Friday, September 13, 2013

Advice To Preachers, From St John Chrysostom's Example

St John Chrysostom preaches to the Empress Eudoxia: she's not taking it too well!
On this feast of St John Chrysostom I wish all preachers very blessing and the courage of this saintly Patriarch. 
St John is, of course, the patron saint of preachers.  Known for his forthright preaching, he even challenged the Imperial Court in Constantinople, well known for its corruption.  He made enemies for himself and he was exiled for his stance.  The Emperor and Empress wanted him out of the way because he chastised them for failing to live up to their Christian faith and doing what was abhorrent in the sight of God.
You all get the message there for our times.
Father Bishops, brother priests, do not be afraid - preach the Gospel in season and out of season.  Be gentle but forthright, and do not be frightened, charmed or neutered by the powerful.  They too have souls to be saved and need to hear the truth, even if they do not want to.  No civic leader takes the place of Christ regardless of how high up they are. All are subject to the authentic Gospel of Christ. And if some should reinterpret that Gospel to suit themselves and their agenda, then correct them even if it makes you unpopular. 
And try not to neuter yourself by realising that you too are a sinner in need of conversion - you preach also to yourself.  Because we priests fail to live up to the Gospel does not devalue it, but rather makes it a judge over us and our behaviour, and spurs us on to do better.  Let our prayer be: "May the converting power of the holy Word of God begin its work in my heart and my life, and then flow out from me to those I serve".
May St John Chrysostom, great preacher in the household of God, intercede for us all: that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful Saint. His words were relevant then and even more relevant now. I was at the Faith of Our Fathers Conference in Kilkenny at the weekend and it was a most uplifting and enjoyable Conference, in fact it was probably one of the best Catholic Conferences I was ever at and I have been to many in the past. Great speakers, good workshops and also so many wonderful people witnessing to their good works throughout the country on the various stands. One of the common statements from all the speakers was that we need 'courageous leadership'. Couragio was one of the words used and to stop being afraid of the media and politicians and to speak the Truth of the Gospel. Frances Hogan also spoke at the Conference and also has a new book out which I would highly recommend called 'A Path to Healing a Nation'. I think I would especially recommend it to Priests and Seminarians. But it is for everyone who seeks to rebuild and renew the Church and to discover also why and how so much went wrong.