"Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation"

Source: St. Isidore Church & Priory

This Third Sunday of Lent we are reminded of the importance of purity, both of mind and body, by referencing the words of St. Paul.

The Station today is made at St. Laurence-without-the-Walls, one of the five patriarchal basilicas of Rome, where are buried the bodies of the two deacons Laurence and Stephen. In the Collect for St. Laurence's feast (August 10), we pray that the flame of our sins may be quenched within us as the saint overcame the fire of his torments; while in that for St. Stephen's Day, we undertake to love our enemies like this saint who prayed for his persecutors. 

Jesus, the blessed Virgin's Son, is in the highest degree the model of virginal purity; and in today's Gospel we see Him contending in a special way with the unclean spirit; for so do St. Matthew and St. Luke describe the devil whom our Lord cast out of the dumb man by the finger of God, that is by the Holy Ghost. So does the Church drive out the same unclean spirit from the souls of the newly baptized. Lent was a time of preparation for Baptism and in administering this sacrament the priest breathes three times on the person to be baptized with the words: "Go out of the child, unclean spirit, and give place to the Holy Ghost." St. Bede in his commentary on this Gospel says; "What then took place visibly is every day accomplished invisibly, in the conversion of those who become believers. First the devil is driven out of their soul, then they perceive the light of faith; and finally their mouth, until then dumb, opens to praise God" (Matins). 

In the same sense in today's Epistle St. Paul says; "No fornicator or unclean or covetous person ... hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Fornication and all uncleanness, let it not so much as be named among you." And it is especially at this season of combat against Satan that we must imitate Christ […] .