Wednesday, 11 June 2014

St. Chromatius, Bishop --- Shine with the Light of Truth

From a treatise on the Gospel of
Saint Matthew
by Saint Chromatius, bishop
You are the light of the world
You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Not do men light a lamp only to put it under a bushel basket; they put it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house.  The Lord called his disciples the sale of the earth because they seasoned with heavenly wisdom the hearts of men rendered insipid by the devil.  Now he calls them the light of the world as well, because they have been enlightened by him, the true and everlasting light, and have themselves become a light in the darkness.
Since he is the Sun of Justice, he fittingly calls his disciples the lights of the world.  The reason for this is that through them, as through shining rays, he has poured out the light of the knowledge of himself upon the entire world.  For by manifesting the light of truth, they have dispelled the darkness of error form the hearts of men.
Morever, we too have been enlightened by them.  We have been made light out of darkness as the Apostle says: For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.  He says another time: For you are not sons of the night and of darkness, but you are all sons of light and of the day.
Saint John also rightly asserts in his letter: God is light, and whoever abides in God is in the light just as God himself is in the light. Therefore, because we rejoice in having been freed from the darkness of error, we should always walk in the light as children of light.  This is why the Apostle says: Among them you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.
If we fail to live in the lights, we shall, to our condemnation and that of others, be veiling over and obscuring by our infidelity the light men so desperately need.  As we know from Scripture, the man who received the talent should have made it produce a heavenly profit, but instead he preferred to hide it away rather than put it to work and was punished as he deserved.
Consequently, that brilliant lamp which was lit for the sake of our salvation should always shine in us.  For we have the lamp of the heavenly commandment and spiritual grace, to which David referred: Your law is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Solomon also ways this about it: For the command of the law is a lamp.

Therefore, we must not hide this lamp of law and faith.  Rather, we must set it up in the Church, as a lamp-stand, for the salvation of many, so that we may enjoy the light of truth itself and all believers may be enlightened.

Taken from Liturgy of the Hours, June 11


Who was St. Chromatius???

Chromatius was born in Aquileia in about 345 A.D. He was ordained a deacon, then a priest; finally, he was appointed Bishop of that Church (388). After receiving episcopal ordination from Bishop Ambrose he dedicated himself courageously and energetically to an immense task because of the vast territory entrusted to his pastoral care: the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Aquileia, in fact, stretched from the present-day territories of Switzerland, Bavaria, Austria and Slovenia, as far as Hungary.
St Chromatius of Aquileia exercised his ministry in the ancient Church of Aquileia, a fervent centre of Christian life located in the Roman Empire's Decima regione, the Venetia et Histria. In 388 A.D., when Chromatius assumed the Episcopal throne of the city, the local Christian communities had already developed a glorious history of Gospel fidelity.
Martyrs of the Christian Faith
Between the middle of the third century and the early years of the fourth, the persecution of Decius, Valerian and Diocletian had taken a heavy toll of martyrs. Furthermore, the Church of Aquileia, like so many other Churches of that time, had had to contend with the threat of the Arian heresy. Athanasius himself - a standard-bearer of Nicene orthodoxy whom the Arians had banished to exile - had for some time been in Aquileia, where he had taken refuge. Under the guidance of its Bishops, the Christian community withstood the snares of the heresy and reinforced their own attachment to the Catholic faith.
Trinitarian Mystery
Chromatius was a wise teacher and a zealous pastor. His first and main commitment was to listen to the Word, to be able to subsequently proclaim it: he always bases his teaching on the Word of God and constantly returns to it. Certain subjects are particularly dear to him: first of all, the Trinitarian mystery, which he contemplated in its revelation throughout the history of salvation.
Then, the theme of the Holy Spirit: Chromatius constantly reminds the faithful of the presence and action in the life of the Church of the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity. But the holy Bishop returns with special insistence to the mystery of Christ. The Incarnate Word is true God and true man: he took on humanity in its totality to endow it with his own divinity. These truths, which he also reaffirmed explicitly in order to counter Arianism, were to end up about 50 years later in the definition of the Council of Chalcedon.
Virgin Mary by Lyubomir Kanelov
The heavy emphasis on Christ's human nature led Chromatius to speak of the Virgin Mary. His Mariological doctrine is clear and precise. To him we owe evocative descriptions of the Virgin Most Holy: Mary is the "evangelical Virgin capable of accepting God"; she is the "immaculate and inviolate ewe lamb" who conceived the "Lamb clad in purple" (cf. Sermo XXIII, 3: Scrittori dell'area santambrosiana 3/1, p. 134). The Bishop of Aquileia often compares the Virgin with the Church: both, in fact, are "virgins" and "mothers".
Chromatius developed his ecclesiology above all in his commentary on Matthew. These are some of the recurring concepts: the Church is one, she is born from the Blood of Christ; she is a precious garment woven by the Holy Spirit; the Church is where the fact that Christ was born of a Virgin is proclaimed, where brotherhood and harmony flourish.
Ship in a Storm
One image of which Chromatius is especially fond is that of the ship in a storm - and his were stormy times, as we have heard: "There is no doubt", the Holy Bishop says, "that this ship represents the Church" (cf. Tractatus XLII, 5: Scrittori dell'area santambrosiana 3/2, p. 260).