Voices ever ancient, ever new. Lent, Week 1: Friday

“... leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.” (Matthew 5:24-25)

Origen of Alexandria comments on these verses from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“To give assent to sin is already a completed evil, even if someone does not actually commit the deed. And by this saying our Savior, hurling us away from the cause of sins, endeavors to cut sin off completely. For when this intention is not present in our souls, neither shall the action accompany it.

In this life, this way traveled by all, you do well to accept and not ignore the suggestions of the conscience. But if you are inconsiderate and negligent in this life, conscience itself, assuming the role of a prosecutor, will accuse you before the judge. Conscience will subject to the juryman’s decision, and you will be handed over to incurable punishments. Such things you would not have suffered, if along the way you had in fact acquired goodwill toward your accuser, accepting his reproaches as offered out of goodwill. For this also the divine Evangelist John says in his letter: “If our conscience does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” (Fragment 102)

Grant that your faithful, O Lord, we pray,
may be so conformed to the paschal observances,
that the bodily discipline now solemnly begun
may bear fruit in the souls of all.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!