Blog Post - September 13th
S. John Chrysostom| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio|Divine Mercy Reflection
St. John Chrysostom
The ambiguity and intrigue surrounding John, the great preacher (his name means "golden-mouthed") from Antioch, are characteristic of the life of any great man in a capital city. Brought to Constantinople after a dozen years of priestly service in Syria, John found himself the reluctant victim of an imperial ruse to make him bishop in the greatest city of the empire. Ascetic, unimposing but dignified, and troubled by stomach ailments from his desert days as a monk, John became a bishop under the cloud of imperial politics.
If his body was weak, his tongue was powerful. The content of his sermons, his exegesis of Scripture, were never without a point. Sometimes the point stung the high and mighty. Some sermons lasted up to two hours.
His lifestyle at the imperial court was not appreciated by many courtiers. He offered a modest table to episcopal sycophants hanging around for imperial and ecclesiastical favors. John deplored the court protocol that accorded him precedence before the highest state officials. He would not be a kept man.
His zeal led him to decisive action. Bishops who bribed their way into office were deposed. Many of his sermons called for concrete steps to share wealth with the poor. The rich did not appreciate hearing from John that private property existed because of Adam's fall from grace any more than married men liked to hear that they were bound to marital fidelity just as much as their wives were. When it came to justice and charity, John acknowledged no double standards.
Aloof, energetic, outspoken, especially when he became excited in the pulpit, John was a sure target for criticism and personal trouble. He was accused of gorging himself secretly on rich wines and fine foods. His faithfulness as spiritual director to the rich widow, Olympia, provoked much gossip attempting to prove him a hypocrite where wealth and chastity were concerned. His actions taken against unworthy bishops in Asia Minor were viewed by other ecclesiastics as a greedy, uncanonical extension of his authority.
Theophilus, archbishop of Alexandria, and Empress Eudoxia were determined to discredit John. Theophilus feared the growth in importance of the Bishop of Constantinople and took occasion to charge John with fostering heresy. Theophilus and other angered bishops were supported by Eudoxia. The empress resented his sermons contrasting gospel values with the excesses of imperial court life. Whether intended or not, sermons mentioning the lurid Jezebel (1 Kings 9:1—21:23) and impious Herodias (Mark 6:17-29) were associated with the empress, who finally did manage to have John exiled. He died in exile in 407.
John Chrysostom's preaching, by word and example, exemplifies the role of the prophet to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. For his honesty and courage he paid the price of a turbulent ministry as bishop, personal vilification and exile.
Bishops "should set forth the ways by which are to be solved very grave questions concerning the ownership, increase and just distribution of material goods, peace and war, and brotherly relations among all people" (Vatican II, Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops, 12).
Patron Saint of:
Disrespect comes with many faces. Sometimes what is unspoken speaks louder than any words.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Always remember the reason why the Son of God came to earth, that it was in order to save us.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Four: 237-262
We continue to the fourth notebook that Saint Faustina filled with reflections and revelations from Jesus. As we enter into this notebook, allow yourself to seek God in the silence. This chapter begins with Saint Faustina revealing that she was experiencing a “dark night” (Diary #1235). She lacked the sensory feelings of closeness to God. By analogy, it would be as if you were in a dark room filled with treasures and someone told you that all the treasures of this room were yours. You could not see them but you trusted the person who spoke about all that was around you. Knowledge of these treasures filled your mind even though the darkness hid them from your eyes.
So it is with God. Saint Faustina loved our Lord with all her heart and with every beat of her heart. She knew His closeness and love. But it appears that she could not sense this through her human senses. This gift of darkness allowed her to enter into a relationship with God on a spiritual level far deeper.
Seek this depth of relationship with God as you read through this chapter. Move beyond a desire to feel close to God and allow yourself to become close to God. He wants to enter your heart on a much deeper level than you ever knew possible. Be open to the newness of a relationship shrouded in darkness and allow the Lord to communicate His Mercy to you on this new level of love.
Reflection 256: Doing Your Best
Saint Mother Teresa is often quoted as saying that God asks us to be faithful, not successful. In other words, we are called to offer our best to the Lord, striving to be faithful to His holy Will, and then leave the rest to Him. At times it may appear that our “best” does not produce the desired good fruit that we desire. Perhaps an attempt you make at reconciling with another failed. Or perhaps you put your heart and soul into some apostolic work and it never appeared to take off in the way you had hoped. There is great freedom in the realization that all we are called to do is be faithful, not successful. “Success” is measured by God, not by human standards. We are truly “successful” only when we are faithful to the Will of God and diligent in committing ourselves to His divine work. If we are faithful in this way, nothing else matters. Do your best and leave the rest to God (See Diary #1295).
Reflect upon your level of commitment to the Will of God. Committing yourself to God’s holy Will is not the same as committing yourself to perfect success in all you do. Even if everything you do appears to end in failure, you please God when you are faithful to Him without worrying about the results. God sees your heart and wants your good works to be offered to Him and done in accordance with His Will. Nothing else in life matters. Seek fidelity above success and you will delight the merciful Heart of our Lord.
Lord, I give myself to You for Your service and glory. I commit myself to all that You call me to do and pray that I may serve Your Will in fidelity and diligence. Use me, dear Lord, as You will and help me to leave the rest to You. Jesus, I trust in You.