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The only thing we must fear…

Posted by Joseph on 18 February, 2014

St. John Chrysostom

St. John Chrysostom had the greatest horror of sin, because he knew that sin was the only thing that could keep him out of Heaven, on the Day of Judgment.

The Emperor of Constantinople was a haughty and proud man, and could not bear to be reproved.

St. John was the only one who had the courage to tell him that he was doing wrong. In consequence of this, he bore an ill-will towards the Saint, and one day he said to his nobles around him, “I wish some of you would find a way to get rid of that Bishop.”

Four or five of them who also hated the Saint for having rebuked them for their misdeeds, gave their opinions.

One said, “Send him into exile, into a far-off country, and he will not trouble you any longer.”

Another said, “Take from him everything he has; that will make him less arrogant.”

A third said, “Put him into prison, and load him with heavy chains.”

The fourth said, “Are you not his master? Put him to death; that is the simplest way to get rid of him.”

Painting of St. John Chrysostom comfronting Aelia Eudoxia, Empress of Constantinople by Jean-Paul Laurens.

Painting of St. John Chrysostom confronting Aelia Eudoxia, Empress of Constantinople by Jean-Paul Laurens.

The fifth, who seemed to be deep in thought for a few moments, said, “You are all wrong; none of the ways you have suggested will do, if you want to be avenged on him. It is of no use to send him into exile, for one part of the earth is as agreeable to him as another. By depriving him of his worldly goods, you do not injure him so much as the poor, among whom he distributes all he possesses. Then, if you put him into prison and load him with chains, you will give him what he esteems above all things else, an occasion of suffering for the love of God. If you condemn him to death, you only send him the sooner to Heaven. No, Oh prince; if you, wish to be avenged of your Bishop, force him to commit sin. I know him well, and I know, moreover, that there is but one thing that he is afraid of in this world, and that is sin. He is not afraid of exile, nor loss of goods, nor imprisonment, nor death; he is afraid only of sin.”

St John Chrysostom

This was confirmed on another occasion, when a messenger came to the Saint from the Empress, threatening him with great penalties if he did not grant her a request which his conscience would not allow him to grant.

“Go and tell the Empress,” he said, “that John Chrysostom fears only one thing, that is sin.”

We sure need leasers like that in the Church and in the world today!

Source: Nobility .org at:



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