Peter of the Golden Word

Today is the feast of St. Peter Chrysologus, fifth century bishop of Ravenna and doctor of the Church. I have come to appreciate more and more the pastoral depth of his homilies. Here is an example:

Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and his priest. Do not forfeit what divine authority confers on you. Put on the garment of holiness, gird yourself with the belt of chastity. Let Christ be your helmet and the cross on your forehead your unfailing protection. Your breastplate should be the knowledge of God which he himself has given you. Keep burning continually the sweet-smelling incense of prayer. Take up the sword of the Spirit.Let your heart be an altar. Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice. God desires not death, but faith; God thirsts not for blood, but for self-surrender; God is appeased not by slaughter, but by the offering of your free will.

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.

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