The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for the ‘St Cyril’s catechesis’ Category

St Cyril of Jerusalem on Matthew 22:1-14 (From his Proto-Catechesis)

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 21, 2012

Having warned his listeners not to approach the their baptismal instructions-and, by implication, their baptism- out of mere curiousity (section 2), the Saint now tells the story of  a guest who shows  up to a wedding feast in unseemly dress and with bad manners.   He is clearly adopting and adapting Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast from Matthew 22:1-14.

SECTION 3
Text in red are my additions. My notes follow.

A certain man in the Gospel once pried into the marriage feast, and took an unbecoming garment, and came in, and sat down, and ate: for the bridegroom permitted it.  But when he (the guest) saw them all clad in white, he ought to have assumed a garment of the same kind himself; for like the others he partook of the food but was unlike them in fashion and purpose.  The bridegroom, however, though bountiful, was not undiscerning; and in going round to each of the guests and observing them (for his care was not with their eating, but for their seemly behavior), he saw a stranger not having on a wedding garment, and said to him, “friend, how is it you came in looking like that?  In that color!  With what a conscience!  True, the door-keeper did not forbid you entrance because of my bounty; but were you ignorant of what fashion to wear to a wedding feast?  When you came in and beheld the glorious raiment of the guests, should this not have been a lesson to you?  Should you not have receded in good taste so as to return in good taste? (i.e. you should have gone home and changed, then re-presented yourself) But since you have come here and stayed without taste, tastelessly you shall be cast out.”  And so the Bridegroom ordered the servants to bind the feet he used to intrude; and to bind the hands he refused to use to put on fine garments; and he ordered him cast headlong into the outer darkness, for he was unworthy of the wedding torches.  Seeing, then, what happened to that man, make your own condition safe.

NOTES

The bountiful bridegroom.  The description of the bridegroom as bountiful or benefiecent was no doubt meant to recall to the listeners minds what was said in section 1: “For he does not lie who said, “to them that love God all things work together for good.” God is lavish in beneficence, yet he waits for each man’s genuine will…”  The saint clearly wants us to see the wedding guest as not acting with a good will.  “Like the others he partook of the food but was unlike them in fashion and purpose.”  The food  no doubt represents the instructions they are receiving.  Proper attire symbolizes the good will or purpose the saint had praised them for in section 1, and exhorted them to maintain in section 2.

 (The bridegroom went) round to each of the guests and observing them (for his care was not with their eating, but for their seemly behavior), he saw a stranger not having on a wedding garment, and said to him, “friend, how is it you came in looking like that?  In that color!  With what a conscience!  The watchful bridegroom who notices the man’s slovenly appearance and recognizes it as bad conscience calls to mind the warning at the end of section 2:  You must not tempt God’s grace so that no bitter root grow up and cause trouble. Let none of you come in saying, ‘let us see what the faithful are doing; let me go in and see, that I may leaarn what is being done.’ Do you expect to see and yet not be seen? Do you think that while you search out what is going on, God is not searching your heart?  

Should you not have receded in good taste so as to return in good taste? (i.e. you should have gone home and changed, then represented yourself) But since you have come here and stayed without taste, tastelessly you shall be cast out.  Normally, a bridegroom would not cast an invited guest out of his wedding feast, but should an inconsiderate guest expect considerations from the man who invited him? “the measure with whcih you measure shall be measured out to you.” (Mt 7:2).   Notice that the feet with which the guest walked in with, and the hands he refused to dress himself properly with, are bound.

he ordered him cast headlong into the outer darkness, for he was unworthy of the wedding torches.  Possibly an allusion to the parable of the ten virgins (Mt 25:1-13).  As noted at the beginning, the saint is making use of the parable of the wedding feast from Matthew 22:1-14.  This use of scripture as a warning reminds us of what was said earlier by the saint in relation to what happened to Simon Magus:  I make reference and indict this man for his fall so that you may not fall. Things such as this happen to serve as an example to you, and were written down as an admonition for those who would draw near (i.e. to baptism).

SECTION 4

For we, the ministers of Christ, (the bridegroom of section 3) have admitted everyone, and occupying, as it were, the place of door-keepers we left the door open: and possibly you did enter with your soul stained by sin, and with your will defiled. You entered, and were allowed to do so, and your name was inscribed (like a guest’s name in a wedding book). Answer me this, do you not see the venerable constitution of the Church? Do you not view her order and discipline, the reading of the Scriptures, the presence of the ordained, the course of instruction? Be ashamed at the place, andbe taught by what you see. It is appropriate that you go out now, and even more appropriately return tomorrow.

If your soul is dressed in avarice, put on a different garment and come in. Put off your former garment. Continue not to cloak yourself in it. I beg of you, strip off your garments of fornication and uncleanness, and don the glorious robe of chastity. This charge I give you, before Jesus the Bridegroom of souls come in and see what fashion they (those espoused to Christ) wear. A long period of preparation has been given to you; you have forty days of repentance; you have full time then to put off (their old garments) and wash up, and then put on (their new garments of repentance) so as to enter in (i.e. to the wedding feast, their union with Christ in baptism). But if you persist in your evil intentions (a hypocritical conversion lacking repentance) the speaker (St. Cyril) is blameless, but you must not look for the grace; for though the water will receive you, the holy spirit will not accept you. If anyone of you is conscious of a wound, then take the salve; if any of you have fallen, then rise up. Let there be no Simon among you, no hypocrisy, no idle curiosity concerning this matter.

NOTES

Concerning the garment imagery see (or recall) the parable St. Cyril gave in section 3. As we saw in our notes on that section, St. Cyril’s image was heavily dependent on the parable of the wedding feast Jesus spoke in Matt 22:1-14. In the present section, the garment imagery from section 3 is combined with allusions to Col 3:8-10 (see the text and corresponding footnote.See also Eph 4:22-24)

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Cyril's catechesis | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

This Weeks Posts: Sunday August 1-Saturday August 7

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 7, 2010

Some posts are prepared in advance and will become available only at the time indicated.  All time references are to Eastern Standard Time.

Sunday August 1:

Last weeks posts. In case you missed anything.

Resources for Sunday Mass, August 1. Some posts listed here are also found in the above link.

Catholic Scripture Forum.

The Divine Office for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Evening Prayer 1). Sets the major theme(s) of the Psalms, Canticle, and Scripture reading. Provides commentary.

Bishop MacEvily on Colossians 1:2b-6aThese notes are linked to in the above post on the Divine Office.  The numbering of the Douay-Rheims translation is a bit different from that of the NAB.  In the former translation the reference is 1:3-6a.

My 2,000 Post! WOO HOO!!!Save your accolades, send cash.  Oh, wait, accolades are probably worth more these days.

The Divine Office for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Morning Prayer). With some commentary.

The Divine Office, Midmorning Reading with Commentary.

The Divine Office for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Evening Prayer). With some commentary.

The Divine Office for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (office of readings). With some commentary.

Monday August 2:

Bishop MacEvily on Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19 for Sunday Mass (August 8). 1:10 AM.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 12: 32-48 for Sunday Mass (August 8). 1:20 AM.

Office of Readings for Monday, 18th Week in Ordinary Time. 1:25 AM.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 14:13-21). 5:05 AM.

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (Matt 14:13-21). 5:45 AM.

Juan de Maldonado on Today’s Gospel (Matt 14:13-21) 10:30 AM.

Tuesday August 3: More updates coming (mostly political).

Post 1. St John Chrysostom on Hebrews 11:1-2 for Sunday Mass (August 8) 1:15 AM. This is the first of four homilies encompassing the second reading, Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19.  See next link for today and the first two links under Wednesday.

Post 2. St John Chrysostom on Hebrews 11:8-12 for Sunday Mass (August 8). 1:20 AM.  I’ve included the Saint’s comments on verse 7.

Cornelius a Lpaide on Luke 12:32-48 for Sunday Mass (August 8). 1:30 AM.

Commentary on the Office of Readings for the Day. 5:00 AM.

Father Callan on Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-11 for Sunday Mass (August 8). 5:10 AM.

The Obama/Democrat Policy of Blame Bush Has Run It Course.

Busting Media Myth: The Bush Tax Cuts Did Work.


Wednesday August 4: More updates coming.

Post 3. St John Chrysostom on Hebrews 11:13-17 for Sunday Mass (August 8) 1:45 AM.

Post 4. St John Chrysostom on Hebrews 11:18-19 for Sunday Mass (August 8). 2:00 AM.

Aquinas Catena Aurea for Today’s Gospel (Matt 15:21-28).

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (Matt 15:21-28).

Latin Mass: Cornelius a Lapide on 1 Corinthians 15:1-10 for Sunday Mass, August 8. 12:05 AM.

Latin Mass: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 7:31-37 for Sunday Mass, August 8. 12:20 AM.

Latin Mass: Bernardin de Piconio on 1 Corinthians 15:1-10 for Sunday Mass, August 8. 2:30 AM.

Thursday August 5:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!

Aquinas Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 16:13-23). 1:10 AM.

Juan de Maldonado on Today’s Gospel (Matt 16:13-23). 1:20 AM.

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 8:18-27. 5:30 AM.

Feast of the Transfiguration: Bishop MacEvily on 2 Peter 1:16-19. I’ve posted Friday’s readings for the transfiguration early for those who may wish to prepare for the Feast early, or who are attending the vigil.

Juan de Maldonado on the Transfiguration. See previous note.

Divine Office: The Office of Readings for the Feast of the Transfiguration . Contains links to the Psalms used, commentary on the Psalms by Pope John Paul II, a commentary on the first reading (2 Cor 3:7-4:6) and the text of the second reading by St Anastasius.

Rosary Saves Soldier’s Life, Just As It Did His Great Grandfather’s Life In WW II.

Friday August 6: If you’re looking for commentary on the readings for the Feast of the Transfiguration please see under Thursday.

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 8:28-39.

Saturday August 7:

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 9:1-13.

.

.

.

Posted in BENEDICT XVI CATECHESIS, Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Divine Office, Documents of Benedict XVI, Eucharist, fathers of the church, John Paul II Catechesis, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on 1 Corinthians, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on Mark, Notes on Matthew, Notes on Romans, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture, St Cyril's catechesis, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

My Notes On The Protocatechesis of St Cyril (Sections 7-8)

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 10, 2008

Section 7:

The bath of Baptism we may not receive twice or thrice; else, it might be said, “Though I fail once, I shall go right next time;” whereas if thou failest once, there is no setting things right, for there is One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism (see Eph 4:1-6). None but heretics are re-baptized, since their former baptism was not baptism.

Notes:

This section continues the major theme of this lecture, which as I noted in my notes on section 1 is found in the words of Cyril: “He (God) looks for each man’s honest resolve…Honesty of purpose makes thee called: for though the body be here, yet if the mind be away, it avails nothing.” A man who acts in a good (but not right) conscience and receives baptism in a heretical sect is in a far better position than a man who in evil conscience receives baptism into the true Church. The former is a victim of error, the latter is a perpetrator of sacrilege.

St Cyril appeals to Eph 4:5 in the above quote, but I referenced the broader context. By accepting Baptism, Christians are responding to God’s gracious call to a new life; therefore, their response must be genuine, not feigned. For this reason St Paul begins his moral exhortation in Ephesians 4:1-6:20 with these words: “…live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (RSV). As St Cyril warned in the previous section (#6) “But beware lest with the name of believer thou have the purpose of an unbeliever.”

Section 8:

For God seeks nothing else from us, save a good purpose. Say not, “How are my sins blotted out?” I answer thee, from willing, from believing; what is shorter than this? ut if thy lips declare thy willing, but thy heart is silent, He (God) knows the heart who judgeth thee. Cease then henceforth from every wicked thing: refrain thy tongue from light words, thine eye from sin, thy mind from roving after useless matters.

Notes:

Refrain thy tongue…thine eye…thy mind Concerning sins of the tongue see James 3:1-12; Matt 5:22, 33-37. And consider this exhortation of Origen’s “Let us therefore take away abominations out of the mouth, removing slanders, words vain, idle, and about to bring accusation against us in the Day of Judgment.” -Homily #5 on Jeremiah

Concerning sins of the eye see Matt 5:27-30; 6:22-23. Concerning sins of the mind see Eph 4:17-19; Romans 1:18-23.

Posted in Catechetical Resources, St Cyril's catechesis | Leave a Comment »

The Protocatechesis of St Cyril (Section 6)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 22, 2008

This article is pretty straight-forward, therefore I will be commenting on it very briefly. To Read the five previous articles of the lecture, and my notes on them, click on the words “Catechetical Lecture” under this blog’s title.

6. Look, I beseech thee, how great a dignity Jesus presents to thee. Thou wert called a Catechumen, which means, hearing with the ears, hearing hope, and not perceiving; hearing mysteries, yet not understanding: hearing Scriptures, yet not knowing their depth. Thou no longer hearest with the ears, but thou hearest within; for the indwelling Spirit henceforth fashions thy mind into a house of God. When thou shalt hear what is written concerning mysteries, then thou shalt understand, what thou knewset not. Amd think not it is a trifle thou receivest. Thou, a wretched man, receivist the Name of God; for hear the words of Paul, God is faithful (1 Cor 9:1); and another Scripture, God is faithful and just (1 Jn 1:9). This the Psalmist foreseeing since men were to receive the Name ascribed to God, said in the person of God, I have said, ye are Gods, and are all the children of the Most High (Ps 82:6). But beware lest with the name of believer thou have the purpose of an unbeliever. Thou hast entered into the struggle; labor therefore in the race, for season thou hast no other. If thou hadst thy wedding day before thee, wouldest thou make light of aught besides, and be full of preparations for the feast? And wilt thou not then, when on the eve of consecrating thy soul to a heavenly spouse, let go carnal things that thou mayest take hold of spiritual?

NOTES: Section 6 of the Protocatechesis continues the dominant theme of the lecture, namely honesty of purpose, the need to receive baptism with integrity of purpose

Thou wert called a Catechumen, which means, hearing. The Greek word katechein means to teach by word of mouth, and is derived from a word meaning to echo, thus implying something that is heard.

When thou shalt hear what is written concerning mysteries, then thou shalt understand. The Scripture was meant to be taught, it was not given so that every man could become his own teacher (see 1 Tim 4:6-16; 2 Tim 3:10-4:5; ).

Thou hast entered into the struggle; labor therefore in the race, for season thou hast no other. Struggle, labor, and race are common terms in the NT for designating perseverance in the Christian way of life. Season here means opportune time. This time the people must not squander-a point the saint has made before and will again in article 7.

If thou hadst thy wedding day before thee, wouldest thou make light of aught besides, and be full of preparations for the feast? Any decent person would put off all other things to prepare for his/her wedding. In article 3 the saint had used the parable of the wedding feast from Matthew’s Gospel 22:1-14, to great effect. There the unprepared wedding guest was thrown out and the saint warned: Seeing, then, what happened to that man, make your own condition safe. In article 4 the catechumens are told to come into the wedding hall and see what the spouse of Christ (the baptized) wear and to imitate their “dress”: If your soul is dressed in avarice, put on a different garment and come in. Put off your former garment. Continue not to cloak yourself in it. I beg of you, strip off your garments of fornication and uncleanness, and don the glorious robe of chastity. This charge I give you, before Jesus the Bridegroom of souls come in and see what fashion they (those espoused to Christ) wear.

When studying the Catechetical Lectures one should pay close attention to the repeated use of images and themes.

Posted in Quotes, St Cyril's catechesis | Leave a Comment »

My Notes On The Protocatechesis of St Cyril (Section 1)

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 10, 2007

Note1: Placing your mouse on the blue links (without clicking) will cause a pop-up box to appear with the cited text according to the Douay-Rheims translation. You can then view the text in other versions. Red/orange links must be clicked on.

Note 2: I originally posted this in April of last year and am re-posting it today. Other notes on the Protocatechesis can be found by clicking the link “Catechetical Lectures” found under this blogs header. I hope to resume posting on this work in the near future.

Please vote for this post on Pickafig

1. Already there is an odor of blessedness upon you, O you who are soon to be enlightened; already you are gathering the spiritual flowers, to weave heavenly crowns; already the fragrance of the Holy Spirit has breathed upon you; already you have gathered round the vestibule of the king’s palace; May you be led in also by the King! For blossoms have now appeared upon the trees; may the fruit also be found perfect! Thus far there has been an inscription of your names, and a call to service, and torches of the bridal train, and a longing for heavenly citizenship, and a good purpose, and hope attendant thereon. For he does not lie who said, “that to them that love God all things work together for good.” God is lavish in beneficence, yet he waits for each man’s genuine will: therefore the Apostle added and said, “to them that are called according to his purpose. The honesty of purpose makes you called: for if your body be here but not your mind, it profits you nothing.

NOTES

Already there is an odor of blessedness upon you, O you who are soon to be enlightened. The odor the saint is referring to is the blessings of baptism. Though they have not yet been “enlightened” (i.e. baptized) the blessing of baptism is said to surround them like a ladies fine perfume because the have made it through the initial stages of the catechumenate and are preparing for the 40 day test of Lent. Perhaps the blessing spoken of here is akin to that of the baptism of desire, for already they have gathered round the vestibule of the King’s palace, but they have not yet entered it; blossoms have appeared upon the trees, but not yet the fruit; and “to them that love God all things work together for good,” so it follows that those who have honesty of purpose, in both mind and heart, are called according to his purpose. This last statement sums up the dominant theme of the protocatechesis.

Enlightened: In the early Church this word was often associated with baptism. The story of the man born blind whom Jesus healed by sending him to wash in the pool of Siloam is often associated with this theme (see John 9:1-41, and note the themes of Jesus as light of the world and of the blindness of the pharisees).

The holy spirit has breathed upon you. Perhaps an allusion to God breathing into Adam’s nostrils to give him life (Gen 2:7; see also Jn 20:22).

You have gathered round the vestibule of the King’s palace; may you be led in also by the King! An image perhaps suggested by Psalm 45:11-16.

For blossoms have now appeared on the trees; may the fruit also be found perfect! Perhaps suggested by Mark 13:28, or its parallels. Perhaps there is an allusion here to Matt 3:8-10. Concerning this passage I posted the following note in my Notes on Matthew 3:1-12

The Greek word poieo (bring forth) is sometimes used as a synonym for fruit karpos. Essentially, what the Baptist is saying is :Produce something productive. See Isaiah’s famous Song of the Vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7) See also Hosea 10:1-2,12-13. God expected fruit from Israel but seldom got it (Hosea 9:16) The man who turns away from God (recall repentance means a turning back to God) shows a lack of wisdom, and is like a barren bush in the desert (see Jeremiah 17:5-10).

Thus far there has been an inscription of your names… perhaps an allusion to passages such as Rev 13:8; 17:8; or Daniel 12:1.

torches of the bridal train.. Perhaps an allusion to the ten virgins parable of Matt 25:1-13.

Posted in fathers of the church, St Cyril's catechesis | 1 Comment »

The Protocatechesis of St Cyril (Section 5)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 7, 2007

Section 5 of the Protocatechesis continues the dominant theme of  the lecture, namely honesty of purpose, the need to receive baptism with integrity of purpose.  The section is short and rather straight-forward and so my notes will be few.  Cyril’s text is in bold type and my notes in italics. 

Possibly you have come on another pretext.  It is possible that a man is here wishing to court a woman; or likewise, a woman is here for the purpose of gaining a man.

Many Christian parents did not allow their children to marry pagans.  In one of his sermons on Psalm 119 St Ambrose mentions that some Pagans became Christian on a pretext, their motivation not really being salvation but marriage to the Christian they loved.  This seems to be the problem St Cyril has in mind.

  A slave also perhaps wishes to please his master (see Eph 6:5-9), and a friend his friend.  I accept this bait for the hook, and welcome thee, thou you came with an evil purpose, yet as one to be saved by a good hope.  

Though they have come for the wrong reasons the Saint nonetheless welcomes them, seeing it as an opportunity to save them.

Perhaps you did not now where you were coming, nor in what kind of net you were taken.  You have come into the Church’s nets to be taken alive (see Mt 4:18-20 and 13:47), for you must die and rise again (see Rom 6:4).  You have heard the Apostle say, “Dead unto sin, but living unto righteousness.” (see Rom 6:11-14)  Die to your sins and live to righteousness, live from this very day.

Posted in fathers of the church, St Cyril's catechesis | Leave a Comment »

The Protocatechesis of St Cyril (Section 4)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 29, 2007

Section four of St Cyril’s Protocatechesis builds upon the themes introduced in section three; therefore I will be giving few if any notes.

For we, the ministers of Christ, (the bridegroom of section 3) have admitted everyone, and occupying, as it were, the place of door-keepers we left the door open: and possibly you did enter with your soul stained by sin, and with your will defiled. You entered, and were allowed to do so, and your name was inscribed (like a guest’s name in a wedding book). Answer me this, do you not see the venerable constitution of the Church? Do you not view her order and discipline, the reading of the Scriptures, the presence of the ordained, the course of instruction? Be ashamed at the place, andbe taught by what you see. It is appropriate that you go out now, and even more appropriately return tomorrow.

If your soul is dressed in avarice, put on a different garment and come in. Put off your former garment. Continue not to cloak yourself in it. I beg of you, strip off your garments of fornication and uncleanness, and don the glorious robe of chastity. This charge I give you, before Jesus the Bridegroom of souls come in and see what fashion they (those espoused to Christ) wear. A long period of preparation has been given to you; you have forty days of repentance; you have full time then to put off (their old garments) and wash up, and then put on (their new garments of repentance) so as to enter in (i.e. to the wedding feast, their union with Christ in baptism). But if you persist in your evil intentions (a hypocritical conversion lacking repentance) the speaker (St. Cyril) is blameless, but you must not look for the grace; for though the water will receive you, the holy spirit will not accept you. If anyone of you is conscious of a wound, then take the salve; if any of you have fallen, then rise up. Let there be no Simon among you, no hypocrisy, no idle curiosity concerning this matter.

NOTES

Concerning the garment imagery see (or recall) the parable St. Cyril gave in section 3. As we saw in our notes on that section, St. Cyril’s image was heavily dependent on the parable of the wedding feast Jesus spoke in Matt 22:1-14. In the present section, the garment imagery from section 3 is combined with allusions to Col 3:8-10 (see the text and corresponding footnote. See also Eph 4:22-24)

Posted in fathers of the church, St Cyril's catechesis | Leave a Comment »

The Protocatechesis of St Cyril (Section 3)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 23, 2007

To see previous posts click on St Cyril’s Catechesis in the categories box.

Having warned his listeners not to approach the their baptismal instructions-and, by implication, their baptism- out of mere curiousity (section 2), the Saint now tells the story of  a guest who shows  up to a wedding feast in unseemly dress and with bad manners.   He is clearly adopting and adapting Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast from Matthew 22:1-14.

A certain man in the Gospel once pried into the marriage feast, and took an unbecoming garment, and came in, and sat down, and ate: for the bridegroom permitted it.  But when he (the guest) saw them all clad in white, he ought to have assumed a garment of the same kind himself; for like the others he partook of the food but was unlike them in fashion and purpose.  The bridegroom, however, though bountiful, was not undiscerning; and in going round to each of the guests and observing them (for his care was not with their eating, but for their seemly behavior), he saw a stranger not having on a wedding garment, and said to him, “friend, how is it you came in looking like that?  In that color!  With what a conscience!  True, the door-keeper did not forbid you entrance because of my bounty; but were you ignorant of what fashion to wear to a wedding feast?  When you came in and beheld the glorious raiment of the guests, should this not have been a lesson to you?  Should you not have receded in good taste so as to return in good taste? (i.e. you should have gone home and changed, then represented yourself) But since you have come here and stayed without taste, tastelessly you shall be cast out.”  And so the Bridegroom ordered the servants to bind the feet he used to intrude; and to bind the hands he refused to use to put on fine garments; and he ordered him cast headlong into the outer darkness, for he was unworthy of the wedding torches.  Seeing, then, what happened to that man, make your own condition safe.

NOTES

The bountiful bridegroom.  The description of the bridegroom as bountiful or benefiecent was no doubt meant to recall to the listeners minds what was said in section 1: “For he does not lie who said, “to them that love God all things work together for good.” God is lavish in beneficence, yet he waits for each man’s genuine will…”  The saint clearly wants us to see the wedding guest as not acting with a good will.  “Like the others he partook of the food but was unlike them in fashion and purpose.”  The food  no doubt represents the instructions they are receiving.  Proper attire symbolizes the good will or purpose the saint had praised them for in section 1, and exhorted them to maintain in section 2.

 (The bridegroom went) round to each of the guests and observing them (for his care was not with their eating, but for their seemly behavior), he saw a stranger not having on a wedding garment, and said to him, “friend, how is it you came in looking like that?  In that color!  With what a conscience!  The watchful bridegroom who notices the man’s slovenly appearance and recognizes it as bad conscience calls to mind the warning at the end of section 2:  You must not tempt God’s grace so that no bitter root grow up and cause trouble. Let none of you come in saying, ‘let us see what the faithful are doing; let me go in and see, that I may leaarn what is being done.’ Do you expect to see and yet not be seen? Do you think that while you search out what is going on, God is not searching your heart?  

Should you not have receded in good taste so as to return in good taste? (i.e. you should have gone home and changed, then represented yourself) But since you have come here and stayed without taste, tastelessly you shall be cast out.  Normally, a bridegroom would not cast an invited guest out of his wedding feast, but should an inconsiderate guest expect considerations from the man who invited him? “the measure with whcih you measure shall be measured out to you.” (Mt 7:2).   Notice that the feet with which the guest walked in with, and the hands he refused to dress himself properly with, are bound.

he ordered him cast headlong into the outer darkness, for he was unworthy of the wedding torches.  Possibly an allusion to the parable of the ten virgins (Mt 25:1-13).  As noted at the beginning, the saint is making use of the parable of the wedding feast from Matthew 22:1-14.  This use of scripture as a warning reminds us of what was said earlier by the saint in relation to what happened to Simon Magus:  I make reference and indict this man for his fall so that you may not fall. Things such as this happen to serve as an example to you, and were written down as an admonition for those who would draw near (i.e. to baptism).

Posted in fathers of the church, St Cyril's catechesis | Leave a Comment »

The Protocatechesis of St Cyril (Section 2)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 21, 2007

The purpose of the Protocatechesis (hereafter Pc) was to commend the people for their desire for baptism and to exhort them to maintain this desire and bring it to fruition. At this point it might be well to go back and read section 1 of the Pc. At the very least, one should recall the last sentence of that section: “The honesty of purpose makes you called: for if your body be here but not your mind, it profits you nothing.” Section 2 builds upon this warning by focusing on the figure of Simon Magus.

Did not Simon Magus once approach the laver and have himself baptized without being enlightened? Though he plunged his body into water his heart was not enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Though his body went down and came up again his soul was neither buried with Christ nor raised up with him. I make reference and indict this man for his fall so that you may not fall. Things such as this happen to serve as an example to you, and were written down as an admonition for those who would draw near (i.e. to baptism). You must not tempt God’s grace so that no bitter root grow up and cause trouble. Let none of you come in saying, ‘let us see what the faithful are doing; let me go in and see, that I may leaarn what is being done.’ Do you expect to see and yet not be seen? Do you think that while you search out what is going on, God is not searching your heart?

NOTES

“Did not Simon Magus once approach the laver?” The story of Simon Magus can be read in Acts 8:9-24. He was a Samaritan who became a believer and was baptised but latter fell away. St Cyril seems to suggest (wrongly, I think) that neither his faith or his baptism were on the up and up. In spite of this, the saint’s warnings to his hearers remains valid.

“Though he plunged his body into the water he was not enlightened by the Holy Spirit.” Light often has a spiritual meaning in the NT Jn 1:9; 1 Cor 4:5; 2 Cor 4:4-6; Eph 1:18; 2 Tim 1:10; Heb 6:4 and 10:32. The two passages from Hebrews were instrumental in the application of the term enlightened to baptism.

“Though his body went down and came up again his soul was neither buried with Christ nor raised up with him.” See Romans 6:1-11.

“Things such as this happen to serve as an example to you, and were written down as an admonition for those who would draw near” (i.e. to baptism). The saint is here alluding to 1 Cor 10:1-14; especially verse 11. A somewhat similar idea occurs in Romans 15:1-3.

“No bitter root grow up and cause trouble.” A reference to Hebrews 12:14-17: “See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled; that no one be immoral or irreligious like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.
For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.” (RSV)

“let none of you come in saying…” The saint warns them not to be baptized out of mere curiosity concerning what the faithful are doing.

Posted in fathers of the church, St Cyril's catechesis | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: