Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wisdom from… [15 Apr]

ST CYRIL OF JERUSALEM (316–386): The oil: Christ's gift

The oil of gladness with which Christ was anointed was a spiritual oil; it was in fact the Holy Spirit himself, who is called the oil of gladness because he is the source of spiritual joy. But you also have been anointed with oil, and by this anointing you have entered into fellowship with Christ and have received a share in his life. Beware of thinking of this chrism as merely ordinary oil. As the Eucharistic bread after the invocation of the Holy Spirit is no longer ordinary bread but the body of Christ, so also the oil after the invocation is no longer plain ordinary oil but Christ's gift which by the presence of his divinity becomes the instrument through which you receive the Holy Spirit. While symbolically, on your foreheads and organs of sense, your bodies are anointed with this oil that we see, your souls are sanctified by the holy and life-giving Spirit.
(Cat. 21, Mystagogica 3, 1-2: PG 33, 1087-1091.)

Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, has left us a precious legacy of twenty-four catechetical sermons.

I long for the oil of gladness, the spirit of joy! Lord, free me from my oily ungladness!

ST AUGUSTINE: Christ Died That You May Live

For you Christ allowed himself to be crucified, to teach you humility. He was alive, and you were dead. He died that you might live. God vanquished death so that death might not overcome human beings.
-- Sermon on John 2, 4; 14, 13

Prayer. Death, where is your strife? Death, where is your sting? Lord, you were struck, wounded, and cast down; but you were wounded for me, you who made me. Death, O Death, he who made me was wounded for me, and by his own death he conquered you.
-- Sermon 128, 10


Suppose the Lord gave us a choice between good health and sickness. Let us suppose He said to us: "If you choose good health, I will not deprive you of a single measure of my grace. If instead you choose sickness, I will not give you any extra graces. Nevertheless, in choosing sickness you will be just a little closer to my will in your regard." A soul perfectly abandoned to God would without fail choose sickness rather than good health, in order to be a little more pleasing to God. Abandonment to God's will is the virtue of virtues!
(Spiritual Treatises, II; O. VI, p. 25)


THE women were of the kind vaguely called emancipated, and professed some protest against male supremacy. Yet these new women would always pay to a man the extraordinary compliment which no ordinary woman ever pays to him––that of listening while he is talking.
('The Man who was Thursday.')

In another place, Chesterton makes this point by saying, "A generation of women stood up demanding to be heard and quickly sat down to be stenographers."

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