Uncle Eddy's E-mail -- March 18
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Archbishop and Doctor of the Church (entered heaven in 386)
I am glad to hear that your roommate’s preparations for confirmation are
going well. In my book, you’re the best sponsor she could have. (She must agree, since
she chose you.) In your discussions, don’t neglect telling her about the difficulties that are
certainly in store for her. Stress how important it is that she understand the Church’s basic
teachings as deeply as possible, so that she doesn’t get led astray later on by unorthodox
flatterers. And above all, make sure he realizes that her friendship with Christ and
membership in the Church is only the beginning of the adventure – the “happily-ever-after” ending
won’t appear for quite some time, most likely. It’s a lesson that today’s saint spent 35 years
learning. That’s how long he was Patriarch of Jerusalem, and almost half of those years he
spent in exile. He happened into his noble vocation about the time that the Arian heresy was
at its height. Since he championed the true faith without compromise, he made plenty of
powerful enemies (for some reason, many of the eastern church’s most energetic prelates of the
fourth century were Arians – heretics, that is, who denied Christ’s divinity). And since
Jerusalem was such an important city, they wanted to oust him and install their sympathizers.
This they did (with the collaboration of various emperors) three separate times. Therefore, St
Cyril spent 16 of his 35 episcopal years in exile. He remained faithful, however, and
encouraged others to do the same. It wasn’t easy, but he stood strong as one of the pillars of
orthodoxy amid a savage doctrinal controversy.
Your roommate may not have to face such daunting challenges (though, on the other hand, maybe she will – you never know), but she will have to face some kind of challenge. It’s the way God allows us to exercise our faith and obedience, and increase our brightness level of heavenly glory.
Your loving uncle, Eddy
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