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John – later surnamed Chrysostomos, meaning “golden-mouthed” so called on account of his eloquence – was born in Antioch in Syria around 347. Raised by his widowed mother, he studied under Libanius, a famous orator of the period.

In 374, he joined a community of hermits in the mountains south of Antioch. After four years under the direction of a Syrian monk, he left them, and for the next two years he lived as an anchorite in a cave. The conditions of his crude abode and the severity of his mortifications caused him to become dangerously ill, and he was obliged to return to Antioch in 381. John was ordained a deacon that same year and for twelve years afterwards he served as a deputy to Bishop Flavian.

Upon the death of Nectarius, Archbishop of Constantinople, John was selected for that see by Emperor Arcadius. In this position, Chrysostom did away with many expenses which some of his predecessors had considered necessary to the maintenance of their dignity and devoted the money saved thereby to the relief of the poor and the support of hospitals for the sick and infirm.

He also undertook the reformation of the clergy of his diocese by means of zealous exhortations and disciplinary actions which, though very necessary, were somewhat tactless in their severity. John added effect and force to these endeavors, by conducting himself as an exemplary model of what he desired so ardently to impress upon others.

Chrysostom was banished from Constantinople in 403 after he delivered too zealous a sermon against immodesty and vanity. The Empress Eudoxia took his words as a direct insult against herself. His exile was of short duration however, because a slight earthquake that shook the city was taken as a terrifying sign by the superstitious lady.

Shortly afterwards he was again banished for preaching against the disorder, impropriety, and superstition occasioned by the public games commemorating the raising of a silver statue of Eudoxia in front of the great church dedicated to the Divine Wisdom.

He was exiled to a remote place called Cucusus in the Taurus Mountains of Armenia, where he suffered greatly from the heat, fatigue, and the cruelty and brutality of his guards. The local bishop, however, vied with his people in showing the aging patriarch every mark of kindness and respect.

When a council was called by Pope Innocent and the Emperor Honorius to restore him to his see, Chrysostom’s enemies instead imprisoned the appointed papal legates, and sent him into further exile in Pityus at the eastern end of the Black Sea. He suffered intensely from his forced travel in the scorching heat and wet weather. When he and his escorts reached the Church of St. Basiliscus in Comana in Cappadocia, the clergy there, seeing he was close to death, took him in, changed him into white garments and administered Extreme Unction to him.

He died the next day, September 14, 407, with the words "Glory to God in all things" on his lips.

 


 

 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for May 25, 2020

“I will take away not the grace but the feeling of grace...

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May 25

 

“I will take away
not the grace but the feeling of grace.
Though I will seem to leave you
I will be closer to you.”

Our Lord to St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Pope St. Gregory VII

In 1073 at the death of Alexander II, the people of Rome cri...

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Pope St. Gregory VII

Pope Gregory VII was born Hildebrand in Tuscany, Italy. Little else is known of his early life. Hailed, historically, as one of the greatest of the Church's pontiffs and one of the most remarkable men of all time, his name, Hildebrand, meant “bright flame”. Those who hated him, which were many, interpreted the name as “brand of Hell”.

Hildebrand was a Benedictine monk, for a time living in Cluny, from whence he certainly gleaned the monastery’s ideal of societal reform.

As a cleric, he became chaplain to Pope Gregory VI, and a few years later, under Leo IX was made Cardinal Deacon. A man of outstanding energy and insight, Hildebrand became a power in Rome. It is greatly due to him that the practice of electing popes through a college of cardinals was established.

In 1073 at the death of Alexander II, the people of Rome cried out for the holy genius who had helped steer the Church for twenty years, “Hildebrand for Pope! Holy Peter wants Hildebrand, the Archdeacon!” Once before the holy monk had eluded the tiara but this time a proper college of cardinals, seconding the popular cry, induced him to accept an honor duly his.

Hildebrand assumed the name Gregory VII, and threw his energy and zeal into a continued reform, especially fighting simony (the sale of ecclesiastical posts) and clerical incontinence.

He confronted Emperor Henry IV head- on about his practice of choosing men for ecclesiastical positions. On meeting with dogged resistance, the pontiff finally had recourse to excommunication which drastically curtailed the proud monarch’s power, ultimately bringing Henry on foot to the Pope at the Castle of Canossa. Because of Henry’s rebellious obstinacy, Pope Gregory saw fit to leave him out in the cold for three days before receiving and reinstating the royal penitent.

But Henry failed to make any true personal reform and alienated his princes who elected another ruler. Still, he later rallied and went as far as electing another Pope, a Clement III, calling down upon himself another sentence of excommunication. He also attacked and entered the Eternal City in 1084, which forced Pope Gregory into exile. Henry had his protégée “pope” crown him Emperor. Ultimately repelled by an army fighting for the true pope, the Emperor Henry left Rome, but complications sent Gregory VII again into exile, this time to die.

His last words before his death were a summary of how he had lived, “I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile.”

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion t...

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Mary and the Simple Country Wife

There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier. Little did she know that her soldier-husband had made a deal with the devil, that he would sell his wife for a certain sum of money.

One crisp, autumn morning the couple went out for their customary walk. Oddly, this time the young man insisted on heading towards the forest. It was at the forest where he intended to deliver his young bride over to the devil.

On their way to the forest, the couple passed in front of a Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The wife, overtaken with a desire to enter the church begged her husband to allow her to pray a Hail Mary in that church.

As the young lady entered the church, Holy Mary came forth from it, taking the form of the wife and accompanied the man into the forest.

When they at last approached the devil at the forest, he said to the man, “Traitor! Why have you brought me instead of your wife, my enemy, the mother of God?”

“And you,” said Mary, addressing the devil, “how have you dared to think of injuring my servant? Go, flee to hell.”

And then, turning to the man, Mary said to him, “Amend your life, and I will aid you.”

She then disappeared and that wretched man repented, amended his life and became a husband worthy of his simple country wife.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

 

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There was once a young country wife who practiced devotion to Holy Mary, just as her mother had taught her to do. This simple young lady considered herself fortunate to have married a handsome soldier.

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