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Friday, March 28, 2008

Generous Poverty, Part II

Continued from yesterday …
Saint Leo the Great
When the apostle Peter was on his way up to the temple and was asked for alms by the lame man, he replied: “Silver and gold I have not; but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk.” What is more sublime than this humility? And what could be richer than this poverty? Though Peter cannot assist with money, he can confer gifts of nature. With a word Peter brought healing to the man who had been lame from birth; he who did not give a coin with the emperor's image refashioned the image of Jesus in this man.

And by the riches of this treasure, not only did he help the man who recovered the power to walk, but also five thousand others who believed the preaching of the apostle because of this miraculous cure. Thus Peter, who in his poverty had no money to give to the beggar, bestowed such a bounty of divine grace that in restoring to health the feet of one man, he healed the hearts of many thousands of believers. He had found all of them lame; but he made them leap for joy in Christ.

Saint Leo the Great completed a series of ninety-six sermons which still exist today, on matters of theology, faith and morals, clarifying the doctrine of the Incarnation, and eloquent commentaries opposing the heresies of his time. In 452, Attila and his Huns invaded Italy and were about to attack defenseless Rome when he was met at the gates by Leo. In this face-to-face meeting with Leo, Attila was dissuaded from destroying the city.
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