Christ is Born! Alleluia!
About St. John Chrysostom: St. John of Antioch, called Chrysostom (“golden-mouthed”) because of his eloquence, was born around 349 in Syria, was a priest in Antioch from 386-397 and then was appointed Bishop of Constantinople. He was exiled twice during his episcopate, first in 403 and then in 406-407, when he died. St. John Chrysostom is widely considered the greatest orator of late Greek antiquity.
St. John Chrysostom’s father died when the saint was still young, so his mother was responsible for the majority of his raising and education. He was baptized in 368 and was trained for the ecclesiastical life by Bishop Meletius. He lived as a hermit for six years, and left with an irresistible urge to preach the Gospel to the people. He was the most prolific of the Church Fathers – 17 treatises, more than 1700 authentic homilies, commentaries on Matthew and on Paul’s Letters to the Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, and Hebrews, and 241 letters from Chrysostom still exist.
As Bishop of Constantinople, he wanted to reform the Church by making the clergy, widows, monks, courtiers, and the rich examples for all. As a result of criticizing the Empress Eudoxia and her courtiers, he was removed during the Synod organized in 403 by Patriarch Theophilus, and was then condemned and briefly exiled. Upon his return from exile, he continued to be persecuted by those he condemned. He was forced into exile again in 406 and died in 407, still in exile.
During his life, he was seen as a second Paul. “With Paul, Chrysostom upheld the primacy of the individual Christian, of the person as such, even of the slave and the poor person.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Church Fathers, 106)
THE NATIVITY SERMON OF SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
I behold a new and wondrous mystery!
My ears resound to the shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but loudly chanting a heavenly hymn!
The angels sing! The archangels blend their voices in harmony!
The cherubim resound their joyful praise! The seraphim exult His glory!
All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth and man in heaven. He who is above now, for our salvation, dwells here below; and we, who were lowly, are exalted by divine mercy.
Today Bethlehem resembles heaven, hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices and, in the place of the sun, witnessing the rising of the Sun of Justice!
Ask now how this was accomplished, for where God wills the order of nature is overturned. For He willed He has the power. He descended. He saved. All things move in obedience to God.
Today, He Who is born. And He Who Is becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man – while not relinquishing the Godhead that is His.
And so the kings have come and they have seen the heavenly King that is come upon the earth, not bring with Him angels, nor archangels, nor thrones, nor dominions, nor powers, nor principalities, but treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.
Yet He has not forsaken His angels, nor left them deprived of His care, nor because of His incarnation has He ceased being God.
And behold the kings have come that they might serve the Leader of the Hosts of Heaven;
Women, so that they might adore Him Who was born of a woman so that He might change the pains of child birth to joy;
Virgins, to the Son of the Virgin;
Infants, that they might adore Him Who became a little child, so that out of the mouths of infants He might perfect
Children, to the Child Who raised up martyrs through the rage of Herod;
Men, to Him Who became man hat He might heal the miseries of His servants;
Shepherds, to the Good Shepherd Who has laid down His life for His sheep;
Priests, to Him Who has become a High Priest according to the order of Melchisidech;
Servants, to Him Who took upon Himself the form of a servant that He might bless our stewardship with the reward of freedom;
Fishermen, to the Fisher of humanity;
Publicans, to Him Who from among them named a chosen evangelist;
Sinful women, to Him Who exposed His feel to the tears of the repentant woman;
And that I may embrace them all together, all sinners have come, that they might look upon the lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world!
Since, therefore, all rejoice, I too desire to rejoice! I too wish to share the choral dance, to celebrate the festival! But I take my part, not plucking the harp, nor with music of the pipes nor holding the torch, but holding in my arms the cradle of Christ!
For this is all my hope! This is my life! This is my salvation! This is my pipe, my harp!
And bearing it I come, having from its power received the gift of speech, I too, with the angels sing: “Glory to God in the Highest,” and with the shepherds: “and on earth peace to men of good will.”
Have a Blessed Christmas
from the staff of Aquinas and More
Beginning Friday, December 26, please join us each day for a special Twelve Days of Christmas sale! Each day of the Christmas season we will have an entire category of items on sale at 15% off to celebrate and honor the feast of that day. Additionally, we will select one special item, appropriate to the day’s feast, and we will be offering that item at 25% off. Look for a special newsletter each day of Christmas to learn more about the feast of the day and to find out what is on sale. If you would like to learn more about the Twelve Days of Christmas, go here.
December 25 – Feast of the Nativity of the Lord
December 26 – Feast of St. Stephen
December 27 – Feast of St. John the Evangelist
December 28 – Feast of the Holy Innocents
December 29 – Feast of St. Thomas Becket
December 30 – Feast of the Holy Family
December 31 – Feast of Pope St. Sylvester
January 1 – Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
January 2 – Feast of St. Basil the Great
January 3 – Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
January 4 – Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
January 5 – Feast of St. John Neumann
January 6 – Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord