Oldie PODCAzT 29: Leo the Great’s fabulous reflection on Ascension; the angelic battle for your soul

In this PODCAzT we hear some of St. Leo the Great’s (+461) second sermon on the Ascension (s. 74) delivered in A.D. 445.  This is an amazing piece of work.  It is used on Friday after Ascension Thursday (in other words today – at least on my planet) in the older Breviarium Romanum for the 2nd Nocturne of Matins and also in the newer Liturgica Horarum in the Office of Readings. 

So, this selection of Leo the Great has been the Church’s point of reflection on this day for a long time.  I like that continuity!

Also, I talk about angels and how there is an angelic battle being waged for your soul.



Ascension related PODCAzT’s from 2007:
030 07-05-19 Augustine on Peter & John; singing a Tridentine Requiem; St. Peter Celestine V
028 07-05-17 Augustine on the Ascension; Card. Castrillion on the Motu Proprio
027 07-05-16 Leo on the Ascension; a Collect; feedback

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Dante says:

    Sometimes we forget how amazing angels are. God loves us so much that he gives each and every human a beautiful creature that takes care of us personally.

    Ángele Dei, qui custos es mei, me, tibi commísum pietáte supérna, illúmina, custódi, rege et gubérna. Amen.

    We should say the Ángele Dei daily.


  2. Malta says:

    Fr., you point-out that Angels are waging a battle for our souls. That is a rather unmodern comment, but one desperately needed. We are so caught-up in Ecumenism and Vatican Twoness, that we forget this central teaching of our Faith. Are the Sacraments really just nice rituals that make us feel better, or do they have efficacy against an inexplicable force of evil that strives to draw each and every soul on earth to eternal separation from the soul’s maker? Our modern Church tends to minimize the importance of the Sacraments, especially Baptism, Penance and the Eucharist. If everyone, or nearly everyone, is saved, why the stress by every Saint and Pope in the pre-Modernist age on the necessity of these central Sacraments? Why has the Church ceased its missionary role? Were the great souls, Saints and Martyrs who risked life and limb to bring the faith to unbelievers really working in vain? Why is the Church now so afraid to proclaim its Truth? These questions all tie-in to your point about angels, and how, good or bad, they are working for the salvation or destruction of souls:

    “Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. 12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” Eph. 6:11-13.

  3. Tadhg Seamus says:

    Father Z,
    Thank you so much for an absolutely indispensable blog. It’s “must-read” material for me EVERY DAY. That said, I have one quick and non-snarky (really!) question about your Latin pronunciation. I was always taught that to pronounce a word beginning with the letter “h”, the “h” was dropped. Thus, “huic” would be rendered (approximately), “oo-eek”, or “hominibus” as “oh-mee-nee-boos”. This system also adds a beautiful soft articulation to sung Latin text as well. Now, keep in mind that I’m the product of a Jesuit education (before the Time of the Inexplicable Melting Down); were they lying to me?

    God bless you, your work, and all who visit here!!

  4. Tadhg: were they lying to me?

    Why the polemic? There are variations in the way Latin can be pronounced. Sure there is evidence that the “h” is silent. I just don’t do that because I think it sounds stupid most of the time and when teaching beginners using the h helps them track more closely when they hear the Latin out loud.

  5. RBrown says:

    Tadhg Seamus,

    I think my Koine Greek teacher’s answer applies here. When a student would try to pin him down on a pronunciation, he would say: “Until we find the Dead Sea Cassettes, I cannot answer that question.”

  6. Tadhg Seamus says:

    Thank you both! Fr. Z: I wasn’t trying to be argumentative; it was an honest question about pronunciation. I was just looking to see what the “preferred” pronunciation is.

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