Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, Fathers of the Church, LENT, Quotes of the Saints, Saint of the Day

LENTEN REFLECTION – The Second Week- Saturday 18 March

LENTEN REFLECTION – The Second Week- Saturday 18 March
St Cyril of Jerusalem,  (315-386)
Father and Doctor of the Church

The symbolic meaning of the sacrament of baptism as sharing in Christ’s passion according to Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop of Jerusalem in the middle of the fourth century and one of the most important sources we have for how the church celebrated the sacraments during that era.  In his Jerusalem Catechesis from which this excerpt comes, St. Cyril instructs new Christians in the days immediately before and after their initiation into the life of the Church at the Easter Vigil.

You were led down to the font of holy baptism just as Christ was taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb which is before your eyes.   Each of you was asked, “Do you believe in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?”   You made the profession of faith that brings salvation, you were plunged into the water and three times you rose again.   This symbolized the three days Christ spent in the tomb.

As our Saviour spent three days and three nights in the depths of the earth, so your first rising from the water represented the first day and your first immersion represented the first night.   At night a man cannot see but in the day he walks in the light.   So when you were immersed in the water it was like night for you and you could not see but when you rose again it was like coming into broad daylight.   In the same instant you died and were born again; the saving water was both your tomb and your mother.

SAT 18 MARCH LENTEN REFLECTION-ST CYRIL ON BAPTISM

 

Solomon’s phrase in another context is very apposite here.   He spoke of a time to give birth and a time to die.   For you, however, it was the reverse: a time to die and a time to be born, although in fact both events took place at the same time and your birth was simultaneous with your death.

This is something amazing and unheard of!    It was not we who actually died, were buried and rose again.   We only did these things symbolically but we have been saved in actual fact.   It is Christ who was crucified, who was buried and who rose again and all this has been attributed to us.   We share in His sufferings symbolically and gain salvation in reality.   What boundless love for men!   Christ’s undefiled hands were pierced by the nails; he suffered the pain.   I experience no pain, no anguish, yet by the share that I have in his sufferings he freely grants me salvation.

Let no one imagine that baptism consists only in the forgiveness of sins and in the grace of adoption.   Our baptism is not like the baptism of John, which conferred only the forgiveness of sins.   We know perfectly well that baptism, besides washing away our sins and bringing us the gift of the Holy Spirit, is a symbol of the sufferings of Christ.   This is why Paul exclaims: Do you not know that when we were baptised into Christ Jesus we were, by that very action, sharing in his death?    By baptism we went with him into the tomb.

These words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem on the symbolic meaning of the sacrament of baptism, a symbol of Christ’s passion, are read in the Roman Catholic liturgy’s Office of Readings on the Thursday in the Octave of Easter (Cat. 21 Mystagogica 3, 1-3 PG 33. 1087-1091) with the accompanying biblical reading of I Peter 3:1-17.

 

 

 

Posted in Morning Prayers, Saint of the Day

Thought for the Day – 18 March

Thought for the Day – 18 March

In times of great turmoil and controversy, it is difficult sometimes to know what is true and what is right and sometimes we have to grope our way along.   We have to follow the truth and give it our full loyalty, at whatever cost.   Sometimes that will mean that we are a majority of one.   That is what truth demands of us!   Those who imagine that the lives of saints are simple and placid, untouched by the vulgar breath of controversy, are rudely shocked by history. Yet, it should be no surprise that saints, indeed all Christians, will experience the same difficulties as their Master. The definition of truth is an endless, complex pursuit, and good men and women have suffered the pain of both controversy and error. Intellectual, emotional and political roadblocks may slow up people like Cyril for a time. But their lives taken as a whole are monuments to honesty and courage.

During this Lenten season, we reflect upon our beliefs and as Easter approaches, we renew our baptismal vows, using the words that Saint Cyril used.
Is our faith strong enough to endure accusation and exile?
How can we commit ourselves more fully to our Lord, our Church and our Creed?

St Cyril of Jerusalem Pray for us!

ST CYRIL of JERUSALEM - MARCH 18

 

Posted in Morning Prayers, Saint of the Day

One Minute Reflection – 18 March

One Minute Reflection – 18 March

You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in clemency and loathe to punish……….Jon 4:2

REFLECTION – “How great is God’s love for men!   Some good men have been found pleasing to God because of years of work.   What they achieved by working for many hours at a task pleasing to God is freely given to you by Jesus in one short hour.   For if you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved and taken up to paradise by Him, just as He brought the thief there.   Do not doubt that this is possible.   After all, He saved the thief on the holy hill of Golgotha because of one hour’s faith; will He not save you too since you have believed? “………… St Cyril of Jersualem (315-386) Father and Doctor of the Church

PRAYER – Merciful Lord, come to my aid quickly in time of despair!   Let me rely on the infinite merits of Your suffering Son, Who died for me.  St Cyril pray for us all that we may always remain true to the Cross of Christ and our Holy Mother Church, amen.

ST CYRIL OF JERUSALEM-AFTER ALL, HE SAVED THE THIEFST CYRIL OF JERUSALEM PRAY FOR US

 

Posted in Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day – 18 March – St Cyril of Jerusalem

Saint of the Day – 18 March – St Cyril of Jerusalem (c 313-386 aged 75) Bishop, Confessor and Father & Doctor of the Church, Theologian, Writer, Preacher, Catechist.

CYRIL

Little is known of his life before he became a bishop.  According to Butler, Cyril was born at or near the city of Jerusalem, and was apparently well-read in both the Church fathers and the pagan philosophers. Cyril was ordained a deacon by Bishop St. Macarius of Jerusalem in about 335 and a priest some eight years later by Bishop St. Maximus. About the end of 350 he succeeded St. Maximus in the See of Jerusalem.    It is not until his exile, historically recorded, that the event of his life are made clear.   During a great depression, Cyril was accused of selling church property to feed the poor and thus exiled.   Theologians and historians agree that his exile had less to do with service to the poor,and more to do with differences in doctrine, failure to conform to the Arian teachings,and continued preaching of the Nicene doctrine.   The Nicene Creed, which we still recite today, is believed to have had its origins in the teachings of Saint Cyril – as per his writings:

“I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten by the Father true God before all ages, God of God, Life of Life, Light of Light, by Whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, and was made man. He was crucified and buried. He rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures, and sat at the right hand of the Father. And He cometh in glory to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end. And in one Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, Who spake by the prophets; and in one baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, and in one holy Catholic Church, and in the resurrection of the body, and in life everlasting.”

Saint Cyril is known for his catechetical writings, including twenty-three homilies he delivered to those preparing for baptism during Lent and then mystagogical reflections for the week after Easter.   In these writings, Cyril clearly outlines the liturgy of the Mass used at that time, including elements we continue celebrating today.   Saint Cyril states a fairly strong doctrine of the Eucharist both in symbolic and realistic terms, addressing transubstantiation of elements and proclaiming the bread and wine received to be the actual body and blood of Christ.   He affirms the true authority of the one Catholic Church, and provides instructions to the newly welcomed regarding how to receive the Holy Eucharist.

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem lived in a time of great strife and conflict within the Church, a time of heresy, faction and political influence which questioned the Divinity of Jesus Christ (known as Arianism).  Saint Cyril, a man of peaceful and conciliatory temperament, opposed this movement, aligning himself with those true to Christ and teaching Nicene doctrine.   For this, he suffered exile multiple times, due to the power and political connections of the Arians at that time.  He finally returned to find Jerusalem torn with heresy, schism and strife, and wracked with crime. Even Saint Gregory of Nyssa, who was sent to help, left in despair.

They both went to the Council of Constantinople, where the amended form of the Nicene Creed was promulgated in 381.   Cyril accepted the word consubstantial–that is, Christ is of the same substance or nature as the Father.   Some said it was an act of repentance but the bishops of the Council praised him as a champion of orthodoxy against the Arians.

Following the eventual acceptance of the Nicene Doctrine, Cyril served the Church with jurisdiction over all of Jerusalem for the last five years of his life.   Ten years after Cyril’s death, the abbess, Lady Etheria, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and wrote that she found a peaceful Christian community.   This was the result of the efforts of Bishop Cyril, who suffered to heal the wounds that Arianism had inflicted on the Church.

Johann Lossaust cyril jerusalem 2

st augustine and st cyril
St Cyril and St Augustine

 

Posted in Saint of the Day

Saints – 18 March

St Cyril of Jerusalem (Optional Memorial)

Bl Aimée-Adèle le Bouteiller
St Alexander of Jerusalem
St Anselm of Lucca the Younger
St Braulio of Saragossa
Bl Celestine of the Mother of God
Bl Christian O’Conarchy
St Edward the Martyr
St Egbert of Ripon
St Eucarpius of Nicomedia
St Felix of Gerona
St Finan of Aberdeen
St Frigidian of Lucca
Bl John Thules
St Leobard of Tours
St Narcissus of Gerona
Bl Roger Wrenno
St Salvator of Horta
St Trophimus of Nicomedia

Martyrs of Nicomedia – Commemorates the Christians who were martyred anonymously, either singly and in small groups, by local pagans in the area of Nicomedia prior to the year 300 and who may have been over-looked in the waves of Diocletian persecutions that resulted in the deaths of thousands.

Posted in LENT, Saint of the Day

LENTEN REFLECTION – The Second Week- Friday 17 March

LENTEN REFLECTION – The Second Week- Friday 17 March

LENTEN REFLECTION FRIDAY 17 MARCH

On the Memorial of St Patrick, there can be few better reflections than the complete Prayer/Hymn of the Breastplate.   St. Patrick came to Ireland and showed all of them the way to the truth of God.   He preached the Good News of God to them and called them to repent their past sins and wickedness.   St. Patrick taught them the truth about God, including what is now famous as his symbol of the Holy Trinity, the three-leaf clover.   He taught them how God is a perfect and loving union of three Divine Persons, of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as inseparable as the three-leaf clover’s parts from each other.

And God Who is perfect in Love, and Who is indeed Love, wants to share that love with all of us His people.  That is exactly why He has given us His commandments, His laws and ways and Jesus His Son to be our salvation from the darkness, by bringing us into the light of His new world and life filled with love and grace, no longer with greed, evil, wickedness, ego and all other human ambitions and vileness.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate (also known as The Deer Cry-see the reason below)

St. Patrick of Ireland, 387-460 AD

(translation by Cecil Frances Alexander)

This Celtic hymn, which dates from the late seventh or early eighth century, is ascribed to St. Patrick. It reflects many of the themes found in Patrick’s thought. It is believed that Patrick wrote this hymn as a breastplate of faith for the protection of body and soul against all forms of evil – devils, vice and the evil which humans perpetrate against one another. Legend has it that the High King of Tara, Loeguire, on Holy Saturday 433 AD, resolved to ambush and kill Patrick and his monks to prevent them from spreading the Christian faith in his kingdom. As Patrick and his followers approached singing this hymn, the king and his men saw only a herd of wild deer and let them pass by. This hymn is both a prayer and statement of faith to be recited for protection, arming oneself for spiritual battle, leading us all to reflect upon the power of God in our lives, the strength of His protection and the way we are go on towards our heavenly home.

I bind unto myself today
the strong name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
his baptism in the Jordan River;
his death on cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spiced tomb;
his riding up the heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet “Well done” in judgment hour;
the service of the seraphim;
confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,
the patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls;
all good deeds done unto the Lord,
and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.
[Against the demon snares of sin,
the vice that gives temptation force,
the natural lusts that war within,
the hostile men that mar my course;
of few or many, far or nigh,
in every place, and in all hours
against their fierce hostility,

I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
against false words of heresy,
against the knowledge that defiles
against the heart’s idolatry,
against the wizard’s evil craft,
against the death-wound and the burning
the choking wave and poisoned shaft,
protect me, Christ, till thy returning.]

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the name,
the strong name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three,
of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the Lord of my salvation:
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

st-patricks-day-prayer

ST PATRICK PRAY FOR US 2

 

Posted in Morning Prayers, Saint of the Day

Thought for the Day – 17 March

Thought for the Day – 17 March

The amazing influence of one man!   How do you teach a classroom that’s as big as a whole country?    How do you teach a whole country about God?   St. Patrick’s classroom was the whole country of Ireland and his lesson was the good news of Jesus Christ.  ow in the world did he do it?    Well, it was only possible because he depended totally on God.   But letting God give him strength and direction didn’t always come naturally to St. Patrick.   That was a lesson the Lord had to teach him.  And he didn’t get to learn it from understanding, gentle teachers in a comfortable classroom.   He learned it from a band of thieving, roving pirates.   But when he learned he learned it perfectly and he became the most wondrously hardworking, untiring apostle for Christ.   When one considers the state of Ireland when he began his mission work, the vast extent of his labours and how the seeds he planted which continued to grow and flourish – making Ireland one of the greatest Catholic countries in history, which itself proceeded to evangelise the whole world, one can only admire the kind of man Patrick must have been.   We have no way of knowing the fruits of our own lives or how many people our lives may touch.   And this is power of holiness – it endures forever!

St Patrick please pray for us.

ST5 Patrick PRAY FOR USST PATRICK - MARCH 17