In his sermons for Lent, the Fifth Century giant, St. Leo the Great, wrote: “For us it remains necessary to struggle every day against the rust of our earthly nature.” Rust, indeed. It is an apt word because that is what sin is like, rust. It accumulates ever so gradually, sometimes without notice. Left untreated, like rust, it rots and destroys. So does sin.
Mother Church well knows that for the past year, and maybe longer for many of us, we have let the rust that is sin go unaddressed. We all know the signs. Unchecked sensuality leading to impurity; unmortified pride resulting in oversensitivity or self-pity; dread of sacrifice disrupting marriage and family. Lent is a time of grace, for it offers us the chance to see these things for what they are.