315-368. Doctor of Christ's Divinity. Feast, Jan 13th.
began to discover union with God, as all will, by living a good life
and reading the bible. Good works and faith join us to God in a
special manner that is intimate and sacred. If you think you are too
old to serve the church, investigate Hilary. If you are married and
have a child you might be able to identify with Hilary more readily
because he too was married, including a daughter, named Apra. Hilary wasn't always
a believer, so if you were ever a non-believer, you might be able to
find something in common with Hilary.
with God or any of the saints, that you might feel some identity with, is the beginning
to prayer that can be holistic and reassuring. Faith is a powerful gift
that can capture one's heart and mind and motivate one to draw strength and
inspiration. Try conversing with Hilary! Inasmuch as Hilary is the
only doctor of the church who was married, he could serve as a
superb model for all husbands. His role as bishop would also provide
an excellent example for those in that category.
Our converted and
reformed doctor was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1851,
nearly a millennium and a half after he died. Thanks to St Hilary's
unmovable stance on the divinity of Jesus Christ, many Christians,
down through the ages, have developed a personal devotion to the
sacred divinity and humanity of Jesus. After all, he is both man and
God. We can only know both by faith. By his defeat of the Arian
heresy, the catholic church upheld this dogma and doctrine which is
one of her finest jewels and precious treasures. This fact establishes our
faith as one of a kind and it is one of the most incredible facts
and tenets of our religion. In the West, Hilary was the most
tenacious and formidable adversary of Arianism according to
Father Luigi Gambero whose book is listed in the sources.
There were nine
doctors of the church alive during the lifetime of Hilary. There
hasnít been one doctor alive in our lifetime,(2000) prior to St Therese,
for around two hundred years. When the church was beginning to
flourish during the fourth century there were serious problems with
the actual defining and describing who was Jesus Christ. There was a
great emphasis on clarifying this marvelous carpenter who had died
only about three hundred years previously. Many of the doctors grew up
together and some entered the monastery or ministry together. Hilary was a singularly different doctor being
Hilary was living with his wife when he was chosen to
become a bishop. He accepted this vocation and role rather
reluctantly. His family was well known and lived in France. He was
not young, brought up as a Pagan and found God gradually. If you
research and read his life you will discover that he admitted being
brought up in idolatry. He became the Bishop of
Poitiers, France. Although he wrote a commentary on St. Matthew's
gospel and the Psalms, his most noted writings were on the Trinity.
This was considered his masterpiece and doctors Augustine, Leo and
Thomas praised it for is theological clarity and insights. Most of
what he wrote was in defending the church against Arianism and
semi-Arianism. He is also credited with the earliest Latin-hymn
writing. He caught the attention of the entire church by removing
scandals and restoring discipline, peace and purity of faith. Hilary
staunchly defended the Nicene Creed and everything that it clearly
This saint protected the church from the Arians and
the emperor and wouldn't go along with their interference in catholic
matters. He too was exiled like other doctors and church leaders. He
wrote the emperor offering public debate about the Arian issue.
However, another bishop, who was a friend of the emperor, and who
had banned Hilary, convinced the emperor to keep him away. It was only much
later that his chief accuser, the Arian bishop, was excommunicated
Our married doctor-bishop was accused of being a
"disturber of the peace" and a troublemaker. The church was in a
state of turmoil during this period. Heretical and orthodox
doctrines clashed. Much of the trouble came not from ideas but
from the wording of specific ideas. Hilary was really a reconciler and
attempted to counsel the bishops of the West to reserve condemnation
to the Arians. He was a gentle person who guarded the church by
reconciling the bishops of France who, in fear or ignorance,
accepted the Arian creed. There was obviously much confusion.
Because Arian denied the divinity of Christ, Hilary felt the church
was threatened by unsound doctrine. There were a lot of political
collusions and it seemed that all the force of the empire came
crushing down on Hilary.
Arianism denied the divinity of
Christ. It spread rapidly during Hilaryís lifetime. The emperor,
Constantius, ordered all the bishops of the West to sign a
condemnation of Athanasius, the great defender of the faith in the
East. Hilary refused! He was banished from France. He suffered exile
as many others have done than to deny the belief that Jesus Christ
was fully God both in his sacred humanity and divinity. Thank God
for Hilaryís courageous stance. Where would our faith be without
Followers of Christ within the church, down through the
centuries, have experienced controversy, problems, pain and
frustration. This goes on today when different bishops say different
things that seem to be a contradiction or are interpreted wrongly or
inaccurately. Contradictions and daily challenges are the lot of
authentic Christian living. We should not be surprised or confused
in this manner.
We are constantly confronted with matters of
conscience. We need to act and make decisions based upon our beliefs
or change our beliefs that we can accept 100%. Life isnít always
easy. We are living in a valley of tears whether we want to admit it
or not. Our traditional prayers inform us that although we have not
been exiled as many of our brave forefathers for our faith, we
nevertheless are in exile on earth. This is not our true and final
home. We are on a journey home. We do not have on earth a final
resting-place as we journey toward heaven. We constantly are being
tested and tried with regard to our principles, our belief and our
faith. Life is a test and Hilary and other defenders of our faith
like him are superb models to help us Ďweather the storms of lifeí.
Where there is unity, discord will be minimum. Human nature
is notorious faultfinding, divisive and petty. The entire mission
and message of Jesus is to unite and help us establish harmony.
Heaven will be perfect accord. On earth, we have to gingerly agree
to disagree. God speaks to all and respect should be the
responsibility of all. To be united with God requires sensitive
listening, learning and acting. Respecting others and what they say allows us
to live together in peace. Real peace is not only the absence of
war. True peace is Godís gift to us. A peacemaker is one who seeks
unity. Those who sincerely practice prayer and are peacemakers bless
this world with abundant peace.
ďHilary tells us that in
reading the bible the true believer must go beyond a purely
superficial interpretation of the sacred text, because the word of
God, in addition to its literal sense, conceals a deeper, spiritual
or allegorical meaning. This deeper meaning has to be understood
before one can achieve a full and perfect comprehension of the
textĒ- taken from Gambero.
Hilaryís main writings on the
Trinity and the defense on Christís divinity reveal Godís peace for
us. When we embrace that trinitarian belief, Godís peace in us will
be seen by others. It breaks forth and shines like the sun through
the clouds. The Almighty has a marvelous way of revealing the
Godhead when we allow the Supreme Being in us to move and guide our
thoughts, words and action. God is above all a Revealer. Our Father
has already sent the Son in flesh. His flesh is alive in us.
Although Christ himself hides himself in our flesh, we should never
doubt his presence. Listen to the beautiful quote of Hilary, the Doctor of the
Church about what he said of Christ's divinity.
ďIt is Christ dwelling in us through his flesh
who gives us lifeĒ.
The humanity of Christ is inseparable from his
divinity. Arianism denied this.
Hilaryís chief focus in
attempting to defeat Arianism was to establish the divinity of
Christ and his authentic peaceful message contained in the gospels.
Hilary introduced Eastern theology to the West. He contributed to
the development of Hymnology. He was a true champion and is called
the ĎAthanasius of the Westí because of his struggles against those
who wanted to deny Christís claim as the Son of God and Son of
The following is a prayer written by Hilary which shows
his profound insight:
"Keep this piety of my faith undefiled, I
beseech you, and let this be the utterance of my convictions even to
the last breath of my spirit: that I may always hold fast to that
which I profess in the creed of my regeneration when I was baptized
in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, namely, that I may adore you,
our Father, and your Son together with you, and that I may gain the
favor of your Holy Spirit who is from you through the only-begotten.
He is a suitable witness for my faith who says: 'Father, all things
that are mine are thine, and thine are mine,' my Lord Jesus Christ,
who always abides as God in you, from you and with you who is
blessed forever and ever. Amen"
It is fitting that when we
celebrate the Lordís baptism, which falls on the exact day as
Hilary's feast day this year (1/13/08), we meditate on the above
words of Hilary and the above highlighted words: "when I was
baptized" and relate it to our own baptism and Jesusí words. We
might with Christ and Hilary ponder our own baptism. Who was it that
baptized us? Who were our sponsors? What was the name of the church
where the event took place? It will only be through the awareness of
the Holy Spirit that each of us will be cognizant of our mission,
our calling and our metier. Each of us have an apostolate, a
profession and a ministry. Only Godís light will show us the way. If
we are to please our heavenly Father as Jesus always did, then we
must allow the light, wisdom and voice of God to penetrate our
heart, mind and actions.
The above prayer of Hilary reveals
that it was sometimes a struggle not to deny Christ when the Arian
heresy was in full force. It can be a struggle for us today. He is
one of our great models who lived under intense persecution. For
that reason the church holds him in great honor and does not forget
what he endured. Many rather easily denied Christ. This
acknowledgement caused Hilary to be exiled along with many of our
forefathers. Most of us will hardly ever experience this type of
treatment. What has been passed down to us modern-day Christians is
a great gift that we can not fully appreciate unless God graces us
with his gift. We ought to thank God for this great gift by
exercising our faith, faithfully. This requires, to some degree,
conformity to our religion. Then, as we advance in the spiritual
life, our living the faith will attain uniformity. This steeps us in holiness
and oneness with creatures and the Creator.
Our saint would
tell us that Christís divinity and humanity are two distinct natures
united in one Person. You canít have one without the other. In fact,
some doctors of the church went so far as to say that it is only
through the humanity that one will ever fully know the divinity. In
church history we had a hersey called Eutychianism. This lethal
heresy denied the human nature of Christ. Humans need humans. God is
pure Spirit. Christ bridges the gap physically and spiritually. That
is why the Church adamantly defends his precious natures and why we
should too. We do this by touching, tasting and telling this lovable
person how we feel and think about him frequently. The God-Man longs
for us to hold conversations with him in order that he may lavish
his gifts and graces upon us.
The above prayer of Hilary
leaves no doubt, unsureness or ambiguity that Jesus is both God and
man. If one can not understand how the eternal Word was made sacred
flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, it is understandable and a
mystery. The Supreme Being, the Trinity itself, is a solemn mystery.
That truth states that there are three persons united in one union
and unity in God.
The knowledge of Jesus Christ deepens with
the practicing and learning of oneís faith. The church invites this
realization to become fully perceived as no other religion can
achieve. By participating in the real person of Jesus, both humanly
and divinely, daily, through her abundant and powerful sources,
especially in daily mass and communion, our faith is strengthened
and enriched. By tasting, touching and talking with Jesus through
his real body, blood, soul and divinity within the sacred species of
bread and wine, after consecration, oneís feelings, ideas and faith
in Christ and neighbor are nourished, sustained and profoundly
This type of prayer and involvement is
unquestionably the sources of unimaginable Christlike transformation
and blessings. This is genuine Catholicism touching all creation
spiritually. This personal contact with God affords us the grace to
pick ourselves up daily as we fail and struggle with lifeís
challenges. It fortifies us to venture out and attempt to do more
for Godís creatures by reason of our union with the Creator of those
same creatures. We actually know, feel and identify by reason of our
assimilation into Christ. This is not theory about the mystical
body. We become the mystical body. We are the mystical body. We
realize more perceptionally that we are all connected to Christ in a
mysterious manner. We are the mystical body, blood, soul and
divinity by actual participation and involvement. Like natural food,
we become what we eat supernaturally. The banquet of our Lord is a
glorious feast that makes the angels marvel and cry out: holy, holy,
The daily accessibility to Jesus Christ is
too Ďmind-bogglingí to imagine, conceive or hoped for. God has, as it
were, outdone himself, in gifts and giving. Holy Communion is
impossible to prepare adequately for or to daily receive. Some
saints grasped the awesomeness of this bestowal and preferred not to
receive communion unless there was ample time to make a
thanksgiving. It is for many reasons that Hilary would advise us to
approach Mary in prayer and preparation to help us receive her Son
in holy communion because it is both natural and supernatural. She
is the Mother of the man and the Mother of God. Mary is a marvelous
and wise guide. No one knew Jesus as Mary and she will be our
spiritual mother too as she helped Hilary when he met his
challenges. When we meet oppositions, Mary will be there, as she was
there for Jesus and Hilary.
The last great church council,
Vatican II, expressed twelve times in her written constitution that
Jesusí Mother, Mary, is ďMother of GodĒ. Wasnít she also a spiritual mother to
all twelve of the apostles? When we prayerfully ponder the
gospel, the same Spirit who inspired Hilary will inspire us
Thanks to Hilary and others, we have been helped to live
out their faith, and ours now, by perpetuating this faith through
their inspired writings indicating that Christís two natures are
adored, treasured, cherished and loved. Hopefully our life will be
gradually but irrevocably changed and transformed as often as we
partake of the 'Bread of Angels' and the 'Flesh of the Son of Man' and
The doctor of Christís divinity, Hilary, staunchly
defended the divinity of Christ by safeguarding for the church,
Christís humanity. Christ is the invisible, Intruder who comes into
a nature that was foreign to him. His aim is to invite and draw
foreign and sinful intruders into his two natures. Jesusí divinity
becomes our humanity and our humanity becomes divinized through his
divinity when we accept him in that manner.
comes to us daily. He is disguised, invisible and invincible in
order to allow us to practice our faith, challenge our trust and
fortified us in virtue. His historical coming over 2000 years ago is the
same yesterday, today and tomorrow from a spiritual perspective.
Thatís the message of scripture, the gospels and our catholic faith.
It is a sublime mystery. It is too incredible to be a possibility
yet it remains a historical event. The human mind can not possibly
conceive of what God has done for humankind. It staggers our mind
from a creative standpoint and it should makes us tremble from a
Neither the church's teaching authority nor
theologians have ever maintained that the necessary formal effect of
biblical inspiration is historicity. That they are inspired does not
make them historical. If items or details in them are judged to be
historical, they are so for reasons other than their
For those who struggle with their faith or do
not practice it, God understands. There is always time on earth to
learn and grow spiritually for those who seek and want God. One
doesnít have to have religion to know and love God. Wisdom cries
from the street daily. Look at nature. Examine a flower. Everything
cries aloud about the Creator. Everything in nature is a prayer
beckoning us to praise the Author. Religion challenges us to hope.
The church traditionally always ends her liturgical prayers
with the acknowledgement of the Father, Son or Holy Ghost. Our
eternal Father is always blessing us with the Spirit through the Son
who was sent to redeem us. It is always through him and with him and
in him in the unity of the Holy Spirit that all honor and glory is
given to the Father. Amen.
Non believers can know God from
nature. Someone has said that the amen of nature is always a flower.
Perhaps that person who said that received his or her inspiration
from Christ who told us to look at the flowers of the field and see
how they grow. Jesus informed us that the glory of old and all of
Solomonís wisdom (who was reputed to be the wisest of the wise), is
nothing compared to how God clothed and covered the beauty of the
fields with the lilies. Smell the scent of the lilies especially
during the Easter season. It is enough to intoxicate you. The church
lavishes their altars and drenches us with inebriated aromas to
remind us of Christ's powerful and exuberant presence.
humanity and divinity of the Man-God represents our natural and our
supernatural world. Neither our senses nor our souls can grasp this
profound mystery and ravishment. Our senses can not contain, hold or
capture fully the pleasing scent of natureís Easter lilies. How are
we going to be able to fathom the rich flooding of our senses when
Christ's divinity and humanity is given us? In communion, the body
and blood is placed in our mouth, on our tongue and seeps into our
blood stream. We can only bow in humble adoration. Words canít
express the inexpressible. Our soul can only fumble about. We are
often speechless or numb depending on the consolations which God
affords. Sometimes wonder and silence speaks volumes to God when we
It is the practice of our faith that speaks for
us. Hilary and our loved ones, who have gone before us in faith,
speak for us. It is the seeds of martyrs and those who stood up for
truth that speak for us. It is those who have suffered persecution
or who were exiled for that faith, that speak for us. They give us
appreciation for our precious heritage.
Christís divinity and
humanity are one for us. He is united to encourage us to be united
with one another. That unity extends to the living and the dead.
Thatís the most earnest prayer of Jesus: that all may be one (living
and deceased) as the Father is in the Son through their mutual
Spirit. Thatís the mystery of God. Itís mystical. Itís now. Itís the
'Mystical Body' of the church and those who belong to it in faith,
hope or charity. Itís for those with or without religion or, without
The Spirit and St Hilary of Poitiers inspire us to
appreciate and value this sublime truth. Mary, the Mother of God is
the Mother, Nurse and Flower of the church. She gave Jesus physical
birth and his Father and Spirit gave him spiritual conception and
birth. Mary nourished him as a baby and as a man. She was his divine
treat. He was always returning home to her. They each gave and
shared mutual love and encouragement despite the daily hatred,
misunderstanding and misinterpretation of his sacred message.
It was through the prophets, like the Baptizer, the apostles
and those consecrated virgins and martyrs who have contributed to
the memory of Jesus. However, it is the Spirit, which allows us to
become more aware of the total divinity and humanity of Jesus and to
be understood according to our ability. The missionaries and the
evangelizers and ourselves perpetuated the spread of our faith. It
is through our forefathers and the Doctors of the Church, especially
our devoted Hilary, with his devout attitude to life, religion and Christ, that has allowed the church to bloom and
flourish through Jesusí humanity and divinity. He is the Son of Mary
in time and the Son of God in eternity. St Mary and God have shared
him with us. He is shared as man and he is shared as God. Our God is
man and our man is our God. It is very simple and very sublime.
Jesusí message through the church and the gospel is ďThe kingdom of
God is within us.Ē The words of our Bishop of Poitiers bear
repeating. He said that it is Christ dwelling in us through his
flesh who gives us life. Remember that he acknowledged himself as a
Pagan, father, maverick, too old to serve the church, ignorant of
the bible and most reluctant about religion. What God did for him,
the Almighty can do for us if we have faith and believe in Jesus as
both man and God. This is our faith. Treasure it well!
Father Gamberoís book, which I have used frequently and which is
listed in the sources, St Hilary boldly and bravely attested to the
mystery of Mary. And that is what Mary is: the "Mystical Rose". Hilary
was sensitive and attentive to the Spirit and to the Mother of the
Lord. The Mother of Jesus has a place of considerable importance in
the writings of St Hilary. He speaks of her universally and not only
from his local Christian community acting as bishop.
holds that the virginal conception of Jesus must have been such an
overwhelming and sublime experience for his Mother that he could not
imagine any choice other than a life lived in perpetual virginity.
It became unthinkable for her to contemplate a conjugal life in the
normal sense of the termĒ
On Hilaryís feast day in 2001, the
gospel of Mark concludes by pointing out Jesusí words. ďPeople who
are healthy do not need a doctor; sick people do. I have come to
call sinners, not the self-righteous.Ē
The following is the Life of St Hilary from the Concise Edition on The Lives of the Saints by Butlerís "Lives of the Saints" and edited by Michael Walsh with a forward by Cardinal Basis Hume, O.S.B. and published by Harper & Row, Publishers, San Francisco, 1985.
St Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church (c. A.D. 368)
St Hilary was born at Poitiers, and his family was illustrious in Gaul. He himself testifies that he was brought up in idolatry, and gives us a detailed account of the steps by which God conducted him to a knowledge of the faith when somewhat advanced in years.
The Emperor Constantius and a synod of Milan in 355 required all bishops to sign the condemnation of St Athanasius: such as refused to comply were banished. St Hilary wrote on that occasion his ĎFirst Book to Constantiusí , in which he entreated him to restore peace to the Church.
Hilary had been married before his conversion, and his wife, by whom he had a daughter names Apra, was yet living when he was chosen bishop of Poitiers, about the year 350. He did all in his power to escape this promotion; but his humility only made the people more earnest in their choice; and, indeed, their expectations were not disappointed, for his eminent qualities shone forth so brilliantly as to attract the attention not only Gaul, but of the whole Church. Soon after he was raised to the Episcopal dignity he composed, before his exile, a commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew, which is still extant. That on the Psalms he compiled after his banishment. From that time on the Arian controversy chiefly employed his pen.
St Hilary went into exile about the middle of the year 356, and remained there for some years, which time he employed in composing several learned works. The principal and most esteemed of these is that On the Trinity. The earliest Latin hymn-writing is associated with the name of Hilary of Poitiers.
The emperor, again interfering in the affairs of the Church, assembled a council of Arians, at Seleucia in Isauria, to neutralize the decrees of the Council of Nicea. St Hilary, who had then passed three years in Phrygia, was invited by the semi-Arians, who hoped that he would be useful to their party in crushing those who adhered strictly to the doctrine of Arius. But he boldly defended the decrees of Nicea, till at last, tired out with controversy, he withdrew to Constantinople and presented to the emperor a request, called his ĎSecond Book to Constantiusí, begging permission to hold a public disputation about religion with Saturninus, the author of his banishment. The issue of this challenge was that the Arians, dreading such a trial, persuaded the emperor to rid the East of a man who never ceased to disturb its peace. Constantius accordingly sent him back into Gaul in 360.
St Hilary returned through Illyricum and Italy to confirm the weak. He was received at Poitiers with great demonstrations of joy. A synod in Gaul, convoked at the instance of Hilary, condemned that of Rimini in 359; and Saturninus, proving obstinate, was excommunicated and deposed. Scandals were removed, discipline, peace and purity of faith were restored. The death of Constantius in 361 put an end to the Arian persecution. Hilary undertook a journey to Milan in 364 to confute Auxentius, the Arian usurper of that see, and in a public disputation obliged him to confess Christ to be the true God, of the same substance and divinity with the Father. St Hilary, indeed, saw through his hypocrisy; but Auxentius so far imposed on the Emperor Valentinian as to pass for orthodox. Hilary died at Poitiers, probably in the year 368, but neither the year nor the day can be determined with certainty.
St Hilary was proclaimed a doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1851
Hilary's links are below on the following subject: 1) On the Councils, on the Faith of the Easterns; 2) On the Trinity 3) Homilies on the Psalms:
was a nonbeliever at one time. If anyone is a nonbeliever or who was
Catholic once and is no longer practicing their faith, they might
want to click the below link for inactive Catholics:
is the only Doctor of the Church who was married and a father. The
below sites and information are on Christian fatherhood, womanhood,
family, marriage and the engaged.
St. Joseph's Covenant
Keepers, Christian fatherhood: online resource for dads:
voice of women for faith and family:
Certainly one the best steps to take for married couples
should they experience difficulties, challenges, and serious problems in their marriages and are searching for God's answer for the solution with grace. See link below.
book, Secular Saints by author Joan Carroll Cruz, lists over 100 married
couples that are canonized or beatified. It is an exciting book that
will stimulate your marriage and draw you into union with God. This
marvelous book, written by the best selling author of the The Incorruptibles will enlighten and move you to new heights. Mrs Cruz
writes with incredible clarity and inspiration. Her writings are
profoundly exemplary and most needed in an age when the 'state of
marriage' has changed dramatically. Go to:
Then look up the title: "Secular Saints."
The below link on this site contains a number of
secular saints from the author's book.
THE DOCTORS AND SECULAR SAINTS
A fascinating link of St Hilary of Poitiers taken from the web site below from the ministry of Dr Marcellino D'Ambrosio plus much more.
Saint Hilary Poitiers
The below web site contains comprehensive resources on our church, faith, the bible, saints, writings, apologetics, evangelization, family issues, links, and many pertinent services. This superior and highly organized web site (see Table of Content) is a most fascinating site with beautiful prayers, devotions, and really too much to enumerate. A truly universal catholic site.