A couple years ago my mentor, Father Rand York, gave me a copy of Lectures on the Christian Sacraments by St. Cyril of Jerusalem. It is not particularly long by modern standards, but it’s exceedingly dense in it’s presentation. St. Cyril, it must be noted, was a staunch defender of the Faith, battling the arguments of the Arian Heretics.
The lectures themselves were written around the time the Roman Empire stopped persecuting Christians. Because of this, more people started showing up on the church’s doorstep looking to become Christians. So, the obvious question: are they really converts or just looking to join the club because it’s safe now? In a country like ours (here assumes you’re reading this in the United States) that doesn’t persecute Christians, that’s an ongoing issue. St. Cyril took the task head on. What follows is a summary of one of the lectures: Procatechesis, or an argument for teaching:
St. Cyril immediately starts with the calling of God: God is the one who calls, He is the one who initiates. God is extravagant in his treatment of us. You (here meaning the convert he is instructing) are standing on the threshold, fully receive the Grace of God being bestowed on you. But, don’t imagine that you can force your way in, you must have been invited. You must be fully converted.
You may have come with bad intentions, or for the wrong reasons. And yet God will avail himself of the opportunity. However, realize the seriousness of what you have entered into. Stop perpetually sinning, turn from your old ways. Receive the teachings of the church. Understand that testing will come: embrace it for your eternal good. So understand that you need to be taught so you will survive the testing. Be built up in Christ.
A word of warning: the spiritual teachings you will receive are worse than useless to you if you are unrepentant in your sins, it is in fact bad medicine for the unsaved. Join in the fellowship of the church, she is your mother, join with her sons and daughters. Learn sexual purity and continue in it. Allow all these things to impact you, to transform your way of thinking. Allow the light of Christ to permeate you and radiate out from you. The Faith given to you must be guarded. However, ultimately it is God who saves, so let your soul rest in Him.
Read it here, it’s only 17 paragraphs.