Saint Chrysostom on Saint Paul

st-paul-st-john-mathewFor the Commemoration of Saint Paul, here is an extract from a magnificent sermon of Saint John Chrysostom. The icon depicts Saint John Chrysostom writing on Saint Paul’s Epistles while the Apostle himself, leaning over his shoulder, guides and encourages him.

Paul, the Spiritual Trumpet
As I keep hearing the Epistles of blessed Paul read, and that twice every week, and often three or four times, whenever we are celebrating the memorials of the holy martyrs, gladly do I enjoy the spiritual trumpet, and get roused and warmed with desire at recognising the voice so dear to me, and seem to fancy him all but present to my sight, and behold him conversing with me.

Ignorance of Paul
But I grieve and am pained, that all people do not know this man as much as they ought to know him: but some are so far ignorant of him as not even to know for certain the number of his Epistles. And this comes not of incapacity, but of their not having the wish to be continually conversing with this blessed man.

A Continual Cleaving to the Man
For it is not through any natural readiness and sharpness of wit that even I am acquainted with as much as I do know, if I do know anything, but owing to a continual cleaving to the man, an earnest affection towards him. For what belongs to men beloved, they who love them know above all others; because they are interested in them. And this also this blessed Apostle shews, in what he said to the Philippians: “Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the Gospel.”

Read Saint Paul With a Ready Mind
And so ye also, if ye be willing to apply to the reading of him with a ready mind, will need no other aid. For the word of Christ is true which saith, “Seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

Pay Attention When Saint Paul Is Read in Church
But since the more part of those who here gather themselves to us, have taken upon themselves the bringing up of children, and the care of a wife, and the charge of a family, and for this cause cannot afford to give themselves wholly to this labour, be ye at all events roused to receiving those things which have been brought together by others, and bestow as much attention to the hearing of what is said as ye give the gathering of goods.

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