Tuesday, May 14, 2013

If only they had Tic Tacs back then

Martin Luther began one of his sermons on 1 Peter 1:15-16 with an illustration of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. I couldn't resist sharing his wisdom in this matter:
Saint Bernard...denied his body so much that his breath stank and he could not associate with people. Later, however, he came to his senses... He realized that he had made himself unable to serve his brothers. ...St. Peter [also] demands no more than that we be sober, that is, that we stint the body as long as we feel that it is still too lascivious. He does not prescribe any definite length of time for fasting as the pope has done; but he leaves it to everyone's discretion to fast in such a way that he always remains sober and does not burden the body with gluttony. He must remain reasonable and sensible, and he must see to what extent it is necessary for him to mortify the body. It does no good at all to impose a command about this on a whole crowd or community, since we are so different from one another.1

1.  Martin Luther, Christian Freedom: Faith working through love [St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2011] p. 98 

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