So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Saint Hilary of Poitiers: Malleus Arianorum

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Collect for Saint Hilary (Liber Usualis p. 1328 #14. 1938 Edition)

Deus, qui populo tuo aeternae salutis beatum Hilarium ministrum tribuisti: praesta quaesumus; ut quem Doctorem vitae habuimus in terris, intercessorem habere mereamur in caelis. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum. Amen.

God, who didst give Thy blessed Hilary to be a minister of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech Thee, that He whom we have had as teacher of life on earth, we may deserve to have as an intercessor in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Saint Hilary of Poitiers (c. A.D. 300 – c. 368). In Latin, Hilarius (happy, cheerful). Bishop and Doctor of the Church (A.D. 1851), Hammer of Arians (Malleus Arianorum), Athanasius of the West—Saint Hilary: pray for us!

With seriously misguided bishops and cardinals attempting to massage the Synod  on Marriage and the Family into embracing heresy, Hilary's powerful intercession is one we should not fail to request. Exiled to Phrygia by the Emperor Constantius II, Hilary stood against a tidal wave of heretics. Hilarius contra mundum, Hilary against the world, a world where many bishops had become drunk on the poison of Arianism.

The Holy Spirit, working through Saint Hilary, led those who had strayed into error back to orthodoxy. Through the intercession of Saint Hilary, may the Holy Spirit once again help the Church resist the vain attempts of men such as Cardinal Walter Kasper and Archbishop Bruno Forte whose actions diminish the Faith and lead people into error.
Almighty Father, help us to emulate the magnificent example of Saint Hilary of Poitiers who is honoured by the East and the West for his indefatigable charity toward those whom he believed to be honestly mistaken. In the same manner as Hilary, may we show unfailing charity to those who are gravely mistaken about the nature of marriage and the family. This we humbly ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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GENERAL AUDIENCE Saint Peter's Square, Wednesday, 10 October 2007.


To sum up the essentials of his doctrine, I would like to say that Hilary found the starting point for his theological reflection in baptismal faith. In De Trinitate, Hilary writes: Jesus "has commanded us to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (cf. Mt 28: 19), that is, in the confession of the Author, of the Only-Begotten One and of the Gift. The Author of all things is one alone, for one alone is God the Father, from whom all things proceed. And one alone is Our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things exist (cf. I Cor 8: 6), and one alone is the Spirit (cf. Eph 4: 4), a gift in all... . In nothing can be found to be lacking so great a fullness, in which the immensity in the Eternal One, the revelation in the Image, joy in the Gift, converge in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit" (De Trinitate 2, 1). God the Father, being wholly love, is able to communicate his divinity to his Son in its fullness. I find particularly beautiful the following formula of St Hilary: "God knows not how to be anything other than love, he knows not how to be anyone other than the Father. Those who love are not envious and the one who is the Father is so in his totality. This name admits no compromise, as if God were father in some aspects and not in others" (ibid., 9, 61).

For this reason the Son is fully God without any gaps or diminishment. "The One who comes from the perfect is perfect because he has all, he has given all" (ibid., 2, 8). Humanity finds salvation in Christ alone, Son of God and Son of man. In assuming our human nature, he has united himself with every man, "he has become the flesh of us all" (Tractatus super Psalmos 54, 9); "he took on himself the nature of all flesh and through it became true life, he has in himself the root of every vine shoot" (ibid., 51, 16). For this very reason the way to Christ is open to all - because he has drawn all into his being as a man -, even if personal conversion is always required: "Through the relationship with his flesh, access to Christ is open to all, on condition that they divest themselves of their former self (cf. Eph 4: 22), nailing it to the Cross (cf. Col 2: 14); provided we give up our former way of life and convert in order to be buried with him in his baptism, in view of life (cf. Col 1: 12; Rom 6: 4)" (ibid., 91, 9). ("Access to Christ is open to all, on condition that they divest themselves of their former self...". Do you hear that Cardinal Kasper? Instead of blessing sinful lifestyles, people should be called out of their evil behaviour!)

Fidelity to God is a gift of his grace. Therefore, St Hilary asks, at the end of his Treatise on the Trinity, to be able to remain ever faithful to the baptismal faith. It is a feature of this book: reflection is transformed into prayer and prayer returns to reflection. The whole book is a dialogue with God.

I would like to end today's Catechesis with one of these prayers, which thus becomes our prayer:

"Obtain, O Lord, ... that I may keep ever faithful to what I have professed in the symbol of my regeneration, when I was baptized in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. That I may worship you, our Father, and with you, your Son; that I may deserve your Holy Spirit, who proceeds from you through your Only Begotten Son... . Amen" (De Trinitate 12, 57).

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