Sunday, September 13, 2020

Mouth of Gold

Today is the feast of St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church. From his Homilies on Philemon:

What excuse, tell me, shall we have in things that appear difficult, when we do not do even a light thing, attended too with so much gain and so much benefit, and no trouble? Can you not despise wealth? Can you not spend your substance on the needy? Can you not will anything that is good? Can you not forgive him that has injured you? For if you had not so many things to answer for, and God had only commanded you to forgive, ought you not to do it? But now having so many things to answer for, do you not forgive? And that too, knowing that you are required to do it on account of things which you have from Him? If indeed we go to our debtor, he knowing it, receives us courteously, and shows us honor, and pays us every attention in a liberal way; and that though he is not paying off his debt, but because he wishes to render us merciful in our demand of payment: and thou, who owest so much to God, and art commanded to forgive that you may receive in return, dost not thou forgive? And wherefore not, I beseech you? Woe is me! How much of goodness do we receive, and what wickedness do we show in return! What sleepiness! What indolence! How easy a thing is virtue, attended too with much advantage; and how laborious a thing is vice! But we, flying from that which is so light, pursue that which is heavier than lead.

Here there is no need of bodily strength, nor of wealth, nor possessions, nor of power, nor of friendship, nor of any other thing; but it is sufficient only to will, and all is accomplished. Hath some one grieved you, and insulted you, and mocked you? But consider, how often you have done such things to others, and even to the Lord Himself; and forbear, and forgive him it.