by Scott D. Hendricks
It goes very well with our devotion, after all, that as we are very soon going to celebrate the passion of the crucified Lord, we should also make a cross for ourselves out of the curbing of the pleasures of the flesh, as the apostle says: But those who are Jesus Christ’s have crucified their flesh with its passions and lusts (Galatians 5:24).
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So it is that both Moses and Elijah and the Lord himself all fasted for forty days, to suggest to us that we are being worked upon in Moses and in Elijah and in Christ himself, that is in the law and the prophets and in the gospel itself, to ensure that we aren’t conformed to this world and don’t cling to it, but that instead we crucify the old self, behaving not in gluttony and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness; but let us put on the Lord Jesus, and take no care for the flesh in its lusts (Romans 13:13-14). Live here like that always, Christian; if you don’t want your footsteps to sink in the earthly quagmire, don’t come down from this cross.
But now, if that is what has to be done throughout the whole of this life, how much more during these days of Lent, in which this life is not only being spent, but in addition is also being mystically signified?
~ St. Augustine of Hippo
From Sermon 205 On the Beginning of Lent
The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, Sermons III/6 (184-229Z) on the Liturgical Seasons, translation and notes by Edmund Hill, O.P., ed. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A. (New York: New City Press, 1993), 103-104.