Wednesday, 26 February 2014

St. John "Chrysostomos" or "the golden-mouthed': -glory, gleam, beam, light, incandescence, brightness shines ...

Night Office, Patristic Lectionary,  Augustine Press 1999

Seventh Week in Ordinary Time Year II Wednesday

First Reading
2 Corinthian3:7-2--3:4  
 Responsory 2 Cor 3:18; Phil 3:3
With our faces unveiled, + all of us, reflecting as in a mirror the glory
of God, are being transformed from splendour to splendour.
V. We worship in the Spirit of God and we glory in Christ Jesus. + All of us ...

Second Reading
From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom (Second Epitre aux Corinthiennes 7, 5: Bareille XVII, 421-422)

Reflecting the Lord's glory
What does it mean, to say (as Saint Paul does) that: Reflecting the Lord's glory, we are refashioned - transformed to his likeness? This was clearer in evidence when the grace of miracles was actively at work; but it is not hard to see even now, for anyone with the eyes of faith. For on receiving baptism the soul shines brighter than the sun, being purified by the Holy Spirit; and not only do we behold God's glory, but from it we receive a certain gleam ourselves. Just as bright silver , when struck by beams of light, can send out beams in its turn, not simply of its own nature but from the sun's brilliance, so also the soul, once purified and become brighter than silver, receives a beam from the glory of the Holy Spirit and sends that on. That is why he says, Reflecting, we are refashioned he same pattern from - or of, or by - his glory, that of the Holy Spirit, into a glory, our own, which is contingent, modelled on the Spirit of the Lord. See how he calls the Spirit "Lord," or "Master." He it is who transforms us, who does not permit us to conform to this world, the maker and first cause of creation as he is. As he says: You have been established in Christ Jesus.

This can be explained in more concrete terms from the apostles. We think of St. Paul, whose very clothes were activated; of St. Peter, whose very shadow had power. That could never have been, if they had not borne the king's likeness; if they had not had something of his unapproachable brightness - so much, it appears, that their clothes and their shadows worked wonders. See how that brightness shines through their bodies! Gazing on the face of Stephen, he says, they seemed to see the face of an angel. But that was nothing to the glory shining like lightning within. What Moses bore on his face, they carried in their souls, but to a much higher degree. The mark on Moses was more tangible; but this was incorporeal. Dimly glowing bodies catch fire from brighter ones close by and pass on to others their own incandescence. All that resembles what happens to the faithful. In this way they detach themselves from the world and have their converse only in the things of heaven.

Responsory Ps 113:1.3.5
When Israel came forth from Egypt, the house of Jacob from an alien people, + the sea fled at the sight, the Jordan turned back on its course.
V. Why was it, sea, that you fled, that you turned back, Jordan, on your course? + The sea fled ...

John Chrysostom (c.347-407) was born at Antioch and studied under Diodore of Tarsus, the leader of the Antiochene school of theology. After a period of great austerity as a hermit, he resumed to Antioch where he was ordained deacon in 381 and priest in 386. From 386 to 397 it was his duty to preach in the principal church of the city, and his best homilies, which earned him the title "Chrysostomos" or "the golden-mouthed': were preached at this time. In 397 Chrysostom became patriarch of Constantinople, where his efforts to reform the court clergy, and people led to his exile in 404 and finally to his death from the hardships imposed on him. Chrysostom stressed the divinity of Christ against the Arians and his full humanity against the Apollinarians, but he had no speculative bent He was above all a pastor of soul and was one of the most attractive personalities of the early Church.

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