“Mondays with Mary” – The Marian Prayer of St. John Chrysostom

This coming Wednesday, September 13, is the memorial of another great Early Church Father and Doctor of the Church, and a saint that is recognized by both the Eastern and Western lungs of the Catholic Church – Saint John Chrysostom. Known as “Golden-mouthed” because of the eloquence of his preaching, St. John Chrysostom has been honored since the Early Church for his many writings and spectacular words. If you were unfamiliar with this amazing saint of the Early Church before today, I would encourage you to read my two articles on him here and here.

As I have done in the past, and most recently over the past two weeks, here is a Marian Prayer from the aforementioned Saint and Doctor of the Church. I said it last week and I say it again today – I find great consolation in these Marian prayers because it proves to me again and again how important the Blessed Virgin Mary has always been in the life of the Catholic Church. So many of the great Saints have written prayers specifically for her intercession throughout the centuries, notably in the Early Church. It also proves to me that the Blessed Mother has been a valid character in the life of the Church since then and not just made up over time or more emphasized in recent centuries.

Hail, O Mother! Virgin, heaven, throne, glory of our Church, its foundation and ornament. Earnestly pray for us to Jesus, your Son and Our Lord, that through your intercession we may have mercy on the day of judgment. Pray that we may receive all those good things which are reserved for those who love God. Through the grace and favor of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, to Whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be power, honor, and glory, now and forever. Amen.

Sassoferrato – Virgin Mother

Mary, Holy and Most Perpetual Virgin…Pray for Us

St. John Chrysostom…Pray for Us

Source:

“All About Mary.” Prayers of Saints to Mary : University of Dayton, Ohio, 18 Feb. 2016, udayton.edu/imri/mary/p/prayers-of-saints-to-mary.php#anchor4.

The Words of Saint John Chrysostom

Listed below are some of the teachings of St. John Chrysostom. This is the complementary blog post to Saint John Chrysostom – “The Golden Mouthed.”

On the Church is a Hierarchy – 

“‘To the fellow-Bishops and Deacons’ (Phil. 7:1). What is this? Were there several Bishops one city? Certainly not; but he called the Presbyters [priests] so. For then they will interchanged the titles, and the Bishop was called a Deacon. For this cause in writing to Timothy, he said, ‘Fulfill your ministry’ (2 Tim. 4:5), when he was a Bishop. For that he was a Bishop appears by his saying to him, ‘Lay hands hastily on no man’ (1 Tim. 5:22). And again, ‘Which was given you with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery’ (1 Tim 4:14). Yet Presbyters would not have laid hands on a Bishop.” – Homilies on Philippians, I:I

On the Mass as a true sacrifice – 

“Reverence, now, oh reverence, this Table whereof we all are partakers! Christ, Who was slain for us, the Victim that is placed thereon.” – Epistle to the Romans, 8

Christ is the victim that is offered in the sacrifice of the Mass – 

“For when you see the Lord sacrificed, and laid upon the altar, and the priest standing and praying over the victim, and all the worshippers empurpled with that precious blood, can you then think that you are still among men, and standing upon earth?” – Catecheses, 23:10

On the Holy Trinity – 

“Neither Angel or Archangel can do anything with regard to what is given from God; but the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, dispenses all, while the priest lends his tongue and affords his hand. For neither would it be just that through the wickedness of another, those who come in faith to the symbols of their salvation should be harmed.” – Homilies of St. John, 86:4

On the Importance of Grace and Those Who Resist It – 

“And if by grace, it will be said, how came we all not to be saved? Because you would not. For grace, though it be grace, saves the willing, not those who will not have it, and turn away from it who persist in fighting against it, and opposing themselves to it.” – Epistle to the Romans, 18:5

On Prayer and Imposition in the Sacrament of Holy Orders – 

“See how the writer does not speak superfluously; he does not say how, but simply that they are ordained through prayer, for this is ordination. The hand of a man is superimposed, God does the thing, it is His hand that touches the head of the ordinandus, if it is fitting that in some manner he be ordained.” – Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, 14:3

The Worth of the Sacraments Does Not Depend on the Disposition of the Priest – 

“For it may be that rulers are wicked and polluted, and their subjects good and virtuous; that laymen may live in piety; and priests in wickedness; and there could not have been either baptism, or the body of Christ, or oblation, through such if in every instance grace required merit. But as it is, God uses to work even by unworthy persons, and in no respect is the grace of baptism damaged by the conduct of the priest; else would the receiver suffer loss.” – Homilies on First Corinthians, 8:2

Matrimony is licit and good –  

“‘Marriage is right,’ you say; I also assent to this. For ‘marriage,’ we read, ‘is honorable and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge’ (Heb. 13:4); but it is no longer possible for you to observe the right conditions of marriage. For if he who has been attached to a heavenly bridegroom deserts him, and joins himself to a wife the act is adultery, even if you call it marriage ten thousand times over; or rather it is worse than adultery in proportion as God is greater than man.” – Letter to the Fallen Theodore, Bk. 2, Chap. 3

St. John Chrysostom – “The Golden-Mouthed”

Not to be confused with Saint Peter Chrysologus – GoldenWord, today’s memorial is for Saint John Chrysostom – Bishop of Constantinople, Eastern Church Father, and Doctor of the Church.  He was given the name Golden Mouth because of his eloquent homilies and teachings. To read some of his writings and teachings, please see the complementary post, The Words of St. John Chrysostom.

Saint John Chrysostom was born in Antioch (modern day Syria) around the year 347. His parents were named Secundus and Anthusa. His father, Secundus, died an early death leaving his mother a widow at the age of 20. She was a pious woman who cared for her family and kept her devotions to Christ. She provided John with the most ablest education at the time. He studied under Libanius, the great pagan orator of the time.

While a law student at the age of 20 years old, he was baptized into the Christian faith. It was a custom at this time to hold off Baptism. Once baptized, John, along with Basil and Theodore (future Bishops of the Church), entered a school for monks. In 374, they entered a small rag-tag group of hermits who lived among the mountains south of Antioch. After living in a cave as a hermit for nearly six years, John had to return to Antioch due to his failing health, which recovered after leaving the caves.

In 381, St. Meletius ordained him a deacon. He was ordained to the priesthood in 386 and was declared a preacher. He served in this position for twelve years while also working as the Bishop’s secretary. After the death of Nectarius, Archbishop of Constantinople, Emperor Arcadius, sent an order requesting that John be made Archbishop of Constantinople. The Emperor wanted the news to be kept silent since John was very popular and he did not want sedition to break out. Although Theophilus, Archbishop of Alexandria, suggested one of his men for the post, he was pushed aside for John Chrysostom. He was consecrated as Archbishop of Constantinople on February 26, 398.

st_john_chrysostom_2

As Archbishop he did many great things for Constantinople –

First, he cut down expenses that had been raised by his predecessors for their own use. These expenses were given to the poor and to support hospitals in the region.

Second, he took a strong hand and reformed his clergy. He did this by writing documents and zealously preaching to them. They were not the most tactful words, but they needed to be said and put into practice. What he demanded from his clergy; he demanded from himself. The only way to reform the clergy was to be an example for them. Even today, he is considered a patron of support for Bishops and Priests.

Third, he charged the women under his care to dress with modesty since they were leading others to sin. He explained to them why this was important, even after they claimed they were not doing any harm to others.

Lastly, as priest and bishop, he cared for the souls under him. Many repented and converted to Christianity, especially pagans and heretics.

Although he did many great things and there were many good men and women under his care, he did have his adversaries, such as he who would become St. Cyril of Alexandria. Another was Archbishop of Alexandria, Theophilus. He still held a grudge because his man was not elected to be Archbishop of Constantinople along with some other issues.

The greatest threat came from Empress Eudoxia. She conspired with Theophilus to bring ruin to Chrysostom because he referred to her as a “Jezebel.” During one homily, John preached adamantly against the behavior of women. Many thought it was directed towards Eudoxia and her parade in the immoral life. In June of 403, Theophilus along with other Bishops from Egypt and other nearby regions met in a house at Chalcedon named The Oak. They formed a union and declared a declaration against John, saying that he was in treason for calling the Empress a “Jezebel.” After receiving this declaration, Emperor Arcadius ordered John to be exiled.

After hearing that he was being exiled, John preached with passion and zeal against the charges brought against him for three days. All of Constantinople was in a riot! John finally surrendered himself and was sent to Praenetum in Bithynia. This first exile would not last long. An earthquake shook the city and Eudoxia was a bit superstitious. She believed her actions would ruin the city. She repented of her behavior and asked the Emperor to bring John back. He came back and Theophilus and his cohorts fled the city. Unfortunately, this return would not last long.

After Chrysostom was brought back from exile, a silver statue in honor of Eudoxia was erected in front of the great church of the Holy Wisdom. Not only did the ceremony disturb the liturgy going on in the Church, the ceremony consisted of immoral behavior and superstitious practices. John was at first silent, but he knew he had to speak against the pagan practices. With his great zeal, passion, and fortitude, he spoke up against the atrocities. Because of her own vanity and refusal to hear John’s words, the empress invited his enemies back and he was exiled again.

St. John Chrysostom- Mosaic

He remained in the city for about two months. On the Thursday after Pentecost Sunday, he was banished for good. The faithful bishops, priests, and grieving women gathered to see him off. He slipped out of the city by secrecy since he did not want to cause a riot. He was sent to the mountains of Armenia, to the place of Cucusus. He endured many great sufferings in this trip such as intensive heat, exhaustion, and beatings by the guards. He finally arrived in Cucusus after 70 days.

After years in exile being pushed further away and suffering under the worst weather conditions, John’s health began to decline rapidly. From Cucusus, he was banished to Comana in Cappadocia. After reaching Cappadocia, he was brought to the chapel of St. Basiliscus. After being forced to leave, but realizing that he was near death, they brought him back to the chapel. The clergy there dressed him in white garments and gave him the Holy Mysteries (Last Rites/Anointing of the Sick). On September 14, 407, Saint John Chrysostom spoke his last words, “Glory be to God for All Things”, gave up his soul, and entered Heavenly Glory.

St. John Chrysostom is considered one of the greatest Saints, Early Church Fathers, and Doctors of the Eastern and Western Churches. He was considered one of the greatest preachers of the Early Church. In the East, he is held in very high regard. There are a few forms of the Divine Liturgy in the East. The one that is most commonly used throughout the year is The Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. Along with Saint Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian, he is considered as a “Great Ecumenical Teacher” by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Saint John Chrysostom – “Golden Mouth”

Today is the feast day for the great eastern Church Father, who was Archbishop of Constantinople and is a Doctor of the Church – St. John Chrysostom. He was born around the year of 347 A.D. in Antioch (modern day Syria) and died on September 14, 407 after speaking the words with a dying breathe – “Glory be to God for all things.” For a detailed account of his life, please see New Advent and Catholic Online. As you will read, he was persecuted by the powers of the Empire because he courageously spoke against the false teachings, immodesty, and superstitious beliefs of the time. He, like Jesus, and the Church over the centuries, stood against the modern day culture. We must ask him for his intercession when our Bishops are persecuted for standing against the secular and relativistic society that we live in today.

St. John Chrysostom was given the name, “Golden Mouth” because of his eloquence as an orator, but also because he gave such stirring and thought provoking homilies as a priest and Bishop. Even when you read this writings, it’s as if gold is streaming from his mind into his pen and onto the parchment.

As my love and appreciation of the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church has increased, St. John Chrysostom is one saint that I have come to learn more about recently. I encourage my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters (the Orthodox already have it) to learn more about him as well. We must not forget the early Christian Church was first established by St. Peter in Antioch, before he made his way to Rome with St. Mark, who was his translator. The words of Blessed John Paul II should also give us the desire to know the Eastern Rites of the Church, when he said in Ut Unum Sint, “the Church must breathe with her two lungs!”

Now I give you three “golden” excerpts from the writings of “Golden Mouth” himself – St. John Chrysostom:

The Church is a Hierarchy: 

“ ‘To the fellow-Bishops and Deacons’ (Phil. 7:1). What is this? Were there several Bishops one city? Certainly not; but he called the Presbyters [priests] so. For then they will interchanged the titles, and the Bishop was called a Deacon. For this cause in writing to Timothy, he said, ‘Fulfill your ministry’ (2 Tim. 4:5), when he was a Bishop. For that he was a Bishop appears by his saying to him, ‘Lay hands hastily on no man’ (1 Tim. 5:22). And again, ‘Which was given you with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery’ (1 Tim 4:14). Yet Presbyters would not have laid hands on a Bishop.” (Homilies on Philippians, I:I)

The Mass is a true sacrifice:

“Reverence, now, oh reverence, this Table whereof we all are partakers! Christ, Who was slain for us, the Victim that is placed thereon.” (Epistle to the Romans, 8)

Christ is the victim that is offered in the sacrifice of the Mass:

“For when you see the Lord sacrificed, and laid upon the altar, and the priest standing and praying over the victim, and all the worshippers empurpled with that precious blood, can you then think that you are still among men, and standing upon earth?” (Catecheses, 23:10)

St. John Chrysostom…Pray for all our Bishops and pray for us.