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Maria Lectrix

Public domain audiobooks, six days a week, for folks with a Catholic taste in literature. Enjoy! Clan Honor Mondays: Fitz-James O'Brien works. Lit Tuesdays: Short stories, novels, or poems. Acts of the Wednesdays: Early Christian works. Mystery Thursdays: Mystery short stories or novels. Lit Fridays: Short stories, novels, or poems. Saintly Saturdays: Later Christian works.

Mary reading to ChristA Vatican Library catalog page, 1518

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

#75A: "Procatechesis" by Cyril of Jerusalem

I've decided to read Cyril of Jerusalem's Catechetical Lectures, because they are by far the coolest RCIA lectures ever. But because back then they were given three a week for the six weeks before Easter, and that's a bit of a heavy schedule unless you really are a candidate, I'll mostly just be doing two a week or so. Here's Part 1.

The Catechetical Lectures are transcripts (somebody must have been a court reporter or an awesome notetaker) of classes given to candidates for initiation to the Church sometime during the early 4th century. They were given by St. Cyril of Jerusalem, archbishop/patriarch of Jerusalem. (The bishop was and is chief teaching authority in a diocese.) The classes, and indeed the lecture transcripts, were presented under the veil of secrecy called the "Disciplina Arcani". The class members were forbidden even to fill in people who missed class, much less catechumens not ready for Baptism or non-Christians. The candidates have no idea what is going to be taught next. They've got no clue as to the true mystery of the Mass, because they've never been allowed to attend past the Gospel readings. Everything is new.

And back then, you got exorcised every time you went to class, which certainly would have its uses.

In the "Procatechesis", or prologue lecture, the groundrules for class (including the secrecy ones) are presented, and the class is told just how special this opportunity to join the Church as an initiate really is. The archbishop also warns those who've come for frivolous reasons that they should either stop now, or get serious. Long, but full of historical atmosphere and thoughts to chew on.


(BTW, I read the footnotes just in case somebody's dying to know something about the early Church. But if you're not interested, feel free to regard the word "Footnotes" as equivalent to "End of Lecture." Especially since I'm obviously mispronouncing the Greek stuff, and you could always just look this stuff up on the Net.)


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