Thought of the day
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ash Wednesday

Saint Maximus of Turin (?-c.420), Bishop Sermon 28 "Forty days that lead us to baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ"

Ash Wednesday

Commentary of the day 

Saint Maximus of Turin (?-c.420), Bishop Sermon 28

"Forty days that lead us to baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ"

“In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you.” (Isa 49:8) After quoting this, the apostle Paul continues with the words: “Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor 6:2). I, in turn, call upon you to witness that now the days of redemption have come, now has come, in a sense, the moment of spiritual healing. We can take care of all of the stains from our vices, all the wounds from our sins, if we pray constantly to the doctor of our souls, if …we do not neglect any of his prescriptions… 

The doctor is our Lord Jesus who said: “It is I who bring forth both death and life.” (Deut 32:39). The Lord first brings forth death and then he gives back life. Through baptism, he destroys in us adulteries, homicides, murders and theft; then he brings us back to life as new persons in eternal immortality. We die to our sins, of course, through baptism, we return to life in the Spirit of life… Let us surrender to our doctor with patience in order to regain health. Everything that he will have detected in us that is unworthy, soiled through sin, eaten by ulcers, he will trim, he will cut it, he will take it away, so that once all the wounds inflicted by the demon have been eliminated, only what belongs to God will remain. 

This is his first prescription: to consecrate forty days to fasting, to prayer, to vigils. Fasting heals flabbiness, prayer nourishes the reverent soul, vigils reject the devil’s traps. After this period of time given to all these observances, the soul that is purified and exhausted from so many practices, comes to baptism. It regains strength by plunging into the waters of the Spirit: everything that had been burnt in the flames of illness is born again in the dew of heaven’s grace… By means of a new birth, we are born again changed.