Hippolytus of Rome: The Fountain of Life that Gushes with Healing Saturday, Jan 12 2013 

HippolytusContinued from here…

Give me now your best attention…, for I wish to go back to the fountain of life, and to view the fountain that gushes with healing.

The Father of immortality sent the immortal Son and Word into the world, who came to man in order to wash him with water and the Spirit.

And He, begetting us again to incorruption of soul and body, breathed into us the breath (spirit) of life, and endued us with an incorruptible panoply.

If, therefore, man has become immortal, he will also be God. And if he is made God by water and the Holy Spirit after the regeneration of the laver he is found to be also joint-heir with Christ after the resurrection from the dead.

Wherefore I preach to this effect…: Come into liberty from slavery, into a kingdom from tyranny, into incorruption from corruption.

And how…shall we come? How? By water and the Holy Ghost.

This is the water in conjunction with the Spirit, by which paradise is watered, by which the earth is enriched…, by which man is begotten again and endued with life, in which also Christ was baptized, and in which the Spirit descended in the form of a dove.

This is the Spirit that at the beginning “moved upon the face of the waters;” by whom the world moves; by whom creation consists, and all things have life; who also wrought mightily in the prophets, and descended in flight upon Christ.

This is the Spirit that was given to the apostles in the form of fiery tongues. This is the Spirit that David sought when he said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Of this Spirit Gabriel also spoke to the Virgin, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.”

By this Spirit Peter spoke that blessed word, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

By this Spirit the rock of the Church was stablished. This is the Spirit, the Comforter, that is sent because of thee, that He may show thee to be the Son of God.

Come then, be begotten again, O man, into the adoption of God.

[…] He who comes down in faith to the laver of regeneration, and renounces the devil, and joins himself to Christ; who denies the enemy, and makes the confession that Christ is God; who puts off the bondage, and puts on the adoption,

—he comes up from the baptism brilliant as the sun, flashing forth the beams of righteousness, and, which is indeed the chief thing, he returns a son of God and joint-heir with Christ.

Hippolytus of Rome (c.170-c.236): Discourse on the Theophany, 8-10.

Hippolytus of Rome: When Christ the Bridegroom was Baptized, it was Fitting that the Bridal-Chamber of Heaven should Open its Brilliant Gates Monday, Jan 7 2013 

HippolytusDo you see…how many and how great blessings we would have lost, if the Lord had yielded to the exhortation of John, and declined baptism?

For the heavens were shut before this; the region above was inaccessible.

We would in that case descend to the lower parts, but we would not ascend to the upper. But was it only that the Lord was baptized?

He also renewed the old man, and committed to him again the sceptre of adoption.

For straightway “the heavens were opened to Him.”

A reconciliation took place of the visible with the invisible; the celestial orders were filled with joy; the diseases of earth were healed; secret things were made known; those at enmity were restored to amity.

For you have heard the word of the evangelist, saying, “The heavens were opened to Him,” on account of three wonders.

For when Christ the Bridegroom was baptized, it was meet that the bridal-chamber of heaven should open its brilliant gates.

And in like manner also, when the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, and the Father’s voice spread everywhere, it was meet that “the gates of heaven should be lifted up.”

“And, lo, the heavens were opened to Him; and a voice was heard, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

The beloved generates love, and the light immaterial the light inaccessible.

“This is my beloved Son,” He who, being manifested on earth and yet unseparated from the Father’s bosom, was manifested, and yet did not appear.

[…] For this reason did the Father send down the Holy Spirit from heaven upon Him who was baptized.

For as in the ark of Noah the love of God toward man is signified by the dove, so also now the Spirit, descending in the form of a dove, bearing as it were the fruit of the olive, rested on Him to whom the witness was borne.

For what reason? That the faithfulness of the Father’s voice might be made known, and that the prophetic utterance of a long time past might be ratified.

And what utterance is this? “The voice of the Lord is on the waters, the God of glory thundered; the Lord is upon many waters.”

And what voice? “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This is He who is named the son of Joseph, and who is according to the divine essence my Only-begotten.

“This is my beloved Son”—He who…suffers, and yet heals sufferings; who is smitten, and yet confers liberty on the world; who is pierced in the side, and yet repairs the side of Adam.

Hippolytus of Rome (c.170-c.236): Discourse on the Theophany, 6-7.

Hippolytus of Rome: He Is the Perfect Seal, the Key of David Wednesday, Nov 28 2012 

Gabriel says: Seal the vision and the Prophet (Daniel 9:24).

We must note that fullness of the Law and the Prophets came ‘in person’.

For the Law and the Prophets were in force till John – and for that reason their words had to be sealed in order that at the advent of the Lord everything would appear loosed and the things that were sealed and difficult to know would be known, and that which formerly was fettered would be unfettered from then on.

The Lord himself indicated as much to the princes of the people who were indignant because they saw him perform miracles on the Sabbath and cure all sickness and infirmity.

He told them: O you hypocrites! Which of you does not let his ox or ass out of the stall on the Sabbath to water it? Should not this daughter of Abraham here who has been in the bondage of Satan for eighteen years have been released from her shackles on the Sabbath?

The Lord has come to release from the shackles of death all those who had been in the bondage of Satan, to shackle him who against everyone else had been the strong man, and liberate man­kind, according to the words of Isaiah: Saying to the prisoners: Come out! To those in darkness, show yourselves!

Now, all that the Law and the Prophets had said of old to men was something sealed and unknown to them.

This is what Isaiah illustrates: When the sealed scroll is handed to one who can read, with the request, ‘Read this’, he replies, ‘I cannot; it is sealed.’

It was necessary, then, that everything the prophets had said for the unbelieving Pharisees, who considered themselves to be learned in the law, should be sealed for them but open to believers.

We see, therefore, that everything which was formerly sealed is now open to the saints by the grace of the Lord. For he is the perfect seal, the key of David, who opens, and no one shuts; who shuts, and no one opens.

He, then, has taken the book and loosed the seals so that what had been said about him in an obscure way, could now be announced unequivocally from the house­tops. That is why the Angel said to Daniel: Seal up those words, for the vision refers to distant days.

But to the Christ it was not said: ‘Seal’, but: ‘Loose what was formerly bound’ that his grace might make us know the will of the Father and we may believe in him whom the Father has sent for the salvation of men, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hippolytus of Rome (c.170-c.236): Commentary on Daniel,IV, 38-39 (SC 14:340-343); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Thursday of the 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Year 2.

Hippolytus of Rome: When We Stop Praying, the Adversary is Victorious Over Us Saturday, Nov 24 2012 

Daniel…did not yield to fright, for he was ready to become the prey of beasts rather than submit to the decree of the king.

[…] Having returned home, Daniel knelt in prayer in the upper chamber three times a day, with the windows open toward Jerusalem, as was his custom.

Let us contemplate the piety of blessed Daniel. Although he seemed to have much work to do for the king, he continued to be faithful to daily prayer, rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God what belongs to God.

Someone might object: Was it not possible for him to pray to God in the intimacy of his heart during the day, and then, during the night, remain secretly recollected in his home as he desired, and without endangering himself?

Of course, he could have acted in that way, but…the supervisors and the satraps might have said: What is the value of the fear of God, since he is afraid of the king’s edict and is submissive to his commands? And they would have been ready to accuse him of infidelity.

[…] Hence, Daniel did not give his adversaries any ‘pretext’ for de­traction, for whoever submits to a man is that man’s slave.

That is why the blessed Daniel, who had preferred the fear of God and delivered himself to death, was saved from the lions by the angel.

If he had taken the edict into consideration and had remained quiet for thirty days, his faith would not have preserved its purity. No one can serve two masters.

The wily devil exercises his wits to persecute, oppress, bring down the saints, and prevent them from raising their holy hands to God in their prayers.

The devil knows well that the prayer of the saints gives peace to the world and brings chastisements to the wicked, which makes us recall that when Moses in the desert raised his hands, Israel overcame, and when he lowered them, it was Amalek who had the upper hand.

This still takes place for us today. When we stop praying, the adversary is victorious over us; and when we cling to prayer, the power and energy of the Evil One are fruitless.

How powerful are those who trust more in God than in men! Men extinguish all hope and deliver us to death, but God will not abandon his servants.

That is why the psalmist teaches that it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to trust in princes.

Hippolytus of Rome (c.170-c.236): Commentary on Daniel,III, 21-30 (SC 14:242-258); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Tuesday of the 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Year 2.

Hippolytus of Rome: A Person Without the Holy Spirit is Frightened of the Struggle Friday, Nov 16 2012 

On chapter 3 of the book of Daniel…

Behold three youths who have set an example for all.

They were unafraid of the numerous satraps and of the words of the king.

They did not tremble when they heard about the fiery flames of the furnace, but they spurned all and the whole world for they thought only of the fear of God.

You see how the Spirit of the Father teaches eloquence to the martyrs, consoling them and exhorting them to despise death in this world, to hasten their attainment of heavenly goods.

But a person who is without the Holy Spirit is frightened of the struggle.

He hides himself, takes precautions against a death that is only temporal, is afraid of the sword, falls into a panic at the thought of the torture.

He no longer sees any other thing than the world here below, worries only about the present life, prefers his wife to everything else, is bothered only about love for his children, and seeks nothing but wealth.

Such a man, because he is not endowed with heavenly strength, is quickly lost.

That is why anyone who desires to come near the Word listens to the behest of the King and Lord of heaven:

Whoever does not bear his cross and follow me is not worthy of me, and whoever does not renounce all that he possesses cannot be my disciple.

Scripture tells us that after this those three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell into the white-hot furnace and walked about in the flames, singing to God and blessing the Lord.

[…] God saved those he wanted, in order that the wonders of his works might be revealed to the whole world.

But those whom he desired to undergo martyrdom, he crowned and let them come to him.

If he drew the three youths out of their predicament, it was to show the emptiness and folly of Nebuchadnezzar’s boastfulness and prove at the same time that what is impossible to man is possible to God.

Nebuchadnezzar had proudly declared: Who is the God that can deliver you out of my hands? God proved to him that he can free his servants when he wishes to do so.

That is why it is improper for man to oppose the decisions of God. For if we live, we live for the Lord. And if we die, we die for the Lord. Whether we live or whether we die, we belong to the Lord.

Hippolytus of Rome (c.170-c.236): Commentary on Daniel, II, 18-37 (SC 14:150-184); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Saturday of Week 33 in ordinary Time, Year 2.

Hippolytus of Rome: The Long Dark Night Has Been Swallowed Up and the Dreary Shadows of Death Have Vanished Sunday, Apr 8 2012 

Now the holy rays of the light of Christ shine forth, the pure stars of the pure Spirit rise, the heavenly treasures of glory and divinity lie open.

In this splendour the long dark night has been swallowed up and the dreary shadows of death have vanished.

For us who believe in him a glorious day has dawned, a long unending day, the mystical Passover symbolically celebrated by the Law and effectually accomplished by Christ, a wonderful Passover, a miracle of divine virtue, a work of divine power.

This is the true festival and the everlasting memorial, the day upon which freedom from suffering comes from suffering, immortality from death, life from the tomb, healing from a wound, Resurrection from the fall, and Ascension into heaven from the descent into hell.

To show that he had power over death Christ had exercised his royal authority to loose death’s bonds even during his lifetime, as for example when he gave the commands, Lazarus, come out and Arise, my child.

For the same reason he surrendered himself completely to death, so that in him that gluttonous beast with his insatiable appetite would die completely.

Since death’s  power comes from sin, it searched everywhere in his sinless body for its accustomed food, for sensuality, pride, disobedience or, in a word, for that ancient sin which was its original sustenance.

In him, however, it found nothing to feed on and so, being entirely closed in upon itself and destroyed for lack of nourishment, death became its own death.

Many of the just, proclaiming the Good News and prophe­sying, were awaiting him who was to become by his Resurrection the firstborn from the dead.

And so, to save all members of the human race, whether they lived before the Law, under the Law, or after his own coming, Christ dwelt three days beneath the earth.

After his Resurrection it was the women who were the first to see him, for as a woman brought the first sin into the world, so a woman first announced the news of life to the world.

Thus they heard the holy words, Women, rejoice; for sadness was to be swallowed up by the joy of the Resurrection.

When Christ had clothed himself completely in the humanity created in God’s image and transformed into the heavenly man the old man he had put on, the image united to himself ascended with him into heaven.

At the sign of the great mystery of human nature now ascending with God the angelic powers cried out with joy, commanding the hosts of heaven: Lift up your gates, you princes, be lifted up, you everlasting doors, and the king of glory shall enter.

Hippolytus of Rome (c.170-c.236) [attrib.]: Paschal Homily (SC 27:116-118, 184-190); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Easter Monday, Year 2.

Hippolytus of Rome: He Has Given us a Share in His Divinity Wednesday, Dec 30 2009 

Without protest, Christ endured his passion, he submitted to death and revealed his resurrection.

In all these ways he offered his own manhood as the first fruits of our race to keep us from losing heart when suffering comes our way, and to make us look forward to receiving the same reward as he did, since we know that we possess the same humanity.

When we have come to know the true God, both our bodies and our souls will be immortal and incorruptible.

We shall enter the kingdom of heaven, because while we lived on earth we acknowledged heaven’s King.

Friends of God and co-heirs with Christ, we shall be subject to no evil desires or inclinations, or to any affliction of body or soul, for we shall have become divine.

Whatever evil you may have suffered, being man, it is God that sent it to you, precisely because you are man; but equally, when you have been deified, God has promised you a share in every one of his own attributes.

The saying Know yourself means therefore that we should recognise and acknowledge in ourselves the God who made us in his own image, for if we do this, we in turn will be recognised and acknowledged by our Maker.

So let us not be at enmity with ourselves, but change our way of life without delay. For Christ who is God, exalted above all creation, has taken away man’s sin and has re-fashioned our fallen nature.

In the beginning God made man in his image and so gave proof of his love for us. If we obey his holy commands and learn to imitate his goodness, we shall be like him and he will honour us.

God is not beggarly, and for the sake of his own glory he has given us a share in his divinity.

Hippolytus of Rome(c.170-c.236): excerpt from the treatise On the Refutation of All Heresies, 10, 33-34, (second reading at the Office of Readings for December 30th (translation at The Crossroads Initiative).