Saint John Chrysostom (ca. 347 – 407), Archbishop of Constantinople, is celebrated by feasting in the Orthodox tradition on many days, including the 13th of November. He was such a treasure to the church. He was an amazing preacher and upon his death was given the surname chrysostomos, meaning “golden mouth.” The following prayer was written by him and it is one of my favorites:
Lord, exclude me not from Thy heavenly blessings.
Lord, deliver me from eternal torments.
Lord, whether I have sinned in mind or though, word or deed, forgive me.
Lord, deliver me from all ignorance, forgetfulness, cowardice, and stone-like insensitivity.
Lord, deliver me from every temptation.
Lord, enlighten my heart, which evil desires have darkened.
Lord, as a man I have sinned: as a gracious God, have mercy on me, seeing the weakness of my soul.
Lord, send Thy Grace to my aid, that I may glorify Thy holy name.
Lord Jesus Christ, inscribe me, Thy servant, in the book of life, and grant me a good end.
Lord, my God, even though I have done nothing good before Thee, grant by Thy Grace that I may make a good beginning.
Lord, sprinkle the dew of Thy Grace into my heart.
Lord of Heaven and earth, remember me, Thy sinful, shameful, and impure servant in Thy Kingdom. Amen.
Lord, accept me in repentance.
Lord, abandon me not.
Lord, lead me not into temptation.
Lord, grant me good thoughts.
Lord, grant me tears, the remembrance of death and compunction.
Lord, grant me the thought of confessing my sins.
Lord, grant me humility, chastity, and obedience.
Lord, grant me patience, courage, and meekness.
Lord, cause the root of good to dwell in me – Thy fear in my heart.
Lord, grant that I may love Thee with all my soul and mind and to do Thy will in all things.
Lord, protect me from certain people, demons, and passions, and from any other unseemly thing.
Lord, I know that Thou doest as Thou wilt: may Thy will be in me, a sinner, for blessed art Thou forever. Amen.
I’m cheating a little with today’s prayer, since it isn’t actually a prayer. But, the end of Chrysostom’s Easter homily (ca. AD 400) is so powerful that I thought it worth posting this morning. Have a blessed Easter!
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hell when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
“You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below.”
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?
Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!
Since tomorrow is traditionally the day to commemorate John Chrysostom in the West, here is a prayer from him for Sunday morning.
O Lord Jesus Christ, open Thou the eyes of my heart, that I may hear Thy word and understand and do Thy will, for I am a sojourner upon the earth. Hide not Thy commandments from me, but open mine eyes, that I may perceive the wonders of Thy law. Speak unto me the hidden and secret things of Thy wisdom. On Thee do I set my hope, O my God, that Thou shalt enlighten my mind and understanding with the light of Thy knowledge, not only to cherish those things which are written, but to do them; that in reading the lives and sayings of the saints I may not sin, but that such may serve for my restoration, enlightenment and sanctification, for the salvation of my soul, and the inheritance of life everlasting. For Thou art the enlightenment of those who lie in darkness, and from Thee cometh every good deed and every gift. Amen.
We’ve started posting a number of papers and abstracts that some of the Th.M. students wrote during last semester’s class on the Greek Fathers. The class started with Irenaeus and Origen as two fathers who exercised a profound influence on the later Greek Fathers. We then worked our way from Athanasius to John of Damascus. So far we’ve posted the papers that were written on Irenaeus, Origen, Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, and John of Damascus. We’ll be posting a few others over the next couple of weeks.
We also compiled a working Greek Fathers Annotated Bibliography. This is far from an exhaustive bibliography, but it does provide good resources on each of the individuals studied as well as a number of resources on theosis.