St. Cyril on the Circumcision and Meeting of the Lord

To wrap up the season before Lent, let’s here from St. Cyril:

…we have seen Him Who as God is the Legislator, subject to His own decrees.

[circumcision] is pregnant with the graceful type of a mystery, or rather contains the hidden manifestation of the truth.

…after His circumcision, the rite was done away by the introduction of that which had been signified by it, even baptism: for which reason we are no longer circumcised. For circumcision seems to me to have effected three several ends: in the first place, it separated the posterity of Abraham by a sort of sign and seal, and distinguished them from all other nations. In the second, it prefigured in itself the grace and efficacy of Divine baptism; for as in old time he that was circumcised, was reckoned among the people of God by that seal, so also he that is baptized, having formed in himself Christ the seal, is enrolled into God’s adopted family. And, thirdly, it is the symbol of the faithful when established in grace, who cut away and mortify the tumultuous risings of carnal pleasures and passions by the sharp surgery of faith, and by ascetic labours; not cutting the body, but purifying the heart, and being circumcised in the spirit, and not in the letter: whose praise, as the divine Paul testifies, needs not the sentence of any human tribunal, but depends upon the decree from above.

And what does the prophet Symeon say of Christ? ‘Behold This child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be spoken against.’ For the Immanuel is set by God the Father for the foundations of Sion, ‘being a stone elect, chief of the corner, and honourable.’ Those then that trusted in Him were not ashamed: but those who were unbelieving and ignorant, and unable to perceive the mystery regarding Him, fell, and were broken in pieces. For God the Father again has somewhere said, ‘Behold I lay in Sion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence, and He that believeth on It shall not be ashamed; but on whomsoever It shall fall, It will winnow him.’


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