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For Christmas Eve: Cyril of Jerusalem – “The Coming of Christ”

December 24, 2010

For Christmas Eve, here is another reading from the text by William James E. Bennett titled Advent Readings From The Fathers – this one being “The Coming of Christ” by Cyril of Jerusalem.


S. Cyril Of Jerusalem.

Our Lord Jesus Christ comes from Heaven, and He comes with glory at the end of the world, in the last day. For this world shall have an end, and this created world shall be made new. For since corruption, and theft, and adultery, and every sort of sins, have been poured forth over the earth, and blood has been mingled with blood in the world, therefore that this wondrous dwelling-place may not remain filled with iniquity, this world shall pass away, that that fairer world may be made manifest. And wouldest thou receive the proof of this, out of the express words of Scripture? Listen to Esaias, saying, ” And the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig-tree.” And the Gospel says, ” The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven.”

Let us not sorrow, as if we alone died; the stars also shall die, and perhaps rise again. And the Lord shall roll up the heavens, not that He may destroy them, but that He may raise them up again more beautiful. Hear David the Prophet saying, ” Thou, Lord, in the beginning, hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy Hands; they shall perish, but Thou remainest.” But some one will say, Behold he says plainly that they shall perish. Hear in what sense he says they shall perish; it is plain from what follows: ” And they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed.” For as a man is said to “perish,” according to that which is written, “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart,” and this, though the resurrection is looked for, so we look for a resurrection, as it were, of the heavens also. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood.” And again, hear Christ saying, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away;” for the creature’s are not equal in honour with the Master’s words.

The things then which are seen shall pass away, and there shall come the things which are looked for, things fairer than these; but as to the time, let no one be curious. For “it is not for you,” He says, “to know the times and the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power.” And venture not thou to declare when these things shall be, nor, on the other hand, abandon thyself to slumber. For He saith “Watch, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.” But seeing that it behoved us to know the signs of the end, and whereas we are looking for Christ, therefore that we may not be deceived and perish, nor be led astray by that false Anti-christ, the Apostles, moved by the Divine will, address themselves by a providential arrangement to the True Teacher, and say, “Tell us, when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” We look for Thee to come again, but Satan is transformed into an angel of light; put us therefore on our guard, that we may not worship another instead of Thee. And He, opening His Divine and blessed mouth, says, ” Take heed that no man deceive you.” And you, hearers, who now, as it were, see Him with the eyes of your mind, listen to him saying the same things to you likewise: ” Take heed that no man deceive you.” And this word exhorts you all to give heed to what is spoken; for it is not a tale of things gone by, but a prophecy of things future, and which will surely come. We prophesy not, for we are unworthy; but we set before you the things which are written, and tell you the signs. Observe then which of them have already come to pass, and which yet remain, and make thyself safe.

This comes from Cyril’s Catechetical Lectures, xv. 3.

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