St. Cyril of Alexandria on Luke 9:37-43. Healing of the Demon-Possessed Boy

But it came to pass, the day after, as they came down from the mountain, a great crowd met Him. And, behold, a man cried out from the crowd, saying, Teacher, I beseech Thee to regard my Son, for he is my only one. And lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out, and it convulseth and teareth him, and he foameth; and having bruised him scarcely departeth from him. And I besought Thy disciples to cast him out, and they could not. And Jesus answered, and said: O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither. And when he was yet coming, the devil threw him down, and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and gave him to his father. And all wondered at the majesty of God.

All Scripture is inspired of God and profitable: but especially above all besides this is the case with the holy Gospels. For He Who in old time spake the law to the Israelites by the ministry of angels, has in person spoken unto us, when having taken our likeness, He appeared upon earth, and went about among men. For most wise Paul writes: That while in old time God spake to the fathers by the prophets in manifold parts, and manifold manners, He hath in these latter days spoken unto us by the Son. And by one of His holy prophets, He somewhere Himself saith, I Who speak am near as the brightness upon the mountains, as the feet of him that proclaimeth tidings of peace; as one that proclaimeth good things. For lo! He frees us from the tyranny of the enemy, that we may in purity follow Him; and that having brought to nought the world rulers of this darkness, even wicked spirits, He may present us unharmed unto God the Father.

For that it is by Him that we have gained deliverance from the power of unclean spirits, this lesson proves. For we heard read that a man ran towards Him from among the multitude, and related the intolerable malady of his son. For he said that he was cruelly torn by an evil spirit, and suffered violent convulsions. But the manner of his approach was not free from fault: for he made loud outcries against the company of the holy apostles, saying that they could not rebuke Satan: whereas it would have been more fitting, had he honored Jesus when asking His aid, and imploring grace. For He grants us our request when we honor and confide in Him, as being the Almighty, Whose power nothing can withstand. For He verily is the Lord of powers, and nothing can offer resistance to His will. Yea rather, everything whatsoever that is capable of possessing power obtains entirely from Him the possibility of being what it is. For just as He sheds His light upon those who are capable of being illuminated, as being Himself the true light; and just as in like manner He is the bestower of wisdom upon those who are capable thereof, as being Himself Wisdom, and perfect understanding: so, inasmuch as He is Power, He bestows power on those capable of receiving it. When then by our disbelief we despise His glory, and wickedly scorn His supreme majesty, we can receive nothing from Him: for, We must ask in faith, nothing wavering, as His disciple said.

And that this saying is true, we may perceive even from what takes place among us. For such as present petitions to those who preside over affairs upon earth, and govern mighty thrones, preface their requests with suitable praises, and confess their universal power and majesty; addressing the memorial they present, To the Lords of earth, and sea, and of every people and race among mankind: and afterwards they add an account of what they would ask. The father therefore of the demoniac was rude and uncourteous: for he did not simply ask the healing of the child, and in so doing crown the healer with praises, but, on the contrary, spake contemptuously of the disciples, and found fault with the grace given them. For I brought him, he says, to Thy disciples, and they could not cast it out. And yet it was owing to your own want of faith that the grace did not avail. Don’t you perceive that you yourself are the cause that the child was not delivered from his severe illness?

For that we must have faith when we draw near to Christ, and whosoever has obtained from Him the grace of healing, He teaches us Himself, by everywhere requiring faith of those who approach Him, desiring to be counted worthy of any of His gifts. For, for instance, Lazarus died at Bethany, and Christ promised to raise him. When then one of his sisters doubted this, and had no expectation that the miracle would take place, Christ said, I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in Me, even though he die, shall live. And we find elsewhere a similar occurrence. For Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue of the Jews, when his only daughter was now breathing her last, being caught, so to speak, in the meshes of death, besought Jesus to deliver the damsel from what had happened: and Christ accordingly promised so to do upon arriving at the house of the supplicant. But as He was on His way, a man met Him from the relatives of the ruler of the synagogue, saying, "Thy daughter is dead: trouble not the Teacher." And what was Christ's reply? Fear not: only believe, and she shall live.

It was the duty therefore of the father of the lad rather to lay the blame upon his own unbelief, than upon the holy apostles. For this reason Christ justly called out, O faithless and perverse generation: how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? He justly therefore calls both the man himself, and those like him in mind a faithless generation. For it is a wretched malady, and whosoever is seized by it is, as He shows, perverse, and utterly without knowledge to walk uprightly. And therefore the sacred Scriptures say of such persons, that their ways are crooked, and their paths perverse. From this malady the divine David fled: and in order that he may also benefit us, he reveals the set purpose of his mind thereupon, saying, A crooked heart hath not cleaved unto me; that is, one that cannot walk in an upright course. To such the blessed Baptist, as the forerunner of the Savior, cried, saying, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.

The man therefore was thoroughly an unbeliever, and perverse, refusing the straight paths, straying from the mark, and wandering from the right ways. And Christ deigns not to be with such as are thus minded, and have fallen into this wickedness; and if one may speak in the manner of men, He is tired and weary of them. And this He teaches us saying, How long shall I be with you, and suffer you? For he who says, that those were powerless for the expulsion of evil spirits, who by Christ's will had received power to cast them out, finds fault with the grace itself, rather than with the receivers of it. It was wicked blasphemy therefore: for if grace be powerless, the fault and blame is not theirs who have received it, but rather belongs to the grace itself. For any who will may see that the grace wrought in them was Christ's. For, for instance, the lame man at the beautiful gate of the temple was made whole; but Peter ascribed the miracle to Christ, saying to the Jews, For Him Whom ye crucified, even by Him this man stands before you whole: and the grace which He bestows hath given him this soundness. Elsewhere the same blessed Peter proclaimed to one of those who were healed by Him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ healeth thee. It is plain therefore in every way that the man wickedly found fault with Christ's power in saying of the holy apostles, "they could not cast it out."

And besides, Christ is angry when wrong is done unto the holy preachers who have been entrusted with the word of His Gospel, and appointed to teach it to all under heaven, inasmuch as witness is borne them by His grace, that they are His disciples, and they shed the light of the true knowledge of God on those who everywhere were convinced by their doctrines, and the wonderful miracles they wrought. For the miracle constantly, so to speak, leads on to faith. It would have been deserved therefore, had the father of the demoniac gone away disappointed, and been refused the bounteous gift. But that no man might imagine that Christ also was unable to work the miracle, He rebuked the unclean spirit, and forthwith delivered the youth from his malady, and gave him to his father. For up to this time he had not been his father's, but the property of the spirit that possessed him: but being now delivered from his violence, he became once again his father's property, as Christ's gift: Who also gave the holy apostles authority to work divine miracles, and rebuke with irresistible might impure spirits, and crush Satan.

And the multitudes, the blessed Evangelist says, wondered at the majesty of God. When Christ then works miracles, it is God Who is glorified, and God only and solely. For He is by nature God, and His majesty is incomparable, and His supremacy without a rival, resplendent with the sovereignty of God the Father. He is therefore to be extolled with praises, and let us say unto him, “O Lord God of powers, Who is like unto Thee? Powerful art Thou, O Lord, and Thy truth is round about Thee.” For all things are possible to Him, and easy to accomplish, and nothing whatsoever is too difficult or high—by Whom and with Whom, to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen.

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