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FOOD FOR THOUGHT




 

 

ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM. . .

 

 

 

 

CORRUPTING DOCTRINE IS WORSE THAN DISOBEYING DOCTRINE

 

Know ye not that even under the elder covenant a man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath, and transgressed a single commandment, and that not a great one, was punished with death?  And that Uzzah, who supported the falling ark when on the point of being overturned, was struck suddenly dead, because he had intruded on an office which did not pertain to him?  Wherefore, if to transgress the Sabbath and to touch the falling Ark drew down the wrath of God so signally as to deprive the offender of even a momentary respite, shall he who corrupts unalterably Divine Doctrines find excuse and pardon?  Assuredly not. 

 

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PAGANS AND CHRISTIANS

 

There would be no pagans if we were good Christians.  But when the pagans see us manifesting the same desires, pursuing the same objects -- power and honour -- as themselves, how can they admire Christianity?  They see our lives open to reproach, our souls worldly.  We admire wealth equally with them and even more.  How, then, can they believe?  From miracles?  But these are no longer wrought.  From our conversion?  It has become corrupt.  From charity?  Not a trace of it is anywhere to be seen. 

 

St. John Chrysostom

 

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THE CENTURION AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS

 

The occasion of the centurion's conversion was the manner in which Christ accepted His death.  He saw that the Lord took His Cross upon Him without a murmur, did not complain when scourged, nor speak when stripped of His garments; but was meek and gentle as a lamb before his shearers and crucified;  he heard Him praying for His murderers.  It was not so much preaching, not working great works which so much turned the Roman centurion, as patient endurance;  not active labour but passive suffering. 

 

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DESIRE TO HEAR GOD'S WORDS

 

The heat is intense, the dryness of the air is oppressive, but it has not relaxed your eagerness, nor parched up your desire of hearing.  This is the case with a hearer who is fervent, and whose attention is aroused; he is nerved by the love of hearing to bear all things cheerfully so long as he can indulge his beautiful and spiritual desire.  Neither cold nor heat, nor press of business, nor a multitude of cares, nor other such matters can supplant his desire. 

 

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ADVICE OF PRAYER

 

Let us come to our King and fall at His knees, not only with body but also with the mind.  Let us consider whom we are approaching and what we would accomplish.  We are drawing nigh unto Him whom seraphim and cherubim behold and turn away their faces, not bearing His dazzling splendour, before whom the earth trembles!  We are drawing nigh unto Him for deliverance from hell, for the remission of our sins and for attaining to the heavens and the good things that are there.

 

St. John Chrysostom

 

 

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ALMS

 

You go into the Church to obtain mercy; first show mercy.  Make God your debtor, and then you may ask of Him and receive with great interest.  We are not heard barely for the lifting up of our hands.  Stretch forth your hands, not only to heaven but to the poor.  If you stretch out your hands to the poor, you touch the very height of heaven; for He that sits there receives your alms; but if you lift up barren hands, it profiteth nothing.

 

St. John Chrysostom

 

 

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THE ADORNMENT OF THE TONGUE

 

The tongue must exhibit gentleness and humility; let it utter benedictions and spread out much almsgiving; for it is possible even with the tongue to do much almsgiving.  For a kind word is better than a gift and answering the poor man peaceably with meekness is better than a plate of food.  Let your tongue speak only of the laws of God and let all thy communication be in the law of the Most High.

 

St. John Chrysostom

 

 

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THE NEEDFULNESS OF PRAYER

 

Prayer is the medicine expelling spiritual sicknesses, the foundation of the spiritual building, that which the soul is to the body.  The man without prayer is as the fish out of water and, gasping for life, as a city without walls and open to all attacks;  but from him that is armed with prayer, the tempter starts back, as midnight robbers start back when they see a sword suspended over a soldier's bed.

 

St. John Chrysostom

 

 

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If any man teaches otherwise than the Gospel and consents not to wholesome words, even to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ and to the doctrine which is according to Godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing.

 

St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. 17, On 1Tim"

 

 

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THE PREACHER MUST NOT LOOK FOR APPLAUSE

 

One thing only do I wish -- that quietly and intelligently listening, you would do what is said. This is the applause I want, this the panegyric I seek. If you praise what I say, but do not act what you applaud, greater is the punishment, more aggravated the accusation on your soul.  What is here done is no dramatic exhibition.  This Church is a spiritual school.

 

St. John Chrysostom

 

 

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AN ANGRY MAN

 

Wrath is a fierce fire; it devours all things; it harms the body; it destroys the soul; it makes a man deformed and ugly to look upon. And if it were possible for a wrathful person to be visible to himself at the height of his passion, he would need no other admonition, for nothing is more disgusting than the face of a man who is angry.

 

St. John Chrysostom

 

 

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LIBERAL ALMSGIVING

 

If you give a little silver, you think as much of it as if you had laid out all you have, not knowing that not the giving but the giving liberally -- this is true almsgiving. Wherefore, also, it is not those simply who give whom the Prophet proclaims "happy" but those who bestow liberally; for he doth not say simply -- "He hath given," but what? "He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor."

 

St. John Chrysostom

 

 

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JUDGMENT DAY

 

Call to mind what is said in the Gospel of the angels running to and fro, of the bride-chamber being opened, and of the lamps which are extinguished. And consider this - that if a secret deed of any one of us were brought forth, how would he feel!  How then shall we feel when before the whole world all things are brought into the midst of such a theatre, so bright and open, with both those known and those unknown to us seeing into everything!  That day will indeed be the day of days.

 

St. John Chrysostom

 

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THE HUMAN FAMILY

 

The HUMAN FAMILY constitutes the primary and essential element of human society. . .peace in society will be a direct result of peace in the family; order and harmony in the secular, political realm will be the direct result of the order and harmony which comes out of creative guidance and the giving of real responsibility to children (by assigning specific tasks to the child.)

 

St. John Chrysostom

 

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USELESS FASTING 

It is possible for one who fasts not to be rewarded for his fasting. How? When, indeed, we abstain from foods but do not abstain from iniquities; when we do not eat meat but gnaw to pieces the homes of the poor; when we do not become drunkards with wine but we become drunkards with evil pleasures; when we abstain all the day but all the night we spend in unchastened shows. Then what is the benefit of abstention from foods, when on the one hand you deprive your body of a selected food, but on the other you offer your soul unlawful food. 

St. John Chrysostom

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COMMERCE IS ALL RIGHT IF . . .

Commerce in itself is not bad. It is an intrinsic part of God's order. What matters is how we conduct our commerce. 

Commerce is necessary because mankind has many needs. One may be skilled as a carpenter, the other a preacher, another a farmer and another a doctor. 

Thus all the needs of humankind are attended to by the different skills of man. And the skills are all equal in the eyes of God. The skill of the farmer is as important as the skill of a judge. In fact, more people need the skill of the farmer than the skill of the judge. 

The problem in commerce arises when some people demand a higher price for their work than what others do demand. The result is that some become rich and others poor. So inequalities in what people receive for their labor undermine the divine order. 

St. John Crysostom

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WHY THE GOOD SUFFER

Why do we see evildoers thriving and healthy and enjoying great prosperity? Let us weep for them, because their not having to suffer in this world is a guarantee of greater punishment in the next. To show this, St. Paul said, "But when we are judged, we are being chastised by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with this world." Afflictions here are a form of reproof, while those in the other world are a form of punishment for those who were evil in their lives here. 

St. John Chrysostom

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ALMSGIVING

Alms may be done not only by money, but also by acts. For example, one may kindly stand by a person to succour and defend him, one may reach to him a helping hand; the service rendered by acts has often done more good even than money.

St. John Chrysostom 

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THE EYE OF THE SOUL

When the eyes are amidst smoke, they are always weeping; but when they are in clear air and in a meadow and in fountains and gardens, they become more quick-sighted and healthy. Like this is the eye of the soul; for should it feed in the meadow of spiritual oracles, it will be clear and piercing. But should it depart into the smoke of the things of this life, it will weep without end.

St. John Chrysostom

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SATAN

He fell by his impatience; he fell by his envy because of the exaltation of the Son of God. He fell through his pride. 

Sts. Cyprian, Lactantius, John Chrysostom

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(10-19-10)

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