Today's Doctor of the Church: St. Cyril of Jerusalem
St. Cyril was born in Jerusalem around 315; He died in 386. He is called the Doctor of Catechesis and we celebrate his feast day on March 18. St. Cyril’s life was marked with great learning, great struggle and great pastoral care. After being elected bishop of Jerusalem he came into immediate conflict with the heretic ruler and another bishop. He was forced into exile on three different occasions, the longest exile lasting 11 years. When he finally returned to his diocese his reputation was restored and he remained a fervent and dedicated servant to the Church. He is most famous for homilies that he composed that served as instructions to newly baptized Catholics. His homilies were famous for their brilliance and accessibility. He liked to preach on three different levels: on one level he was preaching against heretics who were teaching something different than what Jesus had left the Apostles. So St. Cyril had to protect his flock from erroneous teachings. Secondly, he preached about the moral implications about being a Disciple to the Lord. Thirdly, he preached about the mystagogical dimension of our Discipleship; in other words the big picture about what Discipleship really means- union with God in Heaven. In one place, Cyril rights, “Remove all obstacles and stumbling blocks so that you will be able to go straight along the road to eternal life”(from his Jerusalem Catechesis). Speaking about St. Cyril, Pope Benedict XVI writes, “Taken as a whole, Cyril’s homilies form a systematic catechesis [teaching] on the Christian’s rebirth through Baptism” (Church Fathers, Vol. 1).
Lets ask St. Cyril of Jerusalem to pray for us today. May we embrace our call to Discipleship that was spoken to us at our baptism and strive everyday to be transformed, more and more, into the likeness of Jesus. Amen.