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Read St. John Chrysostom’s powerful reflection on Lent


Wikipedia | Domena publiczna

Philip Kosloski - published on 03/04/23

St. John Chrysostom provides a beautiful homily on Lent, bringing out a wealth of spiritual symbolism.

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Sometimes we may not always grasp the beautiful symbolism behind the season of Lent. There are many layers to this season, and the saints can help us mine the depths of it.

In particular, St. John Chrysostom provides a beautiful commentary on Lent. Pope Benedict XVI quoted the following passage in his homily for Ash Wednesday in 2007, and provides it in full for us to ponder.

“As at the end of winter,” he writes, “the summer season returns and the navigator launches his boat into the sea, the soldier polishes his arms and trains the horse for battle, the farmer sharpens the scythe, the wayfarer strengthened, continues his journey, and the athlete sets aside his vestments and prepares for the race; so we too, at the start of this fast, like returning to a spiritual springtime, we polish the arms like the soldiers, we sharpen the scythe like the farmers, and as mariners we launch the boat of our spirit to confront the waves of senseless passions, like the wayfarer we continue the journey to heaven, and as the athlete we prepare ourselves for the fight by totally setting aside everything.”

(cf. Homily to the People of Antioch, n. 3)

Lent is meant to be a time of spiritual renewal, where we look at our lives and determine where we need to improve.

As we progress during this season, may we reflect on this passage of St. John Chrysostom and look at ourselves to see what we need to get ready for our final voyage to Heaven.

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