Chrysostom: Homilies on First and Second Corinthians

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In fact, he himself was later to write that were he to choose between the troubles of Church government and the tranquillity of monastic life, he would have preferred pastoral service a thousand times cf. On the Priesthood , 6, 7 : it was precisely to this that Chrysostom felt called. It was here that he reached the crucial turning point in the story of his vocation: a full-time pastor of souls! Intimacy with the Word of God, cultivated in his years at the hermitage, had developed in him an irresistible urge to preach the Gospel, to give to others what he himself had received in his years of meditation.

The missionary ideal thus launched him into pastoral care, his heart on fire.

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Between and , he returned to the city. He was ordained a deacon in and a priest in , and became a famous preacher in his city's churches. He preached homilies against the Arians, followed by homilies commemorating the Antiochean martyrs and other important liturgical celebrations: this was an important teaching of faith in Christ and also in the light of his Saints. The year was John's "heroic year", that of the so-called "revolt of the statues". As a sign of protest against levied taxes, the people destroyed the Emperor's statues.

It was in those days of Lent and the fear of the Emperor's impending reprisal that Chrysostom gave his 22 vibrant Homilies on the Statues , whose aim was to induce repentance and conversion. This was followed by a period of serene pastoral care Chrysostom is among the most prolific of the Fathers: 17 treatises, more than authentic homilies, commentaries on Matthew and on Paul Letters to the Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians and Hebrews and letters are extant. He was not a speculative theologian. Nevertheless, he passed on the Church's tradition and reliable doctrine in an age of theological controversies, sparked above all by Arianism or, in other words, the denial of Christ's divinity.

He is therefore a trustworthy witness of the dogmatic development achieved by the Church from the fourth to the fifth centuries. His is a perfectly pastoral theology in which there is constant concern for consistency between thought expressed via words and existential experience. It is this in particular that forms the main theme of the splendid catecheses with which he prepared catechumens to receive Baptism. On approaching death, he wrote that the value of the human being lies in "exact knowledge of true doctrine and in rectitude of life" Letter from Exile. Both these things, knowledge of truth and rectitude of life, go hand in hand: knowledge has to be expressed in life.

All his discourses aimed to develop in the faithful the use of intelligence, of true reason, in order to understand and to put into practice the moral and spiritual requirements of faith. John Chrysostom was anxious to accompany his writings with the person's company his writings with the person's integral development in his physical, intellectual and religious dimensions.

The various phases of his growth are compared to as many seas in an immense ocean: "The first of these seas is childhood" Homily , 81, 5 on Matthew's Gospel. Indeed, "it is precisely at this early age that inclinations to vice or virtue are manifest". Thus, God's law must be impressed upon the soul from the outset "as on a wax tablet" Homily 3, 1 on John's Gospel : This is indeed the most important age.

Homilies on Second Corinthians

We must bear in mind how fundamentally important it is that the great orientations which give man a proper outlook on life truly enter him in this first phase of life. Next: The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the Gospel of St.


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  8. Error Sorry, there was an error sending your form. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. Page Opera S. Prolegomena by the General Editor Two Homilies on Eutropius Do you ask, how is this aptly to the purpose in hand? I reply, Very much so; for observe, they were greatly vexed and troubled that the Apostle had not come to them, and that, though he had promised, but had spent the whole time in Macedonia; preferring as it seemed others to themselves.

    Blessed be Thou, O God, from what perils hast Thou delivered me! And observe, I pray you, herein also the lowly-mindedness of Paul. For though he were in peril because of the Gospel he preached; yet saith he not, he was saved for his merit, but for the mercies of God.

    But he teaches something more in these words: Do you ask what? Namely, that God doeth this not once, nor twice, but without intermission.

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    For He doth not one while comfort, another not, but ever and constantly. For what joy can I have so great as to be partaker with Christ, and for His sake to suffer these things? What consolation can equal this? But not from this source only does he raise the spirits of the afflicted, but from another also.

    Ask you what other? Yet neither here nor there is it from boldness or any presumptousness. For no self-indulger hath fellowship with Christ, nor sleeper, nor supine [person], nor any of these lax and dissolute livers. But Whoso is in affliction and temptation, this man standeth near to Him, whoso is journeying on the narrow way.

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    For there is nothing miserable save the offending against God; but this apart, neither afflictions nor conspiracies, nor any other thing hath power to grieve the right-minded soul: but like as a little spark, if thou cast it into a mighty deep, thou presently puttest it out, so doth even a total and excessive sorrow if it light on a good conscience easily die away and disappear.

    But yet did none of these things cast him down, but he stood like a noble athlete, and for each one was proclaimed and crowned a victor. So also the blessed Paul, though seeing trials in very snow-showers assailing him daily, rejoiced and exulted as though in the mid-delights of Paradise. As then he who is gladdened with this joy cannot be a prey to despair; so he who maketh not this his own is easily overcome of all; and is as one that hath unsound armor, and is wounded by even a common stroke: but not so he who is well encased at all points, and proof against every shaft that cometh upon him.

    And truly stouter than any armor is joy in God; and whoso hath it, nothing can ever make his head droop or his countenance sad, but he beareth all things nobly. For what is worse to bear than fire? So nothing can be harder to bear than bodily pain; nevertheless, because of this joy in God, what even to hear of is intolerable, becomes both tolerable and longed for: and if thou take from the cross or from the gridiron the martyr yet just breathing, thou wilt find such a treasure of joy within him as admits not of being told.

    What sayest thou?

    John Chrysostom - Wikisource, the free online library

    Is now no time of martyrdom? Against what martyr then may he not worthily be set? Surely against ten thousand.