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For the Second Sunday after Epiphany: a reading from Cyril of Jerusalem

January 15, 2017

This is another reading from the text Faith and Life: Readings Compiled from Ancient Writers by William Bright; it is part of his selection for the Second Sunday after Epiphany and is from Cyril of Jerusalem’s Lecture xvi:

I. THE MANIFOLD GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT.

ONE fountain waters a whole garden, and one and the same rain comes down in every part of the world, and becomes white in the lily, red in the rose, purple in violets and hyacinths, diverse and manifold in all kinds of plants; and so it is of one sort in the palm, of another in the vine, and all in all things; being all the time of one nature, and not diverse from itself. For the rain does not change as it descends, and become first one thing, then another; but applying itself to the condition of that which is to receive it, it becomes to each what is suitable. So also the Holy Spirit, being one, and of one nature, and undivided, distributes grace “to every one severally, as He wills,” and as the dry tree when it partakes of water puts forth shoots, so also the soul that is in sin, being endued by means of repentance with the Holy Spirit, puts forth clusters of righteousness. And while the Spirit is of one nature, yet many are the excellences which by the fiat of God, and in the name of Christ, He works out. For He uses one man’s tongue to utter wisdom, illuminates another’s soul with prophecy, to another gives power to drive away demons, to another gives ability to interpret the Divine Scriptures. One man’s self-control He strengthens, another He teaches how to give alms, another to fast and discipline himself, another to despise the interests of the body; another He prepares for martyrdom; differently in each case, but not diverse from Himself, as it is written, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

Here Cyril certainly echoes the Scriptures’ teaching that we are each given our own gifts for the strengthening of the whole Body of Christ.

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