The Power of Faith
Cyril became Bishop of Jerusalem in 350 and is known for his systematic catchesis which he used to instruct new converts to Christianity in the essentials of the faith as part of their preparation for baptism at Easter and for further instruction on spiritual formation in the week following. Cyril's writings are filled with the loving and forgiving nature of God, the healing power of forgiveness and the companionship of the Holy Spirit.
The word "faith" has two meanings. First of all it is concerned with doctrine and it denotes the assent of the soul to some truth. Faith in this sense brings blessing and salvation to the soul, as the Lord said: He who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, he does not come into judgment; and again: He who believes in the Son is not judged but has passed from death to life.
See how striking God's goodness is. He does not despise the long years of service given by his people, but what they achieved by many years of effort, Jesus now gives you in an instant as a free gift. For, if only you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved, and he who gave a home in paradise to the thief will give you a home there also. Do not doubt the truth of what I say: after only a brief moment of faith the Lord saved the thief on our holy hill of Golgotha and he will save you too if you believe.
The word "faith" has a second meaning. It is a particular gift and grace of Christ: to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing. He who has this faith will say to the mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move, and anyone who can in fact say these words through faith and believe without hesitation that they will come to pass, receives this particular grace.
It is to this kind of faith that the Lord's words refer: if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed. Now a mustard seed is small in size but its energy thrusts it upwards with the force of fire. Small are its roots great the spread of of its boughs, and once it is fully grown the birds of the air find shelter in its branches. So too in a flash, faith can produce the most wonderful effects in the soul. Illuminated by faith it gazes at the glory of God as far as human nature allows and, ranging beyond the boundaries of the universe, it has a vision, before the consummation of all things, of the judgment and of God making good the rewards he promised.
As far as it depends on you then, cherish the first gift of faith which leads you to God, and you will receive then the higher gift, which no effort of yours can reach and no power of yours can obtain.
Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386)
Almighty and eternal God,
increase in us your gifts of faith, hope and love,
that loving all you command and trusting in your promises,
we may by faith attain to the fulness of your eternal joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.