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Saint Cyril of Alexandria Reminds Us: The Holy Spirit Helps Us to Live a New Kind of Life

By Deacon Keith Fournier
May 16th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Today, the great Jerusalem Bishop named Cyril reminds us that through the power of the Holy Spirit we can begin living an entirely new way of life - beginning right now. When the Holy Spirit comes into the life of a man or a woman, he, in the good bishops words, \"so transforms them that they begin to live a completely new kind of life.\"

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - The Office of Readings for the Liturgy of the Hours in these days leading to the celebration of Pentecost contains beautiful excerpts from homilies given by the early Church Fathers.

Today, the great Jerusalem Bishop named Cyril reminds us that through the power of the Holy Spirit we can begin living an entirely new way of life - beginning right now. When the Holy Spirit comes into the life of a man or a woman, he, in the good bishops words, \"so transforms them that they begin to live a completely new kind of life.\"

He is not just speaking to Christians of his century, he is speaking to you and me!

This is the same Holy Spirit which is at work in the Church today. Our Holy Father Francis, since he assumed the Office of the Successor of Peter, has been calling each of us to respond to this Holy Spirit - and to take our place in the mission of the Church.

This is the same Church, the Same Mission and the same Holy Spirit that Cyril served. We simply live in a different millennium; facing challenges quite similar to those he face.

Let us reflect on these beautiful words and invite the power of the Holy Spirit to come into our own lives afresh, making us new.Then, like Christians throughout the ages, let us boldly go forth to proclaim the Good News, by both word and deed, to an age waiting to be born anew.  

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From a commentary on the gospel of John by Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop

\"If I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you.\"

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 Saviour. 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 Saviour's 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.

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