St John Chrysostom on the necessity of Christian love, a shining lamp to the world

“There is nothing colder than a Christian who is not concerned about the salvation of others . . . . Do not say, ‘I cannot help others’: for if you are truly a Christian it is impossible not to help others.

Natural objects have properties that cannot be denied; the same is true of what I have just said, because it is the nature of a Christian to act in that way. Do not offend God by deception. If you said that the sun cannot shine, you would be committing an offense against God and making a liar of Him.

It is easier for the sinner to shine or give warmth than for a Christian to cease to give light: it is easier for that to happen than for light to become darkness.

Do not say that that is impossible: what is impossible is the contrary . . . If we behave in the correct way, everything else will follow as a natural consequence.

The light of Christians cannot be hidden, a lamp shining so brightly cannot be hidden.’

-St. John Chrysostom (347-407), archbishop and Patriarch of Constantinople

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The Eastern Orthodox and Eastern-rite Catholic Churches venerate St John as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs, while in the Roman Catholic Church he is revered as a great Doctor of the Church. During his tumultuous tenure as Patriarch of Constantinople, he ran afoul of the Empress Eudoxia after criticizing her for her vanity, haughtiness and indifference to the plight of the city’s poor. He offended the imperial capital’s wealthy political elites by turning over their lavish gifts to him to the poor and exhorting them to repent of their dissolute lifestyles. Extremely eloquent and persuasive as a preacher, he earned his epithet meaning “the golden mouthed” from his numerous homilies and his masterful writings as a practiced ascetic and theologian. He is the principal author of the Divine Liturgy which bears his name. The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is the most widely used liturgical form in the world today following the Novus Ordo ‘ordinary form’ of the Roman Catholic Mass, and among both Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics, this Byzantine liturgical form is the most widely celebrated.

A Beautiful Lesson From Abbot Tryphon on Holy Communion

THE ETERNAL BANQUET
The Importance of Frequent Communion

Eternity is an everlasting banquet (the Divine Liturgy) that takes place in the heavenly realm. Every time we participate in the Divine Liturgy we are transported into a place where there is neither time nor space, and participate in that very banquet. As we receive the Holy Mysteries (Christ’s very Body and Blood), we receive the healing medicine for that which ails us. Our brokenness in both body and soul are given the healing medicine that we so very much need.

God is everywhere present and fills all things. There is no where He is not. Hell fire is none other than the Fire of God, burning those who are unloving and unresponsive to His invitation to commune with Him. God does not send anyone to hell, for we sentence ourselves. Eternity with God necessitates a transformation of our souls, that we be purified in order to be engulfed by God’s uncreated light. Without transformation the fire of God burns us, not because He desires we be burned, but because our fallen nature can not withstand the presence of God without having been purified.The Eucharist is the very medicine that God designed for this transformation. Our response should be one of humble submission to this invitation to commune with the very God Who created us. Holy Communion is meant to be the very agent that changes us, making us whole. The Holy Mysteries give us life. Frequent confession and communion are the means we have for change.

The Eucharist is both mystical and symbolic and is understood to be the genuine Body and Blood of Christ, precisely because bread and wine are the mysteries and symbols of God’s true and genuine presence and His manifestation to us in Christ.

The Holy Eucharist defies analysis and explanation in purely rational and logical terms, precisely because it is a mystery. The Eucharist, as is Christ himself, is a mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven which, as Jesus has told us, is “not of this world.” The Eucharist, because it belongs to God’s Kingdom, is truly free from the earth-born “logic” of fallen humanity.

Saint John of Damascus says, “If you inquire how this happens, it is enough for you to learn that it is through the Holy Spirit … we know nothing more than this, that the word of God is true, active, and omnipotent, but in its manner of operation unsearchable”.

Before the reception of Holy Communion the following prayer is generally recited by the priest on behalf of all. It is each person’s act of personal commitment to Christ, their promise of faith in Him and the Sacred Mysteries of His Church.

I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first (1 Timothy 1:15).

I believe also that this is truly Thine own most pure Body, and that this is truly Thine own most precious Blood. Therefore I pray Thee: Have mercy upon me and forgive me my transgressions, committed in word and deed, whether in knowledge or in ignorance.

And make me worthy to partake without condemnation of Thy most pure Mysteries, for the remission of sins and unto life everlasting.

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant. For I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss; but like the thief will I confess Thee: “Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.”

May the communion of Thy Holy Mysteries be neither to my judgment, nor to my condemnation, 0 Lord, but to the healing of soul and body. Amen.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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The Very Reverend Igumen Abbot Tryphon is the spiritual leader at All Merciful Saviour Orthodox Christian monastery located on Vashon Island in Puget Sound near Seattle, Washington State. The monastery is within the canonical jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The monastery’s widely acclaimed and popular Facebook page can be found here. Abbot Tryphon’s popular blog can be accessed here.