Tag Archives: St Cyril of Jerusalem

The Twofold Coming of Christ

At this seventh day of Christmas, I am thinking of who it is we preach these days. A piece from Saint Cyril of Jerusalem is helpful to contextualize the question especially we are day before the Octave Day of Christmas: the giving of the Holy Name, the only one that truly saves us. The saint preached:

We do not preach only one coming of Christ, but a second as well, much more glorious than the first. The first coming was marked by patience; the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom.

In general, whatever relates to our Lord Jesus Christ has two aspects. There is a birth from God before the ages, and a birth from a virgin at the fullness of time. There is a hidden coming, like that of rain on fleece, and coming before all eyes, still in the future.

At the first coming He was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. At His second coming He will be clothed in light as in a garment. In the first coming He endured the cross, despising the shame; in the second coming He will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels.

We look then beyond the first first coming and await the second. At the first coming we said: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. At the second we shall it again; we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

St Cyril of Jerusalem

Today, we liturgically honor our father among the saints, Cyril, patriarch of Jerusalem. Cyril was listed as one of the fathers at the Second Ecumenical Council in 381 in Constantinople. He was pastor of the Holy City for nearly half a century, and twice suffered exile. He left a rich legacy in his Catechetical Lectures. He delivered these to those preparing for baptism at Easter and they gave form to the period we now call Lent. They contain a wealth of information about the rite of Baptism and the Eucharistic Liturgy where we find the earliest mention of the invocation of the Holy Spirit. The annual commemoration of Holy Week and Pascha formalized during his rule, thru the natural popularity of pilgrimages to Jerusalem, spread the basic structure of these sacred feasts throughout the entire Church. This is amply evident in the journal of Egeria whose visit occurred soon after Cyril’s death on this day in 386. (t:NS) St Cyril is a Doctor of the Church.

Those who are serious students of the Liturgy, Eastern or Western, have always loved the St Cyril’s work on the sacraments of initiation, among many other things. “Make your fold with the sheep; flee from the wolves: depart not from the Church”. I am grateful for St Cyril of Jerusalem!

Don’t ashamed of the Cross of Christ

cross sacramentaryFriday is a day to recall the Signum Crucis –the sign of the Cross. I am aware that some are not comfortable with crossing one’s self in public for being self-conscious. It is, however, good public witness! We ought not be ashamed of making the sign of the Cross! To be ashamed of the sign of His Cross is to be ashamed of Him!

“Let us, therefore, not be ashamed of the Cross of Christ; but though another hide it, do thou openly seal it upon thy forehead, that the devils may behold the royal sign and flee trembling far away. Make then this sign at eating and drinking, at sitting, at lying down, at rising up, at speaking, at walking: in a word, at every act.” – St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem A.D. 386

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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