The Power of the Cross of Christ in the Sermons on the Passion of the Lord by Saint Leo the Great


by Fr. Joseph Mukondua Zung, CSsR
(from the Alphonsian Academy blog)

Nineteen Sermons on the Passion of the Lord by Saint Leo the Great (440-461) are included in issue 74 of Sources Chrétiennes. Two essential features can be drawn from these Sermons. One concerns the doctrine of the power of the cross of Christ, and the other the consequences of this doctrine in the daily Christian life.

According to Pope Leo, Christ completed “the economy of all mysteries and miracles” through his Passion. He offered his divine origin and his Passion to “rescue us from our mortal condition”. He says only a religious and pious heart can grasp this mystery that brings salvation to man. This heart refers to what he calls the “understanding” that is enlightened about and by all the manifestations of salvation history. In Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Father, this history has reached its fullest fulfilment in the process of dispensatio misericordiae and actio pietatis. And the culmination of this process is the placing of Christ on the cross.

What is the significance of this cross? Leo the Great finds the importance of the cross of Christ in relation to its divine and saving power. It is “the most admirable, the most sublime of all the works for which God’s mercy has been spent for salvation”. It is “the true reason and the primary cause of Christian hope”.

Read the full text on the Alphonsian Academy website (original text in French)

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