ATTO left behind him little claim to greatness except, perhaps, his reputation as a good shepherd of his Episcopal flock. He honored his people by taking his preaching obligation seriously and admonished those of his diocese quietly, simply, and briefly. The themes and treatments characteristic of this age of generally unheroic preaching are here sufficiently in evidence. MPL 134:842-43. The translation of Ne.Mpp. 45-47 is from Cardinal Mai, Scriptorum Veterum Nova Collectio (Rome, 1832), VI, 21.
We trust in the promise of our Lord, beloved brethren, that no terror has oppressed your heart concerning His glorious Resurrection, no doubt has entered your mind; for the fear of the Apostles and the other saints of that time was nourished by the darkness of unbelief. But their weakness was the increase of our perfection. The events which in these last days have been shedding forth their glory, as it were, out of a thick forest, are now preached with perfect clearness. Hence ye may collect that, by how much the more we announce the Passion of the Lord, by so much the more we approach to the celebration of His Resurrection. There are yet six days till we reach the joy of that festival; and the sixth week is now accomplished since I reminded you of the beginning of the fast. Even in these six days, beloved brethren, try to recover your ground, if ye have in any respect failed in the six preceding weeks. It is true that there are certain men who esteem some days of this week — that is, Thursday and Saturday — as entailing a less strict obligation to fast; but this is against the decrees of Canons is not confirmed by the authority of Holy Scripture, and appears to me anything but right. For the nearer we approach our Paschal joy, so much the purer we ought to make ourselves by fasting, by praying, by watching, and by all the works of mercy; and furthermore, to wash out our sins by continual weeping. And if any one thinks that he need not weep for his own sins, at least he ought in these days to sorrow for the sufferings of his Lord. For though He were God before all worlds, coming in the form of a servant, and being spit upon and scourged by wicked men, for their and our salvation, He did not abhor at this time to lay down His life. Let each one of you, my brethren, suffer with Him, carrying His reproach, and lamenting the blindness of those from whom He endured it. He Himself hath said in the Gospel, Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matt. 5:4; D. 5:5). Grief for a little while is now in season, to the end that we may more freely rejoice in the holy Resurrection. The Psalmist also saith, What shall I render to the Lord for all the benefits He hath done unto Me? I will receive the cup of salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord (Ps. 116:12-13; D. 115:12-13). By the cup we may understand both open persecution and hidden sorrow, which in 116 some way or other must be tasted by every Christian. Let us prepare ourselves, therefore, beloved, for the coming festival, to which the Lord grant us to attain in a worthy manner. Let us, then, rejoice, not in delicacy of good living, but by sending before us the works of justice and equity. For it is better to make three middling shirts, with which you may clothe both yourself and the poor of Christ, than if you were to make one of very precious materials for yourself. And it is better to have simple food prepared, by which you may entertain a number of the needy at your table, than if you were to spend a large sum of money on delicious food, and live riotously with your own family, while the poor of Christ were suffering and perishing with cold and nakedness in your presence. For blessed John the Apostle saith, Whoso hath this world’s goods, and seeth his brother have need, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (I John 3:17). Fly, therefore, avarice, and love charity, without which no man shall merit to behold God. Love, peace, and joy, be with you for ever; which He vouchsafe to bestow on you, Whose kingdom [is without end. Amen.]