The fourth century St Cyril was Patriarch of Jerusalem. He is chiefly known for his catechetical lectures, preparing candidates for the sacrament of baptism. Here is part of the Prologue to the series of lectures: ‘Already there is an odour of blessedness upon you, O you who are soon to be enlightened: already you are gathering the spiritual flowers, to weave heavenly crowns: already the fragrance of the Holy Spirit has breathed upon you: already you have gathered round the vestibule of the King’s palace ; may you be led in also by the King! For blossoms now have appeared upon the trees; may the fruit also be found perfect! Thus far there has been an inscription of your names, and a call to service, and torches of the bridal train, and a longing for heavenly citizenship, and a good purpose, and hope attendant thereon. For he lies not who said, that to them that love God all things work together for good. God is lavish in beneficence, yet He waits for each man’s genuine will: therefore the Apostle added and said, “to them that are called according to a purpose”. The honesty of purpose makes you called: for if your body be here but not your mind, it profits you nothing’.

The beauty of our baptism, in which we are made beloved sons and daughters of God, can often escape us, if we were baptised as children. This passage can remind us of the grandeur of our calling, grounded as it is in our own poverty and humility, recognising that all we have and are comes from God.

Today, as we ask for the intercession of St Cyril, let us give thanks for our baptism, in which we were incorporated definitively into Christ and given our true identity as children of a loving Father. May God bless you this day.