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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Death to Sin
and Life in the Spirit

From a sermon on Ecclesiastes
by Saint Gregory of Nyssa, bishop

 
There is a time to be born and a time to die

 
It seems to me that the birth referred to here is our salvation, as is suggested by the prophet Isaiah. This reaches its full term and is not stillborn when, having been conceived by the fear of God, the soul’s own birth pangs bring it to the light of day. We are in a sense our own parents, and we give Saint Gregory of Nyssa birth to ourselves by our own free choice of what is good. Such a choice becomes possible for us when we have received God into ourselves and have become children of God, children of the Most High. On the other hand, if what the Apostle [1] calls the form of Christ has not been produced in us, we abort ourselves. The man of God must reach maturity.

Now if the meaning of a timely birth is clear, so also is the meaning of a timely death. For Saint Paul every moment was a time to die, as he proclaims in his letters: I swear by the pride I take in you that I face death every day. Elsewhere he says: For your sake we are put to death daily and we felt like men condemned to death. How Paul died daily is perfectly obvious. He never gave himself up to a sinful life but kept his body under constant control. He carried death with him, Christ’s death, wherever he went. He was always being crucified with Christ. It was not his own life he lived; it was Christ who lived in him. This surely was a timely death—a death whose end was true life.

I put to death and I shall give life, God says, teaching us that death to sin and life in the Spirit is his gift, and promising that whatever he puts to death he will restore to life again.

—Saint Gregory of Nyssa, bishop
Office of Readings, Tuesday
Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

 
___________

1. That is, Saint Paul. See Galatians 4:19.

 


 Back to the question about illusions

 

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Where Catholic therapy (Catholic psychotherapy) is explained according to Catholic psychology in the tradition of the Catholic mystics.