo expressed his gratitude for the trust placed in him by God and by God's Church (Serm. 1). For some years thereafter he gave special sermons on the anniversary of his election, four of which have come down to us: ...
Known together as the De Collectis (Concerning the Collections), Sermons 6-11 deal with the annual collection of alms taken up for the sick and the poor of Rome. Leo identifies the practice as "established by the Holy Fathers with most salutary effect" (Serm. 7.1), ...
Days of Fast in December
Leo extols the benefits of fasting (prescribed by both the Old and the New Testaments) in a number of his sermons. In Serm. 19.2 he refers to the spring fast of Lent, the summer fast after Pentecost, the autumn fast in the seventh month (September) and the winter fast in the tenth month (December). ...
Leo wrote these Christmas sermons in the years 440-444 and 450-454. As he states in Serm. 28.4, " ... practically no one has gone astray who did not disbelieve the reality of two natures in Christ while at the same time acknowledging a single Person." Consequently, from the very first years of his pontificate, ...
These eight sermons, delivered on the feast of the Epiphany, cover numerous aspects of that event. Leo bewails the blindness of Jews in the person of Herod (whom he addresses several times, e.g., Serms. 31.2 and 34.2). Yet he points out that, in consequence of this, Gentiles owe thanks to God ...
Days of Fast in Lent
These sermons cover the years 441-445, 451-455, and perhaps also 457-458. As he had with the Collection sermons, Leo reminds his audience that the "fasts have been ordained by the holy apostles through the Holy Spirit" (Serms. 47.1 and 50.2), and that " ... there are none who do not need renewal" ...
Lenten Sermon on the Transfiguration
This Gospel reading, dearly beloved, which has struck the interior hearing of our souls through the ears of the body, calls us to the knowledge of a great mystery, and we shall seek for it all the more easily with the breath of God's grace if we turn our thoughts ...
Passion of the Lord
Leo delivered a sermon on the Lord's Passion during Holy Week, breaking it up into parts over a couple of days, as he himself explained: "These things that I have put into your devout ears are enough today, dearly beloved, lest the weariness caused by too many words distress you. ...
Two sermons for the Feast of the Ascension, dated to the years 444 and 445, deal predominantly with faith. As the Gospels relate, the apostles doubted the Resurrection. According to Leo, it is from their wavering that subsequent believers receive assurance (Serm. 73.1). ...
As far as can be determined,1 Leo delivered these sermons on Pentecost Sunday, with the exception of Serm. 80, which he gave on one of the fast days. Serms. 75-77, while barely mentioning the fast, emphasize the Feast of Pentecost, where Leo describes the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles ...
Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul
Serms. 82-83, written in 441 and 443 respectively for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, instruct the flock by emphasizing the fact that all the might and secular glory of Rome cannot compare with the Rome blessed by the presence of Christ in his two apostles (Serm.. 82.1). ...
Commemorating Alaric's Invasion of Rome
After the fall of Carthage (19 October 439), the Vandals severely threatened the whole Mediterranean area, particularly Italy and Rome. They reached Sicily but did not enter Italy. In 442 Valentinian III was obliged to accept the treaty offered by Gaiseric, the Vandal leader. ...
Martyrdom of the Maccabees
It is not known exactly when this sermon was composed. Most likely, however, Leo delivered it on 1 August (the Feast of the Maccabees) any year between 446 and 461. Leo expresses gratitude that his flock appreciates this feast and that they especially appreciate the mother of the Maccabees (Serm. 84 B.1). ...
Feast of St. Lawrence
Martyrs eminently put into practice the essence of Christ's message, love of God and love of neighbor. Their examples are more powerful than words (Serm. 85.1). Leo tells the story of Lawrence's sufferings: ..... that fire was less effective which burned on the outside than the one which burned within" (Serm. 84.4); ...
Days of Fast in September
Leo placed great confidence in the spiritual efficacy of fasting. "Although any time is suitable for restraint, this time is most fit because we see it as chosen by the appointment of the apostles and the laws, that, as in other days of the year, so in September, we should cleanse ourselves by spiritual purification" ...
On the Beatitudes
Leo introduces the Beatitudes by reminding his audience that, while the Lord effected many bodily cures, he gave special instructions for interior health in the Beatitudes. His meditation on "most happy poverty" is somewhat more detailed than any of the others. ...
Leo himself clearly indicates how he means to be the prudent physician using preventative remedies for his people. Agents from Alexandria had brought with them the monophysite doctrine that only the nature of the divinity was in Christ, and the real nature of human flesh which he took from Mary was not in him. ...