Lord, I never wanted to be separated from You.

Saint John Chrysostom (344-407), the golden mouthed

On September 13, we celebrate the memorial of Saint John Chrysostom (344-407), Bishop of Constantinople, and Doctor of the Church. The power of Saint John’s words, and the eloquence of his sermons earned him his name “Chrysostom”, which literally means “the golden mouthed.” His preaching must have been very precious as gold, a product of prayer, penance and study. His preaching must have been so enticing and appealing so much so that he attracted the attention of many, and eventually, his weekly Mass was drawing a congregation of up to one hundred thousand listeners!

What would St. John Chrysostom preach if he would be preaching in our country today? During his time, his preaching focused on the needs of the poor, and he advocated for great social change on the part of the rich and noble class. In our time, he would be probably preaching the same, against corruption in the government that is oppressing the poor. Saint John preached fully and completely, with unwavering faith, never swayed or discouraged by threats or politics. He even publicly reprimanded the emperor for wearing such fine clothing while many suffered in poverty, for which he was exiled. Upon return years later, he proceeded to ostracize the rich and noble classes for similar indulgences. His reply to threats of exile and banishment included: “Chrysostom fears only one thing — not exile, prison, poverty or death — but sin.” Do corrupt government officials fear sin, too?

Saint John wrote volumes of sermons, generally on the interpretation of Scriptural passages. His writings and quotations speak for themselves. And here’s what he preached to people whose prayers remain unanswered:

"We should not bear it with bad grace if the answer to our prayer is long delayed. Rather, let us because of this, show great patience and resignation. For [God] delays for this reason: that we may offer Him a fitting occasion of honoring us through His divine providence. Whether, therefore, we receive what we ask for, or do not receive it, let us still continue [to be] steadfast in prayer. For to fail in obtaining the desires of our heart, when God so wills it, is not worse than to receive it; for we know not as He does, what is profitable to us."

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