Caesarius was above all a preacher, and the collection of his Sermones is among the most important works of his time. Given his habit of drawing on other authors, the homilies were nearly all dispersed, often confused among Augustine’s sermons. G. Morin has identified and published them after many years’ labor, 238 in number not all certainly authentic, on various subjects: admonitions to the faithful, celebrations of saints and feasts and interpretation of scriptural passages. Cote d’Ivoire Subway Map Some are addressed to monks. Caesarius understood the great importance of preaching to a mass of ignorant and barbarous people, to impart that minimum of instruction indispensable for the practice of the Christian religion. For this reason he not only preached assiduously but also collected his preaching in corpora, which he circulated for the use of other clergy less able than himself and inclined to neglect preaching, a matter in which he constantly appealed to bishops and priests.
This primary need to spread the word gave rise to Caesarius’s characteristic and effective preaching style: he adapted his language to the modest level and needs of his listeners, aiming to be brief, comprehensible and interesting. To this end he unhesitatingly used the material of others, esp. of Augustine, duly evaluated and adapted to his own ends. To capture and hold his audience’s interest, he loved to proceed by questions and answers, and he used similes, sometimes very extended, to present his concepts visually, always choosing images from everyday life and scenes familiar to his hearers. Above all, he insistently admonished his rough audience, recalling them to a minimum of Christian commitment and to the struggle against all sorts of vices: ignorance, drunkenness, intemperance, persistence in pagan practices. His interpretation of Scripture is mostly allegorical. Easily accessible doctrinal themes are not lacking. Soon after his death, some disciples wrote his biography, rich in information, one of the most important texts of Gallic hagiography. CPL 1008-1019a; G. Morin, S. Caesarii opera omnia, I, Maredsous 1937 = CCL 103-104, II, Maredsous 1942; SC 175.243 sermones; P. Rich, Csaire d’Arles, Paris 1958; S. Felici, La catechesi al popolo di S. Cesario di Arles, in Valori attuali della catechesi patristica, Rome 1979, 169-186; W.E. Klingshirn, Caesarius of Arles: The Making of a Christian Community in Late Antique Gaul, Cambridge 1994; K. Berg, C¤sarius von Arles. Ein Bischof des sechsten Jahrhunderts erschliesst das liturgische Leben seiner Zeit, Thaur-Vienna-Munich 1994.