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ST. AUGUSTINE 431
promised us is such as many may possess, and no one can be straitened, therefore hath He called into His brotherhood the peoples of the nations; and the Only Son hath numberless brethren, who say, “Our Father, which art in Heaven.” So said those who have been before us; and so shall say those who will come after us. See how many brethren the Only Son hath in His grace, sharing His inheritance with those for whom He suffered death. We had a father and mother on earth, that we might be born to labors and to death ; but we have found other parents, God our father and the Church our mother, by whom we are born into life eternal. Let us then consider, beloved, whose children we have begun to be ; and let us live so as becomes those who have such a father. See how our Creator hath condescended to be our Father We have heard whom we ought to call upon, and with what hope of an eternal inheritance we have begun to have a Father in Heaven; let us now hear what we must ask of him, Of such a father what shall we ask 2 Do we not ask rain of Him, to-day, and yesterday, and the day before ? This is no great thing to have asked of such a Father, and yet ye see with what sighings, and with what great desire, we ask for rain, when death is feared—when that is feared which none can escape. For sooner or later every man must die, and we groan, and pray, and travail in pain, and cry to God, that we may die a little later. How much more ought we to cry to Him, that we may come to that place where we shall never die Therefore it is said, “Hallowed be Thy name.” This, we also ask of Him that His name may be hallowed in us; for holy is it always. And how is His name hallowed in us, except while it makes us holy 2 For once we were not holy, and we are made holy in His name; but He is always holy, and His name always holy. It is for ourselves, not for God, that we pray. For we do not wish well to God, to whom no ill can ever happen. But we wish what is good for ourselves, that His holy name may be hallowed in us. “Thy kingdom come.” Come it surely will, whether we ask or no. Indeed, God hath an eternal kingdom. For when did He not reign 2 When did He begin to reign 2 For His kingdom hath no beginning, nor shall it have any end. But that ye may know that in this prayer also we pray for ourselves, and not for God, we shall be ourselves His kingdom, if believing in Him we make progress in this faith. All the faithful, redeemed by the blood of His only Son, will be His kingdom, and this His kingdom will come when the resurrection of the dead shall have taken place; for then He will come Himself.
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (347–407)
tribute to the splendor of his eloquence. Born at Antioch, Syria, he studied oratory to enter the legal profession; but instead became a monk, and a preacher of such eloquence, earnestness and practical sense that he was accounted the greatest orator of the ancient church. Appointed Archbishop of Constantinople in 398, he became an earnest reformer, denouncing the vices of the court and employing the revenues of the Church so largely in charity that he was called “John the Almoner.” This course did not please the parties in power, and he was deposed and banished to a desert region. Here he continued to preach with his old zeal. Again he was banished to a more remote region, being made to travel on foot, with his bare head exposed to a burning sun. This cruelty proved fatal, and he died on the journey, blessing God with his dying lips.
To title “golden-mouthed ” was given to Chrysostom as a
DEATH A BLESSED DISPENSATION
[Chrysostom was an active writer, and many of his works exist, the most valuable being his “Homilies,” the best of their kind in ancient Christian literature. He, in the words of the historian Sozomen, was “mighty to speak and to convince, surpassing all the orators of his time.”]
Believe me, I am ashamed and blush to see unbecoming groups of women pass along the mart, tearing their hair, cutting their arms and cheeks—and all this under the eyes of the Greeks. For what will they not say ? What will they not utter concerning us? Are these the men who philosophize about a resurrection ? Indeed How poorly their actions agree with their opinions ! In words, they philosophize about a resurrection: but they act just like those who do not acknowledge a resurrection. If they fully believed in a resurrection, they would not act
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thus; if they had really persuaded themselves that a deceased friend had departed to a better state, they would not thus mourn. These things, and more than these, the unbelievers say when they hear those lamentations. Let us then be ashamed, and be no more moderate, and not occasion so much harm to ourselves and to those who are looking on us.
For on what account, tell me, do you thus weep for one departed ? Because he was a bad man 2 You ought on that very account to be thankful, since the occasions of wickedness are now cut off. Because he was good and kind? If so, you ought to rejoice; since he has been soon removed, before wickedness had corrupted him ; and he has gone away to a world where he stands ever secure, and there is no room even to mistrust a change. Because he was a youth 2 For that, too, praise Him who has taken him, because He has speedily called him to a better lot. Because he was an aged man 2 On this account, also, give thanks and glorify Him that has taken him.
Be ashamed of your manner of burial. The singing of psalms, the prayers, the assembling of the (spiritual) fathers and brethren—all this is not that you may weep and lament and afflict yourselves, but that you may render thanks to Him who has taken the departed. For as when men are called to some high office, multitudes with praises on their lips assemble to escort them at their departure to their stations, so do all with abundant praise join to send forward, as to greater honor, those of the pious who have departed. Death is rest, a deliverance from the exhausting labors and cares of this world. When, then, thou seest a relative departing, yield not to despondency; give thyself to reflection; examine thy conscience; cherish the thought that after a little while this end awaits thee also. Be more considerate; let another's death excite thee to salutary fear; shake off all indolence; examine your past deeds; quit your sins, and commence a happy change.
We differ from unbelievers in our estimate of things. The unbeliever surveys the heavens and worships it, because he thinks it a divinity; he looks to the earth and makes himself a servant to it, and longs for the things of sense. But not so with us. We survey the heaven, and admire Him that made it; for we believe it not to be a god, but a work of God. I look on the whole creation, and am led by it to the Creator. He looks on wealth, and longs for it with earnest desire; I look on wealth and contemn it. He sees poverty, and laments; I see poverty, and rejoice. I see things in one light; he in another. Just so in regard to death. He sees a corpse, and thinks it is a corpse; I see a corpse, and behold sleep rather than death.
SAINT BERNARD (1091-1153)
O man of his period had a greater influence through his eloquence than the famous Saint Bernard, whose persuasiveness was such that he could almost move the world. When he, in his early years, entered the Cistercian monastery of Citeaux, his five brothers—two of whom were in the army—and a number of others were drawn by his eloquence from their occupations to embrace the monastic life. It is said that “Mothers hid their sons, wives their husbands, and companions their friends,” lest they should be drawn to follow this wonderful persuader. As Abbot of Clairvaux he exercised a powerful influence upon the ecclesiastical affairs of Europe. He made Innocent II. pope, inducing the emperor to take up arms in his support; and was greatly instrumental in the condemnation of Abelard's writings, causing the pope to silence the heretical author. While thus influential he lived a very simple and ascetic life. In 1146 he preached earnestly in advocacy of the second crusade, which was largely due to his efforts. As an orator Saint Bernard ranks high, his eloquence being of that type the force of which holds good through the centuries, simple, comprehensible; inspiring, and effective.
THE DELIVER ANCE OF THE HOLY LAND [Bernard was perhaps at his best in his plea for the deliverance of the Holy Land from the bands of the infidel. At the council of Vezelai he spoke before the king and nobles of France like one inspired, and with his own hand gave them their crosses. He also by his oratory persuaded the German Emperor Conrad to join the crusade. We give a brief example of his arguments. They were of a kind likely to be very effective in that age.]
You cannot but know that we live in a period of chastisement and ruin; the enemy of mankind has caused the breath of corruption to fly
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over all regions; we behold nothing but unpunished wickedness. The laws of men or the laws of religion have no longer sufficient power to check depravity of manners and the triumph of the wicked. The demon of heresy has taken possession of the chair of truth, and God has sent forth his malediction upon his sanctuary. O ye who listen to me, hasten then to appease the anger of Heaven, but no longer implore His goodness by vain complaints; clothe not yourselves in sackcloth, but cover yourselves with your impenetrable bucklers; the din of arms, the dangers, the labors, the fatigues of war are the penances that God now imposes upon you. Hasten then to expiate your sins by victories over the infidels, and let the deliverance of holy places be the reward of your repentance.
If it were announced to you that the enemy had invaded your cities, your castles, your lands; had ravished your wives and your daughters, and profaned your temples, which among you would not fly to arms ? Well, then, all these calamities, and calamities still greater, have fallen upon your brethren, upon the family of Jesus Christ, which is yours. Why do you hesitate to repair so many evils; to revenge so many outrages 2 Will you allow the infidels to contemplate in peace the ravages they have committed on Christian people? Remember that their triumph will be the subject for grief to all ages, and an eternal opprobrium upon the generation that has endured it. Yes, the living God has charged me to announce to you that He will punish them who shall not have defended Him against his enemies. Fly then to arms; let a holy rage animate you in the fight, and let the Christian world resound with these words of the prophet, “Cursed be he who does not stain his sword with blood ' ' ' If the Lord calls you to the defense of His heritage, think not that His hand has lost its power. Could He not send twelve legions of angels, or breathe one word, and all His enemies would crumble away into dust 2 But God has considered the sons of men, to open for them the road to His mercy. His goodness has caused to dawn for you a day of safety, by calling on you to avenge His glory and His name. Christian warriors, He who gave His life for you, to-day demands yours in return. These are combats worthy of you, combats in which it is glorious to conquer and advantageous to die. Illustrious knights, generous defenders of the cross, remember the example of your fathers who conquered Jerusalem, and whose names are inscribed in Heaven; abandon then the things that perish, to gather unfading palms and conquer a kingdom which has no end.