St John is my Name Saint and a Father and Doctor of the Church, so here is the entire post:
John, surnamed Chrysostom on account of his golden eloquence, was born at Antioch. Having gone through the study of the law and the profane sciences, he applied himself, with extraordinary application and success, to the study of the Sacred Scriptures. Having been admitted to holy orders and made a priest of the Church at Antioch, he was appointed Bishop of Constantinople after the death of Nectarius by the express wish of the Emperor Arcadius. No sooner had he entered upon the pastoral charge, than he began to inveigh against the licentious lives led by the rich. This his courageous preaching procured him many enemies. He likewise gave great offence to the Empress Eudoxia because he had reproved her for having appropriated to herself the money belonging to a widow name, Callitropa, and for having taken possession of some land which was the property of another widow. At the instigation, therefore, of Eudoxia, several Bishops met together at Chalcedon. Chrysostom was cited to appear, which he refused to do, because it was not a Council either lawfully or publicly convened. He was sent into exile. He had not been gone long before the people rose in sedition on account of the Saint’s banishment and he was recalled to the immense joy of the whole city. But, his continuing to inveigh against the scandals which existed, and his forbidding the games held before the silver statue of Eudoxia which was set up in the space opposite Sancta Sophia, were urged by certain Bishops, enemies of the Saint, as motives for a second banishment. The widows and the poor of the city bewailed his departure as that of a father.
It is incredible how much Chrysostom had to suffer in this exile and how many he converted to the Christian faith. At the very time that Pope Innocent I, in a Council held at Rome, was issuing a decree ordering that Chrysostom should be set at liberty — he was being treated by the soldiers who were taking him into exile with unheard of harshness and cruelty. While passing through Armenia, the holy Martyr Basiliscus, in whose Church he had offered up a prayer, thus spoke to him during the night: “Brother John! We will be united together tomorrow.” On the following morning Chrysostom received the sacrament of the Eucharist and signing himself with the sign of the cross, he breathed forth his soul to his God, on the eighteenth of the Calends of October (September 14th). A fearful hailstorm happened at Constantinople after the Saint’s death, and four days later the Empress died. Theodosius, the son of Arcadius, had the Saint’s body brought to Constantinople with all due honour where, amid a large concourse of people, it was buried on the sixth of the Calends of February (January 27th). Theodosius, while devoutly venerating the Saint’s relics, interceded for his parents that they might be forgiven. The body was at a later period translated to Rome, and placed in the Vatican Basilica. All men agree in admiring the unction and eloquence of his sermons, which are very numerous, as indeed of all his other writings. He is also admirable in his interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures, which he explains in their genuine sense. It has always been thought that he was aided in his writings and sermons by Saint Paul the Apostle, to whom he entertained an extraordinary devotion.
Dom Prosper Gueranger:
Before our Emmanuel came upon this our Earth, men were as sheep without a shepherd. The flock was scattered, and the human race was hastening on to perdition. Jesus would, therefore, not only be the Lamb that was to be slain for our sins. He made Himself, moreover, a shepherd so that He might bring us all back to the divine fold. But as He had to leave us when He ascended into Heaven, He has provided for the wants of His sheep by providing us with a succession of Pastors who should, in His name, feed the flock, even to the end of the world. Now instruction, which is the light of life, is what the flock of Christ needs above all other things, and therefore our Emmanuel required that the Pastors of his Church should also be Doctors of sacred science.
The Pastor owes two things to his people: namely, the Word of God and the Sacraments. He is under the obligation of dispensing, personally and unceasingly, this twofold nourishment to his flock, and of laying down his very life, if needed, in the fulfilment of a duty on which rests the whole work of the world’s salvation.
But since the disciple is not above His Master, the Pastors and Doctors of the Christian people, if they are faithful in the discharge of their duties, are sure to be hated by the enemies of God, for they cannot spread the Kingdom of Christ without, at the same time, taking from the power of Satan. Hence it is that the history of the Church is filled with the persecutions endured by her Pastors and Doctors who continued the ministry of zeal and charity begun by Christ upon the Earth. These contests have been threefold, and gave occasion to three admirable victories.
The Pastors and Doctors of the Church have had to struggle with paganism which sought, by inflicting tortures and death, to oppose the preaching of the law of Christ. It was this sort of persecution which gave the Church such Saints as those whom we celebrate during this Season of Christmas — Polycarp, Ignatius, Fabian, Marcellus, Hyginus and Telesphorus. When the era of Persecution was over, the Pastors and Doctors of the Christian people had to engage with enemies of another kind. Kings and princes became children of the Church and then sought to make her their own slave. They imagined that it would serve their political interests to interfere with the liberty of the Word of God which, like the light of the sun, was intended to be carried without hindrance throughout the whole Earth. They usurped the priestly power, as did the pagan Caesars, and presumed to set limits to the administration of those sources of life which become corrupt as soon as they are touched by a profane hand. This usurpation gave rise to an incessant contest between the temporal and spiritual powers, and produced a second class of Martyrs. God has glorified His Church during this long period of struggle, and has given her, from time to time, a brave defender of ecclesiastical Liberty. We have met two of these champions of the Word and the holy ministry during our Christmastide — Thomas of Canterbury and Hilary of Poitiers.
But there is a third sort of battle in which the Pastors and Doctors of the flock of Christ have had to fight: it is the battle with the world and its vices. It began when Christianity began, and will continue to the day of Judgement. It was their courage in this battle that made so many saintly Prelates be hated for the name of Jesus Christ. Neither their charity, nor their services to mankind, nor their humility, nor their meekness, protected them from ingratitude, spleen, calumny and persecution. And what was their offence? They had been faithful in their duty of preaching the doctrines of their Divine Master, of encouraging virtue, and of chiding the sins of men. The amiable Francis of Sales was as much disliked and even hated by bad men as was John Chrysostom himself, whose triumph gladdens the Church today, and who stands near the crib of his Lord as one of the most illustrious Martyrs of pastoral duty courageously discharged.
Fervent in the service of his Saviour, even to the observance of the divine Counsels (for he had embraced the monastic life) this golden-mouthed Preacher made no other use of his wonderful gift of eloquence than that of urging men to the observance of the virtues taught in the Gospel, and of reproving every vice. Satan sought to have his revenge against our Saint by raising him many enemies. Among these were an Empress whose vanities and sins he had rebuked, men in power whose wickedness he had held up to notice, women of influence who would have him preach a morality more in accordance with their own depravity, a Bishop of Alexandria and certain Prelates of the court who were jealous of his virtues and still more so of his reputation. He is exceedingly loved by his people but neither that nor his great virtues protect him from persecution. He whose eloquence had enraptured the people of Antioch and won for him the enthusiastic admiration of the citizens of Constantinople, was deposed in a council convened for the purpose, his name was ordered to be cancelled from the diptychs of the altar notwithstanding the energetic protest of the Roman Pontiff, and at length he was condemned to exile and died on the way, worn out by the hardships and fatigues he had to go through. But, this Pastor, this Doctor, was not vanquished. He said in the midst of all his persecutions, “Woe is to me if I preach not the Gospel!” (1 Corinthians ix. 16). He made use, too, of those other words of the great Apostle: “The word of God is not bound” (2 Timothy ii. 9). The Church triumphed in him. She was more glorified and more consoled by the unflinching courage of Chrysostom who was led into captivity for having preached the Gospel of Christ, than she had been by the success achieved by his eloquence, an eloquence which Libanius was heard to covet for his pagan orators. Let us hearken to the thrilling words of Chrysostom which he addressed to the Faithful immediately before his last banishment. He had been sent into exile once before, but a terrific earthquake happening immediately after his departure, and which was looked upon as sent by Heaven to punish the authors of so crying an injustice — the Empress herself went, with tears in her eyes, to ask the Emperor to recall him. Accordingly, he was permitted to return. Shortly after, fresh occasions were sought for and John is again sentenced to exile. He receives the intimation with all the calmness of a Saint who knows that the whole Church is on his side. Let us study this glorious model of a Bishop trained in the school of our Jesus, who is, as the Apostle calls him, “the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls” (1 Peter ii. 25):
“Many are the waves and threatening are the storms which surround me, but I fear them not, for I am standing on the Rock. Let the sea roar. It cannot wash away the Rock: Let the billows mount as they will. They cannot sink the barque of our Lord Jesus Christ. And tell me, what would you have me fear? Death? To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians i. 21). Exile? “The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof” (Psalm xxiii. 1). Confiscation of my goods? We brought nothing into this world and, certainly, we can carry nothing out (1 Timothy vi. 7). No — the evils of this world are contemptible, and its goods deserve but to be laughed at. I fear not poverty, I desire not riches; I neither fear to die, nor wish to live, save for your advantage sake. Your interest alone induces me to speak of these things, and to ask of you by the love you bear me to take courage. For no-one can separate us. No human power can part what God has united. It is said of husband and wife: Wherefore, a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be two in one flesh (Genesis ii. 24): therefore, what God has joined together, let no man put asunder (Matthew xix. 6). You cannot, man, dissolve the nuptial tie — how do you hope to divide the Church of God? It is she whom you attack, because you cannot reach Him whom you fain would strike. You make me more glorious and you but waste your strength in warring against me, for it is hard for you to kick against the sharp goad (Acts ix. 6). You cannot blunt its point, and you make your own foot bleed, just as the billows when they dash against the rock, fall back mere empty froth. Believe me, O man, there is no power like the power of the Church. Cease your battling, lest you lose your strength. Wage not war with Heaven. When it is with man you war, you may win or lose, but when your fighting is against the Church it is impossible you should conquer, for God is above all in strength. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? (1 Corinthians x. 22). God founded, God gave firmness: who will be so bold as to attempt to pull down? Know you not His power? He looks upon the Earth and makes it tremble (Psalm ciii. 32). He gives His order, and that which trembled is made firm again. If He made firm the city after an earthquake had shaken it, how much more could He not give firmness to the Church? The Church is stronger than Heaven itself: “Heaven and Earth will pass, but my words will not pass” (Matthew xiv. 35). What words? “You are Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew xvi. 18).
If thou will not believe His word, believe facts. How many tyrants have sought to crush the Church? They had their gridirons, and fiery furnaces, and wild beasts, and swords — and all failed. Where are those enemies now? Buried and forgotten. And the Church? Brighter than the sun. All they had is now past, but her riches are immortal. If the Christians conquered when they were but few in number, can you hope to vanquish them now that the whole Earth is filled with the holy religion? Heaven and Earth will pass, but my words will not pass. Wonder not at it, or the Church is dearer to God than the very heavens. He took flesh not from Heaven, but from His Church on Earth. And Heaven is for the Church, not the Church for Heaven.
Be not troubled at what has happened. I ask this favour of you: be firm in your faith. Have you not observed, that,when Peter was walking on the waters and began to fear, he was in danger of sinking not because the sea was rough, but because his faith was weak? Have I been raised to this dignity by human intrigue? Was it man that brought me to it, or can man now depose me? I say not this from arrogance or boasting. God forbid I say it from the desire of calming your trouble. The devil no sooner saw that your city was tranquillised, than he plotted how he might disturb the Church. You wicked and most impious spirit! You could not throw down the walls of a city and you think you can make the Church fall? Does the Church consist of walls? he Church consists of the multitude of the Faithful. Look at her pillars and see how solid they are fastened, not by iron, but by faith. Not only is the great multitude itself more vehement than fire, but even one single Christian would conquer you. Have you forgotten the wounds you received from the Martyrs? Often the combatant was a tender maiden delicate as a flower, yet firmer than a rock. You mangled her flesh, but her faith was proof against all your tortures. Her blood fell as nature felt the wounds, but her faith fell not. Her body was torn, but her manly soul flinched not. What was material was spoilt, what was spiritual was untouched. You could not vanquish one woman and yet you hope to vanquish a whole people? Have you not heard these words of the Lord: “Where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”? (Matthew xviii. 20). And do you think He will not be in the midst of a numerous people, united together by the ties of charity? I have his pledge, and on that I trust, not on my own strength. I have His written promise. That is my staff, and my guarantee, and my tranquil port. What matters it to me if the whole world be upset — ave I not His written word? Have I not his letters? There is my rampart and there my defence. What letters? “I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Matthew xxviii. 20). Christ is with me — of whom shall I be afraid? Though stormy billows should rise up against me, though the sea should open to swallow me, though the wrath of kings should be kindled against me — I will heed them no more, than if they were so many spider’s webs. Had not my love for you kept me, I would have started this very day on my exile, for this is my constant prayer: O Lord! Your will be done (Matthew vi. 10). I will do your will. Not what such or such an one may will, but what you will. This is my tower of strength, this is my firm rock, this is my trusty staff. If God wills that I go, I will go. If He wills me to remain here, I will give Him thanks. Yes, wherever He wills me to go, I will bless His holy name.”
What humility and courage in this saintly minister of Christ! What a consolation for the Church when God sends her men like this! He has given four to the Eastern Church: Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzum, Basil and Chrysostom. In spite of the immense dangers to which faith was exposed during the age in which they lived, these four Holy Doctors, by their sanctity, learning and courage kept it alive among the people. Athanasius and Gregory appear to us in that period of the Ecclesiastical Year when the Church is radiant with her Easter joy and celebrates the Resurrection of her Divine Spouse. Basil’s feast gladdens us in the season of Pentecost when the Church is filled with the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Chrysostom comes at Christmastide and adds to the joy of the dear Mystery of Bethlehem. Let us, the favoured children of the Latin Church which alone has preserved the primitive faith because Peter is with her — let us honour these four faithful guardians of Tradition: let us today pay the homage of our devotion to Chrysostom, the Doctor of the universal Church, the conqueror of the world, the dauntless Pastor, the successor of the Martyrs, the Preacher by excellence, the admirer of Saint Paul, and the fervent imitator of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What a crown is yours, O Chrysostom! Oh how glorious is your name in the Church of both Heaven and Earth! You preached the gospel in truth, you fought the battle of your Lord with courage, you suffered for the cause of justice and you gave up your life in defence of the liberty of God’s word. The applause of men did not make you less stern in claiming the rights of God, and the gift of apostolic eloquence with which the Holy Ghost had enriched you was but a feeble image of the divine fire which burned within your heart, and which made you love the Word Incarnate, Christ Jesus our Lord, more than your own glory, or happiness, or life. You were calumniated by wicked men. Your name was erased from the tablets of the holy altar and like your divine Master, you were condemned as a criminal and deposed from the episcopal throne. But as well might men strive to eclipse the sun, as efface your loved name from the memory of the Christian world. Rome defended you and has ever honoured your admirable virtues, just as she now venerates your sacred relics which repose near the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles. She and all her children throughout the world consider you as one of the most faithful dispensers of divine Truth.
Recompense the devotion we have for you, O Chrysostom, by watching over us from Heaven. Instruct us, convert us, make us earnest Christians. Like your beloved master Saint Paul, you careed for no knowledge save that which would make you know Christ Jesus — but is it not in Christ Jesus that are hidden all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom? Teach us to know this dear Saviour who has come down to us with all His infinite perfections. Teach us to know His spirit. Tell us how we may please and imitate Him. Ask Him to receive the offering of our faithful love. In one thing we resemble you, great Saint!We are exiles, but, alas, we are so often tempted to love our exile as though it were our home. Detach us from this Earth and its vanities. May we long to be united with you (as you were united with the holy Martyr Basiliscus) in order that we may be with our Jesus.
Faithful Pastor, pray for our Pastors. Obtain for them your own spirit, and pray that their flocks may be docile to their teachings. Bless the Preachers of God’s word so that they may preach not themselves but Jesus Christ. Ask our Lord to give them that Christian eloquence which comes from the study of the Sacred Volume and from prayer, that thus the Faithful may be allured to virtue by the charm of an unearthly language, and may give glory to God. Protect the Roman Pontiff, whose predecessor was your sole defender. May he ever be the protector of the Bishops of the Church who are persecuted for justice sake. Pray for your Church of Constantinople. Show, too, your love for the Western Church which has ever revered and loved you. Hasten the fall of the heresies which have so long laid waste large portions of her inheritance. Dispel the dark clouds of incredulity and obtain for us all, by your powerful intercession, a lively faith and the fervent practice of every virtue.Also on this day according to the ROMAN MARTYROLOGY:
At Sora, St. Julian, martyr, who, being arrested in the persecution of Antoninus, was beheaded, because a pagan temple had fallen to the ground while he was tortured. Thus did he win the crown of martyrdom.
In Africa, St. Avitus, martyr.
In the same country, the holy martyrs, Datius, Reatrus and their companions, who suffered in the persecution of the Vandals.
Also the holy martyrs Dativus, Julian, Vincent and twenty-seven others.
At Rome, St. Vitalian, pope.
At Le Mans, the demise of St. Julian, the first bishop of that city, who was sent there by the blessed Apostle St. Peter to preach the Gospel.
In the monastery of Bobacum, St. Maur, abbot.
At Brixen, St. Angela Merici, virgin, foundress of the Order of the Nuns of St. Ursula, whose principal aim is to direct young girls in the ways of the Lord. By an indult of Pope Pius VII her feast is celebrated on the thirty-first of May.
And in other places, many other holy martyrs, confessors and virgins.
Thanks be to God.
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