Friday, October 12, 2012

St John Chrysostom on the Love of a Future Husband

“I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us.” 
- Saint John Chrysostom

Mosaic in the Hagia Sophia; borrowed from Wikipedia
This is one of my favorite quotes from St John Chrysostom. St John was an Eastern Father of the Church, serving as a priest in  Antioch, and was named Archbishop of Constantinople in the year 397. Chrysostom is the Anglicized version of the Greek epithet, chrysostomos, which means 'golden-mouthed,' as he was highly regarded for his preaching. Also, St John developed much of the liturgy used in Constantinople, and this particular form came to be known as the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom in his honor. It is still the primary celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the Eastern Catholic Churches, as well as the Orthodox Churches. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1568.

Several of his mighty sermons were on marriage, and are an excellent resource for anyone who is married, is thinking about it as well as clergy directing marriage formation.

This quote really speaks to me in a number of ways. It's just plain cool, for starters. I can't think of any Catholic young lady who would say 'no' to a man who prefaced his proposal with this (and why would she have any reason to, other than a calling to religious life?).

St John was gifted with an incredible understanding of the Epistles of St Paul and this is very much the way a husband should love his bride, as instructed in Ephesians, chapter 5. Christ loves his Church more than life itself, considering He 'delivered himself up for it'! His Church is pure and holy, and it is every husband's mission to assist his bride in her journey to the Kingdom of Heaven. I for one would have no good feelings left if my wife and I died without grace, and I could not approach St Peter, in front of the throne of Christ the King and Judge, with her in my arms. (It is also every woman's mission to assist her husband. But, men have a special charge. The male was the first human creation, and Adam failed to stop Eve's sin. Christ is the New Adam, and we have a special role in imitating him.)

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