Anyone who is a slave to sin should prepare himself for true regeneration by means of faith. He must shake the yoke of sin off his back and enter the joyful service of the Lord. He will be thought worthy to inherit the kingdom.
Don’t hesitate to declare yourself sinners. Thereby you will be put off your old humanity that was corrupt because it followed the bait of error. And you will put on the new humanity, the humanity newly clad in intimacy with the creator.
The regeneration of which I am speaking is not the rebirth of the body, but the second birth of the soul. Bodies are procreated by the father and mother, but souls are recreated by means of faith, since the Spirit blows where it will. [John 3:8]
God is kind and he is kind to an immeasurable extent.
Don’t say: “I have been dishonest, an adulterer, I have committed grave offenses innumerable time. Will he forgive them? Will he deign to forget them? Listen rather to the Psalmist: “How great is your love, O Lord.” [cf. Ps. 31:19]
Your sins piled up one above the other do not overtop the greatness of God’s love. Your wounds are not too great for the skill of the Doctor.
There is only one course of treatment for you to follow: rely on him in faith. Explain frankly what is wrong to the Doctor and say with the Psalmist: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity.” [Ps. 32:5] Then you will be able to go on with the Psalmist to say: “Then did you forgive the guilt of my sin.”
Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis (from Drinking from the Hidden Fountain).
We think St. Cyril of Jerusalem lived between 313 and 386 A.D. He has been venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion. At a time of great strife and discord within the early Church, he worked for peace and reconciliation. He became the bishop of Jerusalem, and was loved there for his works of charity (which included feeding the poor at the expense of selling the church treasury).
I love this little piece of his, in part because it echoes one of the major themes of this blog: our capacity to sin can never outrun God’s deep and abiding love. The Cross teaches us how much God cares for us. We will never be able to reason, or to behave, our way into God’s love, which He pours out like a steady rain onto all of us. I hope we can all hear God’s voice calling to us, affirming us as His beloved.
We can never go so far down the road to ruin that we cannot turn back, and our Father who sees us from a long ways off, will come running to meet us. As Cyril said, our wounds are not too deep for the Doctor to heal. Never. Never ever.
God watch over thee and me,
James R. Dennis, O.P.
© 2012 James R. Dennis
I’m going to be taking a break from writing for a while. You will remain in my prayers, and in my heart.
“Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.’
For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.”