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Holy Spirit Transforms our lives -- St. Cyril of Alexandria

The Holy Spirit

Transforms our Lives

 

St. Cyril of Alexandria

Early Church Father and Doctor of the Church

 

Holy Spirit Transforms our Live - St. Cyril of Alexandria
One of the greatest Fathers and Doctors of the Church here explains how the descent of the Holy Spirit transforms us, making us sharers in the Divine Nature of the Word.  The Holy Ghost changes us and empowers us to live a new kind of life.  This excerpt from from a commentary on the gospel of John (Lib. 10: PG 74, 434) by Saint Cyril of Alexandria, bishop, is used in the Roman Liturgy's Office of Readings for Thursday of the 7th week of Easter, just three days before the Feast of Pentecost.  The accompanying biblical reading is from I John 5:13-21.
 
After Christ had completed his mission on earth, it still remained necessary for us to become sharers in the divine nature of the Word. We had to give up our own life and be so transformed that we would begin to live an entirely new kind of life that would be pleasing to God. This was something we could do only by sharing in the Holy Spirit.

It was most fitting that the sending of the Spirit and his descent upon us should take place after the departure of Christ our Savior. As long as Christ was with them in the flesh, it must have seemed to believers that they possessed every blessing in him; but when the time came for him to ascend to his heavenly Father, it was necessary for him to be united through his Spirit to those who worshipped him, and to dwell in our hearts through faith. Only by his own presence within us in this way could he give us confidence to cry out, Abba, Father, make it easy for us to grow in holiness and, through our possession of the all-powerful Spirit, fortify us invincibly against the wiles of the devil and the assaults of men.
It can easily be shown from examples both in the Old Testament and the New that the Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell; he so transforms them that they begin to live a completely new kind of life. Saul was told by the prophet Samuel: The Spirit of the Lord will take possession of you, and you shall be changed into another man. Saint Paul writes: As we behold the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, that glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit, transforms us all into his own likeness, from one degree of glory to another.

Does this not show that the Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell and alters the whole pattern of their lives? With the Spirit within them it is quite natural for people who had been absorbed by the things of this world to become entirely other-worldly in outlook, and for cowards to become men of great courage. There can be no doubt that this is what happened to the disciples. The strength they received from the Spirit enabled them to hold firmly to the love of Christ, facing the violence of their persecutors unafraid. Very true, then, was our Saviourís saying that it was to their advantage for him to return to heaven: his return was the time appointed for the descent of the Holy Spirit.
 
This reading by Saint Cyril of Alexandria is featured in the Holy Spirit and His Gifts section of the Crossroads Initiative Library.
 
For more reading on The Holy Spirit and His Gifts be sure to check out these other related articles:
 

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I Believe - The Heart of the Catholic Faith, The Nicence Creed, Catholic FaithI Believe - The Heart of Catholic Faith

by: Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.

 

The Creed teaches us that God is a communion of Persons - the Trinity- and tell us of their nature and mission. In this four-part series, Marcellino D'Ambrosio uses enlightening metaphors and colorful anecdotes to show us that we are called to "live the Creed" by developing a loving relationship with God the Father, Son, and Spirit, and to have a deep devotion to the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

I Believe - DVD - $49.95   I Believe - Audio Tape - $19.95  

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