I call upon You, Lord, God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob and Israel, You who are the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of your mercy, was well-pleased towards us so that we may know You, who made heaven and earth, who rules over all, You who are the one and the true God, above whom there is no other God; You who, by our Lord Jesus Christ gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, give to every one who reads this writing to know You, that You alone are God, to be strengthened in You, and to avoid every heretical and godless and impious teaching.

St Irenaeus of Lyons, Against the Heresies 3:6:4

Sunday, February 24, 2013

St. Irenaeus on Lent—Its Diversity and Unity among the Faithful: A Good Word for the Modern Dilemma

For the controversy is not merely as regards the [paschal] day, but also as regards the form itself of the fast.  For some consider themselves bound to fast one day, others two days, other still more, while others do so during forty...And this variety among the observers of the fasts had not its origin in our time [i.e., mid-second century A.D.], but long before in that of our predecessors, some of whom probably, being not very accurate in their observance of it, handed down to posterity the custom as it had, through simplicity or private fancy, been introduced among them.  And yet nevertheless all these lived in peace one with another, and we also keep peace together.  Thus, in fact, the difference in observing the fast establishes the harmony of our common faith.

                                        —St. Irenaeus, Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenaeus, III.

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