St. Cyril of Jerusalem on the long-suffering of God

Yesterday, I began a discussion about long-suffering, or sometimes less referred to as longanimity.  This is the ability to bear patiently with wrongs committed against us, or as Fr. Hardon put it, “extraordinary patience under provocation or trial.”  In that post, I explained how this was manifest in Jesus. Last night, as I was concluding that post, I had stumbled upon something from St. Cyril of Jerusalem in his Catechetical Lecture 2, in which he talks about sin, repentance, and Satan. Cyril drives the point home many times in this lecture about the long-suffering of God in how he deals with us.  He provides many examples from Scripture.  In one part he writes:

Bartolozzi_St_Cyril_of_Jerusalem7. Would you see the loving-kindness of God, O thou that art lately come to the catechising? Would you see the loving-kindness of God, and the abundance of His long-suffering? Hear about Adam. Adam, God’s first-formed man, transgressed: could He not at once have brought death upon him? But see what the Lord does, in His great love towards man. He casts him out from Paradise, for because of sin he was unworthy to live there; but He puts him to dwell over against Paradise : that seeing whence he had fallen, and from what and into what a state he was brought down, he might afterwards be saved by repentance. Cain the first-born man became his brother’s murderer, the inventor of evils, the first author of murders, and the first envious man. Yet after slaying his brother to what is he condemned? Groaning and trembling shall you be upon the earth. How great the offense, the sentence how light!

Read the full catechetical lesson. He gives several other examples from Scripture detailing all the ways God has put up with members of the human race since the beginning. One thing is for certain:  God puts up with a lot out of us, not only because He loves us, but because he’s allowing us to learn and exercise the free will He has given us.  We have to take care not to abuse His love for us by choosing good, rejecting bad, and making use of Sacramental Confession to acknowledge our sins.


Image Attribution: “Bartolozzi St Cyril of Jerusalem” by Francesco BartolozziHodie Mecum Eris In Paradiso. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
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