Today, September 13, is the Memorial of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Father and Doctor of the Church.
St. John became Bishop of Constantinople in 397 and began a reform of priestly life. He suffered exile from his See twice because of the hostility of the Byzantine Empire and because of his enemies. After serving faithfully he died on September 14, 407. Because of his eloquent preaching, he was given the name chrysostom, or “golden mouth.”
St. John’s message of endurance during difficult times is especially pertinent today, as faithful Catholics attempt to manage the storms brought on by the sins of priests and bishops. So often in her history, the turbulence suffered by the Church has been provoked by her own members. It is during such times that faithful Catholics must be willing to stand for Christ and dedicate themselves even more firmly to right living and to the redemptive mission of Christ and His Church.
From a homily by St. John Chrysostom:
“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. Exile? The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord. The confiscation of our goods? We brought nothing into this world, and we shall surely take nothing form it. I have only contempt for the world’s threats, I find its blessings laughable. I have no fear of poverty, no 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.
“Do you not hear the Lord saying: Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst? Will he be absent, then, when so many people united in love are gathered together? I have his promise; I am surely not going to rely on my own strength! I have what he has written; that is my staff, my security, my peaceful harbor. Let the world be in upheaval. I hold to his promise and read his message; that is my protecting wall and garrison. What message? Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world.”
Father, the strength of all who trust in you, you made John Chrysostom renowned for his eloquence and heroic in his sufferings. May we learn from his teaching and gain courage from his patient endurance.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
From: The Liturgy of the Hours
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.