Council of Trent: Uprooting all sin

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For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16

“Pastors should teach that all kinds of satisfaction are reducible to three heads: prayer, fasting and almsdeeds, which correspond to three kinds of goods which we have received from God, those of the soul, those of the body and what are called external goods.

Nothing can be more effectual in uprooting all sin from the soul than these three kinds of satisfaction. For since whatever is in the world is the [lust] of the flesh, the [lust] of the eyes, and the pride of life, everyone can see that to these three causes of disease are opposed also three remedies. To the first is opposed fasting; to the second, almsdeeds; to the third, prayer.

Moreover, if we consider those whom our sins injure, we shall easily perceive why all kinds of satisfaction are reduced especially to these three. For those (we offend by our sins) are: God, our neighbour and ourselves. God we appease by prayer, our neighbour we satisfy by alms, and ourselves we chastise by fasting.”

The Council of Trent (1545-1563) in “The Catechism of the Council of Trent” (John A. McHugh and Charles J. Callan, 1923) 189.

The Council of Trent drew from the rich legacy of the church. Therein we find quotes from Augustine, Chrysostom, and many other saints in church history.

We also find that fasting, praying, and almsdeeds are presented as three primary practices that minister to our soul and our body. They teach us how to relate to earthly goods and work to uproot all sin from our lives.

Notice that the Council urges pastors to teach this. Pastors, pay attention! Urge prayer so people connect with God. Call for alms to show love of neighbor. Exhort fasting to save us from ourselves.

It is fitting that I quote the Council of Trent today as one of my books that I am giving to some of the seminary leaders today is my most recent ECFA Press book, The Council: A Biblical Perspective on Board Governance.

Thanks for your prayers for fruitful meetings at Asbury Theological Seminary. I arrived late last night so I will try to post a beautiful header photo from Kentucky tomorrow.