St. Cyril of Jerusalem Discussion

Friday, April 21, 2006

XXI & XXIII

Just a couple things that were put from a different perspective than I have heard before.

XXI-2."AS He was annointed with an ideal oil of gladness, that is, with the Holy Ghost, called the oil of gladness, because He is the author of spiritual gladness, so ye were annointed with oitment, having been made partakers and fellows of Christ."
How much author of gladness writing in my life? And why do I expect earthly forgeries to suffice for filling the pages of my life? I love how Cyril points out all these little reminders throughout that put things in a slightly new veiw for me.

XXIII-14.-"So then in effect thou meanest this by thy prayer, 'as in the Angles Thy will is done, so likewise be it done on earth in me, O Lord.'"
Never heard it put like that before. I am not certain what all is implied by this, but it interesting to think of. "Thy will be done as in heaven so on earth" takes on a whole new light for me as it is put as meaning we are to carry out this will, not jsut asking for God to do it. More affirming what we ought to do instead.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

XXIII

I know there are obvious differences between our contemporary evangelical understanding of the Eucharist and Cyril's, however, in Lecture XXIII something he said caught me somewhat off guard.

XXIII.21--In approaching therefore, come not with they wrists extended, or thy fingers spread; but make thy left hand a throne for the right, as for that which is to receive a King. And having hollowed thy palm, receive the Body of Christ, saying over it, Amen.--giving heed lest thou lose any portion thereof; for whatever thou losest, is evidently a loss to thee as it were from one of thine own members. For tell me, if any one gave thee grains of gold, wouldest thou not hold them with all carefulness, being on thy guard against losing any of them, and suffering loss?

I would like to think that our evangelical view, though different from Cyril's, is just as high and respectful as this early theologian's. Yet, I must admit, based solely upon my actions, this is not the case. For instance, when a crumb falls on my slacks or on the pew, I brush that wee little piece of bread onto the ground; I'm sure we've all done this and done so candidly. I kind of feel aweful thinking about it, fearing that it illustrates my overarching care and demeanor towards God's grace in general. The question isn't whether or not I approach God's grace haphazardly, I already know that I do. The real question is whether or not I'm going to stop? Will I continue to brush crumb-blessings onto the floor because I am content with my much larger and satisfying bread-blessings, or, will I do the right thing and consider every bread, crumb, element, etc--to be a good gift from the Lord?

Friday, April 07, 2006

XVIII

paragraph 1-"The root of all good works is th hope of the resurrection...For every labourer is ready to endure the toils, if he sees their reward in prospect; but when men weary themselves for nought, their heart soon sinks as well as their bodies." I fear that often I loose sight of this in my heart. Sure it is easy to say i believe in the resurrection. Yet I do not find that I put much passion behind this claim. And it ought to hold much, for it is something great indeed. I get cought up in so many short term goals that it clutters this longterm sight of hope in the ressurrection. The hope of heaven. And then I wonder why I often feel so unmotivated. Not that I think that doing good things on earth for the sake of individual rewards in heaven is right. For Paul who by that standard ought to be excited for he did much good, instead counts all that at loss in comparisson and forgets what is behind to strain ahead towards the goal. Why does this hope in resurrection not drive me so. I need to keep this in perspective. I ought to spend time meditating on this hope and let it soak into my soul. This passion can be powerful and not tapping into such excitement would be waste. This hope also brings with it a caution, "every soul believing in a resurrection is naturally careful of his robe." This is another aspect that gets lost when heaven gets shoved aside for things of this world. For that all to often, yet never told enough question-if today was the last would my soul be at peace? also has a motivating power that is often unused. I wonder what it will be like. I don't know if one could really feal dissapointed in himself in letting the Father down by not doing good on earth and still recieve heaven. For they would not likely fall under the 'well done my good and faithfull servants.' And i forget where exactly im going, but i just really wanted to point out that i really liked the openning of this lecture and I feel i need to take this hope to heart more than it is now.
Dan

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Lecture XVIII

There are a handful of us who are enrolled in REL410—Life and Legacy of Saint Augustine. In that class we have discussed how the Bishop of Hippo believed that Christian baptism provided purification for all sins beforehand.
In Lecture XVIII Cyril says, “The past wounds therefore of soul and body God heals by Baptism; against future ones let us one and all jointly guard ourselves, that we may keep this vestment of the body pure, and may not for practicing fornication and sensual indulgence or any other sin for a short season, lose the salvation of heaven, but may inherit the eternal kingdom of God;”
I wish that our modern efforts of evangelism would emphasize baptism. I sense that too often it is an after thought; it is discussed as if it has no influence upon our soul and body. If Cyril and Augustine are correct when they say that Christian Baptism removes sins inquired before our submersion in the water and anointing with oil, then many of our evangelistic efforts are tragically disconnected with our respective theological underpinnings.
First, if Baptism truly does remove the past wounds of our soul and body, then why are we holding this blessing and opportunity for healing from future believers? Second, if Baptism truly forces one to acknowledge one’s sin (our past wounds), then how are we certain that individuals might begin to realize the drastic nature their own sins? It would be profitable if we did emphasize why an individual needs to submit themselves to Christian Baptism, in doing so we would truly be handing children good gifts, just as our Lord does.