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St. Ambrose on Lent 3 – Luke 11:14-28

by pastorjuhl ~ March 22nd, 2011

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest, and not finding.

It cannot be doubted that this was said of the Jewish people, whom in the preceding words the Lord severed from His Kingdom. And from this we are to understand that heretics and schismatics are also severed from the Kingdom of God, and from the Church. And so He makes it clearly evident that every assembly of heretics and schismatics belongs, not to God, but to the unclean spirit. Accordingly, the whole Jewish people is compared to a man from whom, through the Law, an unclean spirit has gone forth.

But because he could find no resting place among the nations and Gentiles, because of their faith in Christ (for Christ is the undoing of the unclean spirits; for He has cooled the fiery darts of the enemy against the hearts of the Gentiles, which before were dry and hard, but which now have begun to be soft from the dew of the Holy Spirit in baptism) he returns to the Jewish people, which had been swept and garnished to a legalistic but superficial cleanness, yet remained ever more stained in its inward soul. For it had not begun either to restrain or to cleanse its fierceness in the sacred stream of baptism. And so not without reason did the unclean spirit return to it; bringing with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; for in this impious purpose he warred against the week of the Law, and the mystery of the eighth day.

Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, Vol. 2, p. 85

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