Thursday, June 5, 2014

"We now live, if you stand fast in the Lord"

     "Blessed Barlaam has called us together to this holy festival and feast-day, not so that we might praise him, but so that we might emulate him; not so that we might become an audience for his praises, but so that we might become imitators of his achievements.  Whereas, in worldly matters those who ascend to the great magistracies would never choose to see others share in the same precedencefor there jealousy and envy disrupt affectionin the case of spiritual matters it isn't like this, but entirely the opposite.  For the martyrs gain a sense of their own honor above all when they see that their fellow servants have outstripped them in sharing their particular blessings.  In consequence, if someone wants to praise martyrs, let them imitate martyrs.  If someone wants to extol the athletes of piety, let them emulate their hard work.  This will bring the martyrs pleasure no less than their own achievements.  Indeed, that you may learn that they sense their own blessings above all when they see that we are secure, and consider the matter an extremely great honor, hear Paul, who says:  'Now we are alive, if you're standing in the Lord' (1 Thess 3.8)."

     John Chrysostom, "On Saint Barlaam," St. John Chrysostom:  The cult of the saints:  select homilies and letters introduced, translated, and annotated by Wendy Mayer, with Bronwen Neil, Popular patristics series, ed. John Behr (Crestwood, NY:  St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2006), 179-180 (177-189).

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