John Chrysostom (quotes)
  • The waves are many and the surging sea dangerous. But we are not afraid we may be drowned. For we are standing on the rock. Let the sea rage as it will, it cannot split the rock asunder. Though the waves tower on high, they cannot overwhelm the boat of Jesus. What, pray, are we afraid of? Death? ‘For me life is Christ, and death gain.’ But tell me, is it exile? ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.’ Is it the loss of property? We brought nothing into the world. It is certain we can take nothing out of it. The terrors of the world I despise, its treasures I deem laughable. I am not afraid of poverty, I do not long for wealth. I do not dread death, I do not pray to live, except to help you advance in virtue. So I simply note what is happening at present and I call on you, my dear people, to be of good heart
  • How think you that you obey Christ’s commandments, when you spend your time collecting interest, piling up loans, buying slaves like livestock, and merging business with business? … Upon this you heap injustice, taking possession of lands and houses, and multiplying poverty and hunger.
  • Is it not excessively ridiculous to seek the good opinion of those whom you would never wish to be like?
  • In the matter of piety, poverty serves us better than wealth, and work better than idleness, especially since wealth becomes an obstacle even for those who do not devote themselves to it. Yet, when we must put aside our wrath, quench our envy, soften our anger, offer our prayers, and show a disposition which is reasonable, mild, kindly, and loving, how could poverty stand in our way?

Not to give the poor part of our goods is to steal from the poor, it is to deprive them of their own life; and what we possess is not ours, but theirs”.
(De Lazaro, II, 6: PG 48, 992D)

  • For we accomplish these things not by spending money but by making the correct choice. Almsgiving above all else requires money, but even this shines with a brighter luster when the alms are given from our poverty. The widow who paid in the two mites was poorer than any human, but she outdid them all.
  • And as a spark falling upon a wide ocean quickly disappears, so whatever events happen to the man who fears GOD, these, falling as it were upon an immense ocean of joy, are quenched and destroyed!
  • In the past the emperors were faithless persecutors; presently their piety reaches up to heaven. When passing the threshold of the church they lay off their crowns and sign their foreheads with the Cross of Christ. Outside are the weapons, inside the Mysteries; outside the shields, while in here the sacred acts are performed.
  • Praying against one’s personal enemies is a transgression of law.
  • Prayer for our enemies is the very highest summit of self-control.
  • Many, throwing themselves prostrate, and striking the ground with their forehead, and pouring forth hot tears, and groaning bitterly from the heart and stretching out their hands, and displaying much earnestness, employ this warmth and forwardness against their own salvation. For it is not on behalf of their own sins that they beseech GOD; nor are they asking forgiveness of the offences committed by them; but they are exerting this earnestness against their enemies, doing just the same thing as if one, after whetting his sword, were not to use the weapon against his enemies, but to thrust it through his own throat. So these also use their prayers not for the remission of their own sins, but about revenge on their enemies; which is to thrust the sword against themselves.
  • How great punishment must they deserve, who, far from themselves forgiving, do even entreat GOD for vengeance on their enemies, and as it were diametrically transgress this law; and this while He is doing and contriving all, to hinder our being at variance one with another? For since love is the root of all that is good, He, removing from all sides whatever mars it, brings us together, and cements us to each other.
  • If in order to put an end to public wars, and tumults, and battles, the Priest is exhorted to offer prayers for kings and governors, much more ought private individuals to do it.
  • To conquer enemies does not render kings so illustrious, as to conquer wrath and anger. For, in the former case, the success is due to arms and soldiers; but here the trophy is simply your own, and you have no one to divide the glory of your moral wisdom. You have overcome barbarian war, overcome also Imperial wrath!
  • There are three very grievous kinds of war. The one is public, when our soldiers are attacked by foreign armies: The second is, when even in time of peace, we are at war with one another: The third is, when the individual is at war with himself, which is the worst of all. From the third, we cannot escape without danger. For when the body is at variance with the soul, and raises up evil desires, and arms against it sensual pleasures, or the bad passions of anger, and envy; we cannot attain the promised blessings, till this war is brought to an end; whoever does not still this tumult, must fall pierced by wounds that will bring that death that is in hell. We have daily need therefore of care and great anxiety, that this war may not be stirred up within us, or that, if stirred up, it may not last, but be quelled and laid asleep.
  • At all times and places, preach the Gospel, and, if necessary, use words.
    • (Having pulled this off the article, I can’t kill it entirely, but I am very dubious that he said it)
  • Consequently, we beg and beseech you, and embracing your knees implore you, that so long as we are traveling on life’s short path we may learn compunction from what we have just read, may be converted and made better; lest like Dives in the parable we should with him lament and weep, and our tears should then prove of no avail. For even though you should have father or son or anyone else whose trust is in GOD, yet none of these will be able to deliver you if your own deeds betray you. For that is what that judgment is; He judges solely by what you have done; and it is only by your deeds that you can be saved. In saying this I have no wish to drive you to despair, but simply to show you that we cannot afford to neglect the practice of virtue on the ground of some baseless hope, or through reliance on this man or that. If we shall be found to have been idle and negligent, then no saint, no Prophet, not even one of the Apostles, will be able to save us.
    • Excerpts from the Homilies of St. John Chrysostom (On the Necessity of Good Works) — not a clearly sufficient citation at present…
  • When you are before the altar where Christ reposes, you ought no longer to think that you are amongst men; but believe that there are troops of angels and archangels standing by you, and trembling with respect before the sovereign Master of Heaven and earth. Therefore, when you are in church, be there in silence, fear, and veneration.
  • If the Lord should give you power to raise the dead, He would give much less than He does when he bestows suffering. By miracles you would make yourself debtor to Him, while by suffering He may become debtor to you. And even if sufferings had no other reward than being able to bear something for that GOD who loves you, is not this a great reward and a sufficient remuneration? Whoever loves, understands what I say. – Saint
  • Let us relieve the poverty of those that beg of us and let us not be over-exact about it.
  • GOD asks little, but He gives much.
  • The rich man is not one who is in possession of much, but one who gives much.

Words of Wisdom from St. John Chrysostom

  • As water is required to keep plants from withering, so also prayer is necessary to save us from destruction.
  • GOD defers hearing our prayers, not because He rejects them but because He wishes to contrive to draw us to Him. Do not leave off praying until you are heard.
  • The parents’ example is the book from which the child learns. The good example of the parents is the best catechism and the truest mirror from which the child learns.
  • Without prayer it is impossible to lead a good life; for no one can practice virtue unless he humbly implores GOD for it, Who alone can give him the necessary strength. Who ceases to love and practice prayer, no longer processes the gifts of the Spirit. But he who perseveres in the service of GOD, and deems it an irreparable loss to miss constant prayer, possesses every virtue and is a friend of GOD
  • He errs who believes that he can overcome his sensual propensities and preserve chastity by his own efforts. GOD’s mercy must extinguish nature’s ardor.
  • Have recourse to the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin and rest assured that you will obtain this mercy.
  • Let us always guard our tongue; not that it should always be silent, but that it should speak at the proper time.
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