Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 27 January

detail of a statue of Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Patrick's Cathedral, New York, New YorkSaint John Chrysostom, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor of the Church

The marvellous eloquence of Saint John won for him the surname of Chrysostom, or golden mouth. His writings ranked him as one of the four great doctors of the Greek Church. Often while he was writing, Saint Paul was seen inspiring him with thoughts worthy of the great mysteries which he was explaining. As his merits became more known, so his modesty and humility increased accordingly. Exiled from Constantinople on account of his firmness in reproving the great, he saw in a dream Saint Basilisic, martyr, who said to him: “John, my brother, tomorrow we shall be together.” He died while making the sign of the Cross.

His works on the Holy Scriptures are particularly valuable. Once when Saint Thomas was walking in the neighborhood of Paris, a student said to him: “Master, should you like to possess this great city?”

“I would much rather,” he replied simply, “have the commentaries of Saint John Chrysostom on Saint Matthew.”

His beautiful “Treatise on Virginity” and the three works against the enemies of the monastic life are also much praised. They were composed at the time when Valens was trying to enroll the monks by force in his armies, as well as the seculars of his Empire. The saint shows the excellence of the monastic state, so specially suited to the acquisition of virtue, and he exonerates the monks from the unjust reproaches and contemptuous names heaped upon them by certain Catholics, who were better friends of the Empire of Caesar than of that of God and the Church (407).

Prayer

O Jesus, be Thou our Teacher, Thou Who art not only the Mouth of Gold, but the Divine Word itself!

Practice

Before giving advice, first consult God (in prayer).