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Book excerpt: Sermon 206 by Augustine of Hippo

For many Christians, Lent is a period of reflection and of looking outward to help others.

For non-Christians, Lent can be mysterious and off-putting. Why fast on Ash Wednesday? Why not eat meat on Friday?

Augustine of Hippo (354 A.D. – 430 A.D.) was Bishop of Hippo Regius in Roman North Africa. Here is an excerpt from his Sermon 206 on actions Christians are called to perform always, but most especially during Lent:

In humility and charity, by fasting and giving, by restaining ourselves and pardoning, by paying out good deeds and not paying back bad ones, but turning away from evil and doing good, our prayer seeks peace and obtain it.

Prayer, you see, flies beautifully when it’s supported on wings of such virtues and is in this way more readily wafted through to heaven, where Christ our peace has preceded us.