Friday, September 13, 2013

Saint John Chrysostom

St John Chrysostom (349-407 AD)

Saint John Chrysostom was born in Antioch about the year 349. After an extensive education he embraced a life of asceticism. He was ordained a priest and distinguished himself by his preaching which achieved great spiritual results among his hearers.  He was elected Bishop of Constantinople in 397 and proved himself a capable pastor, committed to reforming the life of the clergy and the faithful. Twice he was forced into exile by the hatred of the imperial court and the envy of his enemies. After he had completed his difficult labors, he died in Pontus on September 14, 407. His preaching and writing explained Catholic doctrine and presented the ideal Christian life. For this reason he was called Chrysostom, meaning Golden Mouth.
From one of his homilies: “The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us, but we do not fear drowning, for we stand firmly upon a rock. Let the sea rage, it cannot break the rock. Let the waves rise, they cannot sink the boat of Jesus. What are we to fear? Death? Life to me means Christ, and death is gain. Are we to fear exile? The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord. Are we to fear the confiscation of our goods? We brought nothing into the world, and we shall surely take nothing from it. I have only contempt for the world’s threats, I find its blessings laughable. I have no fear of poverty, nor desire for wealth. I am not afraid of death nor do I long to live, except for your good. I concentrate therefore on the present situation and I urge you, my friends, to have confidence.” (From the Office of Readings)

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