“He laid aside His garments, when, being in the form of God, He emptied Himself; He girded Himself with a towel, took upon Him the form of a servant; He poured water into a basin, out of which He washed His disciples’ feet. He shed His blood on the earth, with which He washed away the filth of their Sins; He wiped them with the towel wherewith He was girded; with the flesh wherewith He was clothed, He established the steps of the Evangelists; He laid aside His garments, to gird Himself with the towel; that He might take upon Him the form of a servant, He emptied Himself, not laying aside indeed what He had, but assuming what He had not. Before He was crucified, He was stripped of His garments, and when dead was wound up in linen clothes: the whole bowl of His passion is our cleansing.”
-Augustine, as quoted by Thomas Aquinas in Catena Aurea on the Gospel for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
“The night sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty forever beyond its reach.”-J.R.R. Tolkien in The Return of the King
“God’s control is never usurped. If at times we despair because of the relatively slow progress being made in ending racial discrimination, let us gain new heart in the fact that God is able. In our sometimes difficult and often lonesome walk up freedom’s road, we do not walk alone. God walks with us. God has placed within the very structures of the universe certain absolute moral laws. We can neither defy nor break them. If we disobey them, they will break us. The forces of evil may temporarily conquer truth, but truth will ultimately conquer its conqueror. Our God is able.”
-Martin Luther King Jr. (from a sermon titled “Our God is Able” delivered on January 1, 1956.)
Today Roman Catholics and Anglicans mark the Feast of Leo the Great (Bishop of Rome, died 461). In a time of great cultural upheaval, he became known for uniting political and spiritual authorities. His writings provided the church with the language necessary to unite around common ideas about the nature of Christ at the Council of Chalcedon, and his role as a mediator in violent political conflicts helped to spare many lives. He is well known for his meeting with Attila the Hun, convincing him to hold off a few years before attacking Rome, then negotiating for less bloodshed when the Vandals later destroyed Rome.
Here is a brief passage from his Christmas Day sermon (In Nativitate Domini) titled, “Christian, Remember Your Dignity.”
“Let us then, dearly beloved, give thanks to God the Father, through His Son, in the Holy Spirit , Who
for His great mercy, wherewith He has loved us, has had pity on us: and
when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5), that we might be in Him a new creation and a new production.
Let us put off then the old man with his deeds: and having obtained a share in the birth of Christ let us renounce the works of the flesh. Christian, acknowledge your dignity, and becoming a partner in the Divine nature, refuse to return to the old baseness by degenerate conduct. Remember the Head and the Body of which you are a member. Recollect that you were rescued from the power of darkness and brought out into God’s light and kingdom. By the mystery of Baptism you were made the temple of the Holy Ghost: do not put such a denizen to flight from you by base acts, and subject yourself once more to the devil’s thraldom: because your purchase money is the blood of Christ, because He shall judge you in truth Who ransomed you in mercy, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever and ever. Amen.”
-Leo the Great